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Let me start by saying I don’t usually get sick. But when I do, on that off chance that I catch something, it knocks me on my ass, hard. About three months ago, I got sick. Work was terrible, but I suffered through it. I went to work, I came home, ate something and passed out, all to repeat it the next day. That went on for about a week. That was a baby compared to what I’ve been suffering through for the last two weeks. I’ll spare you the details, but being sick over holiday really sucks. 

See, about two weeks ago things started to taste funny and I didn’t feel the best. This was in light of both my sister and my dad not feeling the greatest. Dad was just getting over it, but my sister was still right in the middle of being sick. I didn’t know how bad they’d had it until I got it and I prayed that like them, I’d get over it quickly. Unfortunately, here I am, roughly two weeks later and I’m still sick, which brings me to my point.

Because of this sickness, I missed a Christmas party (one that I had been looking forward to since the end of the summer party) and Christmas Eve dinner. Christmas Eve has always been a day of excitement around here. Mum, my sisters and myself all go to my grandfather’s for dinner with her side of the family and after dinner we open presents while watching A Christmas Story. This was the first year in more than a decade that we didn’t go over. There was no stuffed shells to be had for dinner, no taking a Christmas cookie in passing on the way out of the kitchen, no sitting around with family opening presents and being excited about getting socks (we’re the only family I know who love getting socks for Christmas). Instead, Christmas Eve was spent on the other end of the spectrum. Mum had to work that day, but dad had the day off. I thought I felt well enough to spend the afternoon with Josh. That didn’t go over so well. We shopped around for his dad and step-mom’s gifts and then we went to lunch. By the time we made it to lunch, I wanted to keel over, or maybe pass out for the afternoon. We went to Olive Garden; some place he noted, that we only go when there is something wrong with me. Case in point: the last time we went, it was the day before I went on vacation and I was severely sunburned. I’d take the sunburn over this illness, any day.

But I digress. I thought I was ravenous, so we did their 2 for $25 promotion. Surely you’ve seen the ad on TV. Two meals, an appetizer or dessert and endless soup (or salad) and breadsticks, all for $25. We shared an appetizer of fried mozzarella and zucchini and of course I got the chicken and gnocchi soup. On any normal day, I’d get multiple bowls of it, it’s so good. But on Christmas Eve, I barely suffered through a bowl of it. It was soul warming and delicious like always, but I could hardly eat. I nibbled on a piece of the fried zucchini, tried one of the mozzarella (next time, I’ll stick with their calamari), but didn’t eat a whole lot of anything. Yes, it tasted great, but I just couldn’t bring myself to eat, I was so full. By the time our actual entrées came, I had hardly nibbled on a breadstick, maybe two. It was also by this time, Josh had gotten me to drink an Emergen-C.

In case you’ve never had Emergen-C, it’s the most disgusting thing on this planet, right up there with black pudding. It is, however, supposed to be really good for you in preventing illness and helping you get over it. It’s like a mixed drink, only instead of being packed full of sugar, there’s 24 nutrients, 7 B vitamins, antioxidants and electrolytes. Unfortunately, the company hasn’t worked out how to make it taste good, so it’s like really crappy orange juice. As far as how it works, I’ve been taking it for the last few days paired with zinc and a dose of medication and here I am. It’s 4 in the morning and I’m recounting my holiday. You decide how well it works.

I suffered through a glass of the Emergen-C and was sipping on regular water when our server came with our entrées. Josh had ordered something with sausage and penne in a red sauce. I went classic: fettuccine alfredo. I could have had chicken alfredo for the extra $4, but I kept it simple. While Josh ate (and oh how I envied his stomach, he being able to eat how I normally would), I picked at my pasta. I barely put a dent in it and I was still full. By the time we paid the bill and left, I was ready to curl up and sleep.

