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On Living Alone and Being Sick


I’m quite used to being alone but the one time it is absolutely no fun at all is when I’m sick. I go from independent wonder woman to big baby in 60 seconds.

On Wednesday, I white knuckled it through a morning dental visit (complete with 3 Novocain injections) and by noon, I was simply miserable.

I have to go into the office to “make a couple of calls” and while I’m  at it, my co-workers will see how flushed I am – how disheveled I look . They’ll see what a trooper I am.. so dedicated; coming into work when I’m clearly so very sick.

I wasn’t in my office 15 minutes before I heard an escalating chorus of “…poor thing…go home and rest…don’t be silly, we’ll get it done…go home and take good care of yourself…”

Repeat: And take good care of yourself.  In other words, nobody else to take care of you, so you do it. Kind of reminds me of the movie  Airplane in which Leslie Neilson asks a distraught flight attendant how she’s holding up to which she replies “Ok, I suppose..I’m just glad I have a husband.” Sigh.

I bet she never had to fetch her own Gatorade.

By the time I got into bed, I was convinced that I had waited too long to get my flu vaccine at Walgreens. My mind raced…foul flu..No! Swine Flu! Bird Flu! I’m done for. I drifted off wondering if my best friend would remember to remove all of my journals and other potentially embarrassing items before family arrived for the funeral?  Who will care for my precious dog after I’m gone?

When I woke, I had a raging fever. I struggled to recall if  a super high fever is dangerous for infants or adults?  Whatever – better not chance  it.  I forced myself from the bed and  crawled to the medicine cabinet.  Damp with sweat, with a shaky hand I flipped the top off the thermometer container and plunged the thermometer it into my mouth.

Three small beeps alerted me it was time to read my temperature. Wouldn’t you know the damn thing was broken? 99 degrees. That’s close! Try ONE ninety nine!

My doctor visit Friday went a little like this: I’m led by the chatty nurse into the familiar examination room. She takes my vitals and weight and tells me “The Doctor will be just a few minutes.”  This is the same nurse that I am convinced steps on the scale with me when I’m facing forward.

Soft knock on the door, tap, tap, tap….my Doc enters and I proceed to burst out into tears.  She’s so sweet – she put her folder down and came over next to me…she’s rubbing my back – asking me what’s wrong in her most nurturing  tone of voice.  In between sobs I say  “I don’t feel good.”. She begins to review my records searching for some painful or other critical illness…nope. She looks at my vitals – no problem there either.  The diagnosis ? A virus that would not be helped by antibiotics!

Even my doc says YoYo (You’re On Your Own).

I just want  each of you to know, if you are under the weather, know I am there in spirit.

And don’t forget….on my tombstone, one day, will be “See? I told you I was sick”
Creative Commons License photo credit: knitwick

On Living Alone and Being Sick

Leslie Hull

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APA Reference
Hull, L. (2011). On Living Alone and Being Sick. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 18, 2018, from


Last updated: 14 Feb 2011
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 14 Feb 2011
Published on All rights reserved.