“The most poetical thing in the world is not being sick.”

This morning I’m on the mend. My voice is still creaky and my cough fierce but I feel better. Last night I slept longer before the coughing woke me and was able to get back to sleep instead of having to come downstairs at some ungodly hour to watch garbage TV. Staying home cozy and warm and taking naps have been the best cure for this.

When I was a kid, I seldom was sick enough to stay home from school. My mother set the bar pretty high. Sniffles weren’t enough. Coughing might have done it, but the degree of coughing was the key. Once I had the measles so I had to stay home, but that was no fun because the room was kept dark, and I wasn’t allowed to read. I just stayed in bed all day and was totally bored. What a waste of staying home! I know I had mumps and German measles but I don’t remember when. I also had chicken pox, and I remember taking baking soda baths so I wouldn’t itch as much. My mother would scream if we dared scratch our faces. We were warned about the gross, ugly scars we’d have if we scratched.

Few kids were ever absent from school. One girl had surgery in the fifth grade, and it was such a singular event I still remember. Her name was Catherine. I don’t remember why she had surgery, but the nuns were really nice to her when she came back.

During high school you never wanted to miss a day. Two broken legs would mean dragging yourself to school because missing even one day meant missing tons of work which had to be made up. I used to argue with my mother that I wasn’t sick when she’d insist I needed to stay home. I did get sent home from high school once. I had the German measles which was going around. We went to school every day on the public bus so that’s how I went home, probably spreading German measles to the world. My mother didn’t drive then so the bus was it. I couldn’t stay in school. I remember it was a Friday. The reason I remember is there was a dance that night at the school, and I was stuck home. It made being sick even more miserable.


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23 Comments on ““The most poetical thing in the world is not being sick.””

  1. olof1 Says:

    We call German meaesles “Red Dog” 🙂 I have no idea why though 🙂

    I can’t remeber being home from school for a common cold, my mother would send me tio school as long as the fever wasn’t too high. The influensa however was another thing but from what I can remember I didn’t get that especially often.

    I’ve had chiocken pox at least four times, something one isn’t supoposed to get more than once and then it’s the shingles that is supposed to hurt if it returns. But a doctor told me this can happen and I think I should be happy about that, the shingles is no fun at all.

    It seems it’s my time to get a cold now, I have a slight fever, sour throat and a head ache that just refuses to leave. Not even strong coffee helps this time.

    Have a great day!

    • katry Says:

      Red Dog is a neater name than measles.

      The common cold wasn’t enough to keep us home either. A fever would have been but I don’t remember being sick all that much.

      There are all sorts of TV ads about getting a shot against shingles. You carry the shingles virus if you have ever had chicken pox. It is supposed to be horribly painful.

      I’m sorry you’re getting sick. Today has been a week for me, and I’m still not completely better. I hope yours is short lasting.

      Stay well!

  2. Bob Says:

    The childhood diseases are almost completely defeated in the industrialized world. My kids didn’t have to suffer mumps, measles or chicken pox. My daughter came down with a very light case of chicken pox when she was three even though she was vaccinated. They missed out on all the fun we had with the dark rooms (an old wives tale), the oatmeal baths (an old wives tale that actually worked) and the high fever plus feeling miserable.

    I remember vividly the horrible fear my mother had of polio. The big worry came in the summer time for some reason she didn’t want me to get over heated. I remember getting the shots of the Salk vaccine in school during the spring of 1953. That was followed up with booster shots and even the Sabin oral vaccine all throughout my youth. The research that led to the polio vaccine was paid for by the March of Dimes organization led by the images of FDR who was struck by this terrible disease in adulthood.

    Polio is not completely eradicated because Muslim extremists are preventing the vaccine’s distribution in rural areas of Pakistan and some African countries. They consider the vaccine a Western plot against Islam. When will the religious extremists of all faiths realize that you can’t go back to the 12th century? Who would want to worship a deity depicted who represses scientific progress and universal freedom.

    • katry Says:

      I looked up the dark room, and it said sometimes measles sufferers are sensitive to light which is why the dark room. Not everyone is, but in our day, all the shades were down.

      Kids are lucky they get to avoid all those childhood diseases we all caught. Once a kid in my class did, we all did and then at home we all did.

      I remember the polio shots as well when I was a kid, and in Africa, we had to take the oral vaccine as part of the PC prevention program for volunteers.

      I remember seeing pictures of those iron lungs and thinking how awful that must have been.

      India is the latest country to declare eradication of polio.

  3. Caryn Says:

    Hi Kat,
    My cold is waning. Must be all those clementines I’ve been consuming. 🙂 Glad to read that yours is on the mend as well.
    My brother and I got chicken pox at the same time. My dad had to take care of us. His idea of taking care of us was to leave us alone for an hour or so in morning so he could get breakfast up town, pick up the paper, buy us each a small toy and a treat. Great! The only unpleasantness I recall about chicken pox was peeling the knitted cuffs of my pajamas off the broken poxes (or whatever they are) every morning.
    I remember having mumps and measles. Neither of them were fun. They involved house calls from the doctor. One time I turned the divan over and hid under it. Like they couldn’t figure out where I might be. 🙂
    The only serious absence I remember in school was one classmate in first grade who had sleeping sickness. “They” never explained what that was so I had mental images of her being like Sleeping Beauty forever. I don’t remember her coming back to school but she didn’t die.
    Another sunny, windy, colder than midnight on Pluto kind of day up here. Rocky’s on the glass porch soaking up sunlight and heat. I’m being a slug.
    Enjoy the day.