Sleep I did, barely. We got back to Josh’s and I crashed in his room. We were only staying at his dad’s for a little and then he would bring me home, but in the time we were at his dad’s, I barely slept. I was unbearably warm one minute, the next I was freezing. It was disgusting. Several times in the three hours we were there, I woke up coughing and Josh got me water to sip. By the time we left, I was more exhausted than when we’d gotten there. When Josh dropped me off, laden with leftovers and my gifts, I slept in my room for a majority of the afternoon.

When I woke up later, the house was dark and the only sound I heard when I went upstairs was coming from mum’s room. Christmas music was blaring and her door was shut. She was still wrapping Christmas gifts. I didn’t know where anybody else was, nor did I care. I was only upstairs long enough to get medicine and go back to sleep. Sleep came easy until some hour Christmas morning. It was too early to be awake, yet I laid awake, exhausted but unable to sleep.

Finally after watching the night dissolve into gray morning, I heard footsteps upstairs. I waited and waited for more footsteps, for my sisters to be awake. But no such luck, not for another hour at least. By that point, however, I had moved to from my room to mum’s chair in the living room. Not long after, mum was up and I was sitting next to dad on the couch, trying in earnest not to breathe on him. My youngest sister played Santa and we opened gifts. It was very low key, perfect when you’re sick. After we’d finished opening gifts, we went over to my grandmother’s to open her gifts to us and to give her our gifts to her. When she saw me, my grandmother (always straightforward) told me that I looked like hell. I know she meant it in the most loving way possible, but she couldn’t have been more spot on as to how I felt. I just wanted to sleep. When we were leaving, she offered me a humidifier for my room, some more soup and possibly the worst cough syrup in all of existence. Buckley’s.

If you’ve ever had Buckley’s, you’ll understand why I say it’s the worst. It’s effective, but it’s disgusting. When talking with a great friend about being sick he even said “just don’t give me yuckley’s though.” Yuckley’s. He couldn’t be more correct. Inside the dark bottle is a viscous yellow syrup that smells and tastes like pine needles. It makes you shiver as it goes down, maybe even do a little dance. It’s that disgusting. But, it’s effective if you’ve got a nasty cough.

Unfortunately, Buckley’s doesn’t have anything for every other symptom I had so when we got home, I made it to my room and slept. I slept all afternoon until mum told me it was time for dinner. Ah, dinner. I could smell the ham from my room and it smelled delicious. I wasn’t disappointed when we sat down to eat. Mum had made green bean casserole, corn soufflé, potatoes, ham and roast. I don’t eat roast during the holidays. Unless it’s a pork roast on New Years, but every other holiday, I eat the turkey or ham. Like I said in my Thanksgiving post, roast is for any Sunday during the year. Ham and turkey, not so much. I carefully put a little of everything on my plate. Some of the potatoes, a dollop of green bean casserole, ham, and I even got adventurous trying the corn soufflé. I ate with about as much vigour a sick person can have. I ate the ham, soufflé and casserole, but hardly touched my potatoes. They were like glue in my mouth and they just didn’t taste that great (sorry mum!). Though I’d hardly put much on plate (this in comparison to years past where I load up a plate and go back for seconds), I was full. After clearing my plate, I grabbed the movie that I’d gotten earlier that day and retreated back to my room. I didn’t intend to lay awake watching said movie, but it was interesting enough. By the time it was over, I was ready for sleep. I popped a different movie into my laptop and curled up to sleep.

That was my Christmas. Any other year, I’m asleep on the couch waiting for dinner to cook because, hey it’s Christmas and I’m exhausted from having been out and up late the night before, too excited about all the gifts and “Santa” to sleep. But this year, being sick made for a terrible time. There was no jesting at the dinner table about whose movie we’d watch first after dinner, or filling up on a Christmas goodies like mum’s cookies or my grandmother’s brownies. There was no seeing Josh and spending the evening with him, even. It was weird. Being sick certainly can ruin a holiday. Not that Christmas was “ruined” per se, but it just wasn’t the same. It truly makes me appreciate all the years past when we’ve all been healthy and have been able to really enjoy Christmas. Hopefully next year, it’ll be that way.

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