It was creeping up on me ever since I got back from Europe. A sore throat here, a runny nose there. Every time I fly home from a big trip, it seems that my immune system is no match for the septic tank of bacteria that is airplane air. I tried to fight it off with natural remedies, lozenges, fizzy tablets, fruits and vegetables, the works.
I fought the brave fight, but the airplane air festered in the hidden corners of my body, where it grew and mutated and reared its ugly head late Monday morning. All of a sudden, I could barely sit up at my desk. I had no appetite, no energy, and a pervasive achiness in all my muscles and joints.
A not-so-fun fact about me: when I get sick, I often become a crybaby. It must be something about the depression and frustration that accompanies my body hurting and not having enough stamina to do what I want/need it to do.
It would have been one thing if I could have left work early and gone home. Sadly, I couldn't be that indulgent. I had time-sensitive tasks to complete for my boss and a concert that night. I would have skipped the concert entirely, except that my friend, Concert Cindy was kind enough to get me a ticket while I was in Europe, so I couldn't be that rude.
As the day wore on, I couldn't fathom standing in a crowded concert hall for hours, listening to loud music that I normally loved. Usually, such an event would be a treat, but in my condition, it was sounding increasingly more like torture. Yet, going home and hiding out alone in my cluttered room did not seem very appealing, either.
I tried to be stoic, strong, appreciative, independent. I kept crying at my desk, feeling like merely remaining conscious was an effort.
Did I mention I felt crappy?
BF David was going to join Concert Cindy and I for dinner, but give the concert itself a miss.
Finally, after much internal struggle about not wanting to come across as too needy or clingy, I wrote BF David a tearful email, explaining that I wasn't well enough for the concert and asking if I could stay over his place. I braced myself for a negative reply, for an explanation that he needed a night to himself, which was totally understandable, seeing how much time we have been spending together (it seems like I am hardly ever home anymore, not that I mind of course).
I cried when I got a reply letting me know that it was fine for me to stay over, and that he would take care of me. I felt so guilty, but so grateful. For me, the worst thing about being a grown-up is having to take care of yourself when you get sick, so it was a huge relief knowing he would be with me that night. When he called at the end of the day to see how I was holding up, I cried some more. Couldn't help it, that's the way I get.
BF David met me at the pre-concert restaurant. As soon as I saw him--yep, you guessed it-- more waterworks. Hey, if your one month anniversary isn't the perfect time to show your partner what a great big freak you are, I don't know what is.
He put an arm around me, murmured comforting words, and gave me a bag filled with a get well card and a brand new DVD of one of my favorite 80's movies. Swoon.
Concert Cindy joined us a little while later and, seeing the state I was in, was not the least bit upset that she had to sell off my ticket. I was thankful to have such wonderful people with me.
I must have thanked BF David a hundred times; I don't know how I would have made it through that night without him. His response?
"What's the point of having a boyfriend if he's not going to take care of you when you're sick?"
I guess I'm used to having the tables turned, being the one that does the taking care of. Like that night I held a pot for hours on end while my then-BF, who drank way too much, periodically vomited in it. Or the time my then-BF went off his meds and needed convincing that life was worth living. Or the time my then-BF bizarrely gave himself a concussion, on New Year's Eve, and bled from his head.
Either that, or I'm used to taking care of myself, even within a relationship. Like the time I had to take emergency contraception and spent the next emotionally-wrecking days curled up in bed, with only the occasional phone call from my then-boyfriend to not-comfort me. Or the time my then-BF left me to throw up in our bedroom wastebasket, while he entertained friends in another room. Or all the times I had no choice but to be autonomous through times of ill (mental and/or emotional) health, because my then-BF did not live in the same city as me.
I'm not trying to be all self-pitying about it, like, "boo-hoo, look at what sucky boyfriends I had." I'm just offering some background on why it's sometimes hard for me to ask for something in a relationship and why I'm surprised when I receive it.
BF David was lovely and took great care of me. He let me borrow warm, fuzzy socks and brought me chocolate cake and orange juice and gave me enough hugs and kisses that I knew I would get well very soon indeed. I credit him with my speedy recuperation.
"This is what being a team means," he said.
I'm beginning to really and truly understand.