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chicken soup

There are some days in which it is entirely appropriate to end every sentence with–“It’s a long story.”
And there are some weeks like that.

This week has been one of them.

And it’s prompted me to stop and take a good long hard look at myself. Physically and metaphorically. Because for a few days I was seeing myself—but I wasn’t looking at myself.

Let’s see if I can explain.

On Monday I woke up with red bumps all over my legs and arms. Damn-it-to-hell I have hives. That nasty of all nasty allergic reactions that happened to me the last time I ate Thai food. (Bugger really—cos Thai food is so yum!) I itched and scratched and got on with my day, kids to school, work, editing, drafting, felt exhausted by 9am but battled on itching and scratching my day away.

Are you sure it’s hives? Someone asked. No, I answered, could be mosquito bites… I think eleventy thousand mosquitoes have supped on my tender flesh mistaking it for an insect-sumptuous-banquet! I laugh as I scratch away. You should go to the doctor they said. Yes, sure. I will. I said.
When I have time. I thought. When I have time.

Scratch. Scratch.

Are you sure it’s hives they said the next day. Could be chicken pox? I looked at my spots. Said nah and then got back to making kids lunches, dropping off duties, working at one business—then at another. Then back to Mum duties again.

Scratch. Scratch.

The hubster went up to the pharmacy and described my rash. The pharmacist said: sounds like grass allergy. He gave my hubby some green ointment that smelled like pinetree-fart. I rubbed it over my spots and the kids screamed… Mum looks like the incredible hulk! Grrrrr! I said. First smile of my day.

Scratch. Scratch.

Are you sure it’s not chicken pox they said the next day. I laughed. Have to run so much to get done on my day off. You never take a day off, they say. Ha ha I laughed as I grabbed a list of errands with as many things on it to do as I had spots … and headed to the shops. Got as far as thing number two when everything suddenly slowed down to macro. I looked at my hand and watched dots appear before my eyes—lurching up from my skin. I watched them grow and bubble. Everything slowed down around me. Blurred at the edges. There was just me and the dots and the sudden realisation that I didn’t have the little headache I had described to a friend earlier that day, but I had a pain across the back of my eyes that closely resembled a migraine and a back ache of epic proportions to boot. And dots. And spots. And what on earth was I doing out shopping?

It took four days till I paid attention to myself.
Till I stopped and had a second look at myself. Till I stopped making excuses because I didn’t think I had time to stop.

The doctor took one look. You have chicken pox.
Can I have a second opinion I asked.
The second opinion doctor took one look. You have a viral infection.
Oh phew, I thought—a viral infection.
Yes, the doctor said, a viral infection known as chicken pox.

Scratch. Scratch.

I’m writing this blog late at night thinking about how the rest of that day went. A thought crossed my mind—Chicken pox … ooh now I have a legit reason for a nanna-nap! But did I get one? Nope. Who has time?

Why is that?

Who actually looks after me has been a question I’ve dwelled on for much of this year.

It’s 10.30pm and I’ve just realised that I still haven’t put on the calamine lotion I bought for my itchy spots at 1pm that day.

I go looking for the lotion. It’s in the kitchen. There is a big pot of chicken soup bubbling away on the stove. A whole chicken bobs up and down in a golden bath of carrots and parsley, onion and dill. I walk over and take a deep smell.

It’s the first time ever that I wasn’t the chicken-soup-chef.

All hail Google recipe search.

And someone looking after me.

This post was inspired by a writing prompt from the wonderfully witty, wise and wordy Sandi Sieger. “Look at everything twice.”

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