Catching the crud

Published 5:34 pm Friday, January 14, 2011

How can one catch something when there is no running after it?

The answer: Just stand still, it’ll catch you!

Where and what is it? I don’t know exactly, but most people say that it’s simply “going around,” as in you must have caught whatever is going around. Some call it the crud.

Email newsletter signup

I sort of knew that I was in trouble when I awoke at my normal time, but had a little more than my average “I just need a cup of coffee” headache. Even though I figured something felt different, I got up and made it to the first room of the day. That’s the bathroom.

I said, to myself, “Myself, this is not good.” I didn’t know it at the time, but that was an understatement. I kept thinking that as soon as I got a jolt of joe (coffee), I’d feel a little better. Wrong.

As I made the coffee, my stomach began to speak to me in tongues, but it wasn’t really a “hallelujah” message. It was more of an “I’m gonna getcha and that cup of coffee is not going to help you.” I needed to sit down because I was a little dizzy.

I sat, bent over and held my aching head in my hands and began to break out in a cold sweat. Big, ole drops of sweat appeared on my forehead and I knew right then that the two cups of coffee brewing in my Joe DiMaggio Mr. Coffee machine were going to be there for a while.

I crawled back to the bed with the pipe dream that another dose of sleep would ward off this monster that had caught me. There was also a decision to make. It was pretty early and Donna Sue was sleeping soundly, unaware of my plight. Perhaps I should just get a few blankets and lie down on the sofa.

You men will be proud of me. I figured it was time to accept that I had caught whatever it was that was going around and I might as well own up to it. Take it like a man. Instead, I decided not to let this malady go to waste.

Remember at the beginning of the current administration, the president’s chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, said that we should never let a crisis go to waste. In other words, they made plans to dramatically transform our nation’s ways and did it under the guise of quelling the crises.

I figured this crud (that’s a real word) that I had contracted was a personal crisis and I didn’t need to suffer unnecessarily in silence. That would be a waste of my discomfort. So, as I returned to our bed, I began to moan.

“Ohhhh, I’m sick,” I started out. Wake up world. “Ohhhh, I’m sick,” Is anybody out there? “OHHHHH! I’M SICK!!!!” Donna Sue finally awakened.

“What’s wrong?” she asked with great compassion and concern.

“Oh, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to wake you,” I said. “But since you’re up, I think I’m sick.”

I married a terrific lady and anything that concerns me is a personal challenge to her. She is a tremendous nurturer and her desire to take care of her husband side-kicked in. I did nothing to discourage her desire to baby me. Who am I to take such joy away from anyone?

There are all kinds of ways to act when sick. Some people simply want to go to bed and be left alone. I guess it all depends on the degree of sickness, but there are those, like me, who want the world to know that suffering is not a thing to be kept to oneself. It must be shared.

My voice was weak, but I could muster enough volume to call.

“I think a banana would help,” I said. “Peeled, of course. And maybe some Jell-O. I need to keep my strength up. And don’t forget the orange juice.” It helps to let people know just what one needs.

One time I called and no one came. I called again. Donna Sue was in the utility room putting in a washing of clothes. That’s no excuse, right?

“I couldn’t hear you,” she lamented. I suggested a bell. We have this little bell that can be rung when someone is needed.

“Bring me the bell,” I said. “Then I won’t have to waste my precious breath.” As I lay under the covers, all warm and comfortable, I sensed that I had crossed some sort of invisible line with that “waste my precious breath” comment. I figured a little extra moaning and groaning were needed to get back in my caretaker’s good graces. I did it very well, thank you.

To make a long story short, my experience with whatever was going around began to wane in the afternoon. I was feeling a little better and, besides, my back had started to hurt from lying around all day.

Donna Sue had performed wonderfully. She had taken care of me and, since whatever I had had kept me from church on Sunday, many people called and asked how I was doing.

Having such a short version of the crud made me thankful that I don’t get sick too often and, that, when I do, I have someone who loves me enough to put up with me.

There’s a silver lining in every cloud.

The Rev. Lynn Roberts is pastor of the Sutton Chapel United Methodist Church, located on Vada Highway.