|Photo Credit (Brenda Hollaway)|
“Why does she keep doing that?” exclaimed a very observant student in my classroom last week. If you were standing next to him, you would have known that he was talking about what seemed to be a new dance move. In the middle of my lessons, I would stop talking, cross my legs, squeeze my body as upright as it could be and gently, as gently as one can, I would cough or sneeze. Nevertheless, I assure you the cross-legged-up-right-squeeze had nothing at all to do with a new dance craze. Nothing. At. All.
So moms get sick. This isn’t news. We get sick and we continue our days as if we aren’t sick. This isn’t news either. I would go so far to say that moms could actually believe even in the face of a 102 on a thermometer, kidney pains, chills and sweats, a hacking cough and sneezes into the hundreds, that they just have a titch of a cold that will go away…soon. Therefore, it is perfectly fine to keep on keepin’ on like we always do; morning routine, schlepping kids to day care, off to work with a cheery smile on our green tinged faces, working through the runny noses by shoving tissues up our sleeves for those little emergencies, putting on a sweater (“is it chilly in here?”) taking off the sweater, (“who turned up the freakin’ heat?”) Whatever comes with the flu and sick season, we ignore because well how WOULD the world revolve without us running it?
However…there is one thing that MAY come with a flu or cold or say searing bronchial virus that we Mudders are unable to ignore. We may try at first, but ultimately for the sake of hygiene and those around us, heck for the sake of the size of the laundry in the hamper we cannot ignore the incontinence that comes with a humongous hacking cough or a significant-sized sneeze. That’s right, girls, you heard me. I said it…incontinence, incontinence, incontinence.
You know how it goes…cough cough—drip drip—“Shit shit!!” Or in my case, hack hack—pour pour—“Shit! Shit!” If you have had the pleasure of a weak pelvic floor due to the “joyous” process called childbirth, you are nodding your head right now. Yes you are nodding and I am about to SING it girls!
This past week, I did what Mudders do. I had a virus. I ignored said virus. I went to work as if there wasn’t a thing wrong with me. Moreover, when I say ignore, I mean totally and utterly ignore. If you are following me here that means that not only did I not go to the doctors or take medicine, I did not even think to…ehem…prepare my delicates for the incontinence that was sure to take place with every sneeze and every cough. And because of my denial, I was constantly placed in a situation where at any moment, with the next sneeze or the next cough, I could very well wet my pants in front of all my students. So I did the dance of shame; legs crossed, muscles squeezed as tightly as they can, stand tall and COOOOUUUGHHH and SNEEEEEEEZE—gently—oh so gently—unfortunately a raging bronchial virus doesn’t allow for gentle anything…and so there were of course the occasional--drip-slips. Oh, don’t act as if you don’t know what they are! You are ALL feeling me and you KNOW it!!
However, even those drip-slips couldn’t make me admit defeat. I didn’t need Depends or a bulky pad…no, no. Toilet paper would do the trick, and so after my first drip-slip, I headed to the teacher’s bathroom folded myself up a nice stack of TP and placed it where the sun don’t shine. It may have meant that I headed to the bathroom an inordinate amount of times to change the soggy fibrous paper that kept giving me giant whoo-whoo wedgies, but hey, it was doing the trick and perpetuated my denial that I was handling this teeny tiny little cold just fine.
Then Saturday day came and it was just me, Ila and teeny tiny little cold that just happened to make me gasp for air as a teenage girl gasps when she sees Justin Bieber. I was home and so there was no need for that irritating TP. Instead, ever in mommy-denial, as the hacks got worse and the drip-slips turned to rain-drains, (you heard me) I took to changing my skivvies and sweat pants every hour on the hour…until…until I ran out. Yup—ran clean out of clean undies. Not a pair to be found in the top drawer of my dresser. Honestly, I can’t ever remember a time where there wasn’t at least SOME pair of clean hip huggers that I could fish out at a moment’s notice. This dear readers was a first, and with the first came a realization—I. Was. Sick. I must be sick…I was out of skivvies, out of sweats and out of my beloved Vera Wang silky pajama bottoms. All were dejectedly sitting in the hamper at the end of the hall, a little wet, a little stinky and extremely indicative of the level of my illness.
And so, I did what any mother does when shaken out of sick-denial. I called my doctor, who after listening to me gasp for air told me to go to my local emergency room immediately. Of course, “immediately” posed a problem for me because “I hadn’t a thing to wear.” And while that phrase conjures images of me tossing skirts and jeans and cashmere sweaters over my head, it was meant of course in its most literal sense…I hadn’t an UNDERTHING to wear. So with a hopeful heart, I walked to the basement laundry room hoping that with all the other duties he took on during my sick-week-that-I-was-not –sick, my husband perhaps had done SOME kind of laundry. (Although the size of the hamper upstairs didn’t give me much hope…after all…he is a great caretaker, but I am sure that even HE drew the line at washing all my drip-slips and rain-drains.)
But lucky for me, a “sort” of undergarment was clean…all right it was a Spanx body suit…but this girl was desperate. So after slipping that on, I had to find something that would be comfortable enough for a stay at the emergency room. I decided on my hubby’s Nike running pants (much to his dismay. Can you blame the guy?) However, dear Mudders, I do know that wearing your husband’s Nike running pants comes with great responsibility. So I doubled up the amount of toilet paper and tucked it into the body suit. I willed myself not to cough or sneeze as I rode in the car, and instead of driving right to the emergency room, stopped into my local Walgreens to buy a package of bulky pads. You know the kind—smaller than a breadbasket and bigger than my hand with wings to wrap around the sides of my makeshift undergarment. The kind would be sure to protect my husband’s beloved Nike running pants from the rain-drains that would certainly continue because there is no denying the incontinence that a Mudder gets when she is indeed sick.