HE SAID. SHE SAID. MAN FLU
Catharine and Duncan have been together 15 years and have two boys aged 10 and 12. This week they’re wondering how two people with exactly the same illness can have such vastly different experiences.
Two weeks ago my husband was in bed with a Man Cold. Well, actually it was a nasty flu.
He caught it from my second son who caught it from my first son. For ten days I administered orange juice and Panadol, mopped fevered brows and made sympathetic maternal noises at random intervals.
Then I got sick. And became simultaneously invisible.
The lemonade I dragged myself down the street to buy disappeared three minutes after hitting the fridge. The dishwasher lost its magic powers and refused to unstack itself.
Feeling neglected by their irresponsibly ill mother the children brought their screaming match into my bedroom and my partner came after them to administer some soothing yelling.
Being female I obviously have a poor grasp of anything scientific. One thing is clear though. The same virus has a totally different effect on men and women. Men are always sicker.
When women get sick it’s apparently best to let them to fend for themselves. Like cats. Leave them be – they’ll eat a little grass and recover.
After two days of solitary confinement – punctuated by children brawling on the doona – I dragged myself downstairs and said in my best martyred tone: “I’m sick. You’re all supposed to be nice to me”.
My husband looked up from his laptop in slight astonishment as if this was the first he’d heard of my illness. He put on his Get Well Soon face and told the boys to: “Be nicer to your mother”.
The wave of relief when I announced I was going back to bed was palpable. “Hey Dad,” I heard one of my children say. “Mum’s still sick. Can we get pizza?”
Just give me a moment to pick myself up off the floor after being bowled clean over by the outrageous slur upon my character that you have just been so unlucky to read.
When I was feeling under the weather, I basically had to fend for myself. Yes, I got the odd glass of juice but a man with a Man Cold needs more. We need 24/7 tenderness. We need 50ccs of home-made organic chicken soup – stat! We need the latest pornographic magazines. And we need the TV wheeled into the bedroom and set permanently to sport.
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