The worst thing about being sick is actually being sick; the second worst part is being sick and lonely.
If forced to choose between the two, I’d rather be heartbroken than seriously ill. When you’re heartbroken, emotionally-intelligent coworkers offer to listen; friends offer to keep you company while you self-medicate with violent apocalyptic video games, cake batter, and “That doesn’t happen in real life” critiques of romantic comedies.
As they say, “misery loves company,” especially when Company takes Misery out for fake Mexican food, buys happy hour drinks, and regales Misery with stories that sound like “Well, what happened to me was humorously way-worse, but you’ll be okay, because you weren’t as dumb about it as I was. It’s for the best, somehow. Pardon the cliché.”
And–lest you think I forgot–there’s the comfort food (anything with icing and sprinkles).
But Misery’s illness beyond “Mom, can’t I stay home from school today, for once?” makes Company less generous: coworkers demand you go home rather than fight through it; the friends who didn’t do so well in high school biology suddenly pepper their get-well wishes with big words like “outbreak,” “contagion,” “epidemic,” and “hey, maybe you should stay home and not come out with us for that thing we always said wouldn’t be as fun with you;” and what comfort food is there for he who has stomach flu? Even the scent of ripe bananas made me nauseous.
At least friends know better than to upstage a sick friend with stories of how much worse they felt that one time when they might as well have kept a pillow in the bathroom.
Luckily for my coworkers–who don’t know how to do that thing that I know how to do but won’t tell them how, because it makes me feel important–I’m back, now.
My body temperature is constant. I am no longer stuck in the I’m-hungry-but-too-scared-to-eat trap. I’ve had a flavored drink not called Theraflu. I’m no longer preoccupied with how less-sickening vernacular like “throw-up” sounds compared to technical terms like “vomit” and “regurgitate.” This, friends, is homeostasis.
All better now.