The evening news is that the Vitamin C is gone. Everyone looks surprised. Really? How could that be?
Unfortunately, it really doesn't matter how strong your immune system is, because with ten people the virus or bacteria or whatever nasty germ-thing it is will be hanging around for a few weeks. You'll get it sooner or later.
By far the most frequent family malady is the appropriately named common cold. Everyone has experienced the sinking feeling when your throat begins to tingle and your eyes begin to burn. Visions of nasty potions, painful thermometers, and unearthly quantities of mucus fill the mind. I'm getting sick!
It's not that bad, really. A few days of reading, sitting around drinking Squirt, and feeling generally like a rotten pineapple. Still, there's always a few in denial. "I'm not (sniff) SI-(cough)-CK!!" Right. Go back to bed.
More books, blankets, and tissue boxes. It's true that finding a Kleenex is often more aggravating than it should be; usually by the time you're checking the third bathroom there's things running through your head that you shouldn't say out loud. Toilet paper works too, just don't rely on it too heavily or you'll have a premature runny-nose rash. The more green types are proud of their sticky cloth handkerchiefs, and are often seen turning them around in circles looking for a "clean spot".
So far, that's pretty minor stuff. Sometimes, however, the danger gets really serious.
You see someone lying prone on the couch, looking a disturbing shade of red or green. When you see the tell-tale plastic bowl on the floor beside them, you know. They've thrown up! Gross!
You tiptoe up to ask them how they're doing, perhaps - if you're really brave - rubbing their shoulder gingerly. They moan. You tiptoe away, gratified that you've accomplished your sympathetic duty, resolved to spend the rest of the day as far away as possible.
God, send me to Africa, but please, please, PLEASE don't make me throw up!
Sometimes you make real memories being sick, like the time we all had chicken pox and watched more television in two weeks than we'd watched in the previous two years. Or the time we all had pinkeye and sat around the kitchen in the evenings dripping Colloidal Silver into each others' eyes. Or the time we'd all had colds for so long that we called the local water quality guy to see if there was something nasty in our well. Yes, good times.
Being sick in a big family is no fun, but it's survivable. Just don't forget your Vitamin C or your sense of humour.
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