one flu over the cuckoo's nest

i'm currently recovering from what i can only deduce must be some sort of sick government experiment on the likes of hapless and typically resilient young citizens (don't they know i'm canadian?).  in other words, i've had the worst flu since the time my friend told me about having dengue fever and  i thought i might die just by imagining what he went through.  but seriously, it's been very strange.  i'm not a 'sick' type of person.  like, i wasn't that kid in elementary school who perpetually needed a kleenex but perpetually refused to blow his or her nose.  no, i have always been pretty healthy (and self aware).  but this recent encounter got me thinking a lot about what it means to be sick and how we treat illness in our society.

now, you may think i'm going to talk about why it's important to seize the day when you have your health, to not waste it and appreciate your body blah blah blah.  to be honest, as i lay in bed with a fever and chills and hallucinations of the virgin mary, i was thinking less about my new age postulates, and more about The Price is Right and McDonald's milkshakes.  this, of course, being no coincidence considering that when I was sick enough to stay home from school, my day would consist of watching countless episodes of The Price is Right along with many other pointless daytime shows, until i was on about my third round of Saved by the Bell and my mom would come home with a deliciously moist McDonald's milkshake, or some such treat.  so naturally i felt distraught and somewhat deprived suffering alone in my apartment with no television (yes, it's true) and no loving mom servant to bring me goodies and feel sorry for me. 

what i find most interesting about all of this is how our childhood experiences shape the way we treat and experience our current day illnesses.  i mean, have you ever seen people at their jobs who look like they've just escaped the latest post-apocalyptic zombie movie?  maybe you're even the type to let no sickness slow you down or maybe you're just too prideful to show that you may have a weakness.  whatever the reason, i bet it has something to do with how you were treated when you were wee and cried from a sore throat or tummy ache.  like if you had the parents that told you to just suck it up, or 'if you were too sick to go to school, you were too sick to do anything' - even watch tv!  no thanks!  or perhaps you had the doting self-diagnosers who would accommodate your every whim and give you every treatment they could conjure from the natural home remedy book.  or if you're like chris rock, you'd just throw back some 'tussin and be on with it.  regardless, the options are endless and a source of endless fascination for me.  not only because of how we now react to our own ailments, but because of the reverse implications it has on the sicknesses we endure.  like have you ever had a big project or meeting and inconveniently gotten sick right before?  well what do you expect?  it worked when you were seven!?!  our bodies are incredible machines and they remember stuff like McDonald's milkshakes and soothing Vicks vapor back rubs...

so anyway, i learned the value of treating my body for the ailments it acquires and not indulging in self-deserving sentiment.  i got lots of rest, drank lots of water and got through the sickness in less time than some of my feverish friends.  though possible, i find it rare that one experiences a Bob Barker deficiency, so it's probably not good to go on overload when you're sick.   it is important, however, to notice what the body is trying to tell you and not try to override it with intellect and sheer will.  that can get you into trouble too.  i think it helps to look at how you experienced being sick as a child and if you were treated like a wuss, then suck it up, and if you were told to suck it up, be nicer to yourself.