    • katry Says:

      Hi Caryn,
      I’m glad you’re getting better. Today is one week for mine, but I do feel better and cough a whole lot less.

      I just remember the measles though I did have all the rest of them. House call from the doctor-wow, that one goes way, way back!

      I wonder how your classmate got sleeping sickness. I know one is tropical and you can get it in Africa, another comes from horses, but that’s all I know. That’s really rare.

      Cold today but I didn’t go anywhere except to the driveway to get the paper. I need to fill the feeders and tomorrow is supposed to be warmer so I’m hoping to go out.

      When you’re sick, being slug is expected!

      • Caryn Says:

        I assume it was so-called Triple E. It doesn’t come from horses. It comes from a virus that mosquitoes, acting as bridge vectors, transmit from birds to mammals. Mosquitoes do not pick up the virus from infected horses and transmit it to people. In other words, it’s only equine encephalitis when the horse has it. In all other instances it’s (fill in the name of the species) encephalitis. 🙂
        Horses here are routinely vaccinated for Eastern and Western Equine Encephalitis and have been for many decades.
        And that makes me wonder why there is not a human vaccination yet considering that it seems to be an increasingly worrisome problem each summer.

  4. Morpfy Says:

    I remember having the red measles on my 10th birthday and having to stay in bed with the curtains closed (no exposure to light) all day or two.

  5. Birgit Says:

    Oh, you were “Measles Mary”? 😉 I guess we all spread viruses back then, usually no recovery time at home, school unless illness was too obvious.
    No mouse update today, all gone?
    I found a perfect sculpture for your deck:

    • Caryn Says:

      Very apt, Birgit. 😀

      • katry Says:

        Caryn and Brigit,
        I saw in a catalog a mounted squirrel head, not real, of course, but I like the symbolism!

    • katry Says:

      Nope, I hesitate to give an update as the numbers are huge. Yesterday I found a dead one in the hall, compliments of Maddie. Gracie was in the bathroom whining and scratching at the corner. I moved the basket and found a mouse, but I think it wasn’t well. It kept going in circles. I suspect Gracie’s paw land on its head. In my bedroom, the have-a-heart trap caught one. That was three in one day bringing the grand total to 25. They were slowing down until yesterday’s trifecta.

      Measles Mary-I like that!

      • katry Says:

        I wonder if that would scare away the spawns.

      • olof1 Says:

        It sort of builds up to one of those cheap really bad horooro novels when they suddenly find a huge colony of super intelligent mice ready to take over the world 🙂 🙂 🙂 But I must say it would have been more scary if it was about rats in that novel 🙂

  6. Lori Kossowsky Says:

    Glad you are feeling better. I seem to have something wrong with only the left half of my body– sort of like an allergy or minor cold, which seems to affect my left eye and nose.
    Waving with my right hand,

    • katry Says:

      That’s weird! Only one side which I guess means you’re half well if we’re being optimistic!

      Waving back!

  7. Bubba Says:

    hope them Batimore Ravens win that thar superbowl

  8. splendid Says:

    So happy you are up and about Kat! I never had german measles but I did have the Chicken Pox twice, apparently I was not exposed enough the first time,(only a few pox) so the nest time someone we knew was infected, I was exposed quite sufficiently. I think the mice are all in cahoots: there must be a sign on your house–free food and a small trip,come inside for details!

    • katry Says:

      I had never heard of people getting chicken pox twice.

      I read that they can find their way home up to a mile so I take the mice over a mile away and set them free. I don’t know how they’re doing in the cold, but I don’t care. Enough is enough!

  9. Coleen Burnett Says:

    Hey Kat!

    Glad you are doing better…guess it was a monster cold!

    I had to be half dead to be home from school…that was my mom’s way. I got chicken pox as a kid and still have a tiny scar on my stomach. I got mumps the day after my father died when I was nine. Not only was I miserable but no one could come into my room to express condolences unless they had already had the disease. Weird isn’t it?

    I remember being home from school one time because of neck spasms. It was so painful I could not hold my head up to get out of bed. Hence, a day off from school. Treated with a hot pack and asprin, if I remember.

    Now lemme get you some more OJ….

    Waving from the Jersey Shore…


    • katry Says:

      Hi Coleen,
      Today I’m no better than yesterday. I read that it is a virus more than a cold. I am sounding better but I still don’t have a whole lot of energy. I’m liking my naps.

      There was an article, coincidentally, in today’s paper about when to keep kids home sick. A temperature of 100 or more was one reason as was vomiting. Sniffles-nope. I think my mother would have sent me except for the cough.

      I’ll take that orange juice!!

      Waving back from this shore!!

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