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Slices of Life: Mom take a sick day? Won't happen
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I hardly ever get sick. I guess I'm lucky that way. Besides, I'm a mom. Despite what the commercial says, we don't get sick days. It's easier to take care of others when you don't need anyone to take care of you. So it's convenient to be in good health - robust and well with a constant and never-ending supply of acetaminophen and throat lozenges to dispense to the young folks living with you.

I'm tough, but unfortunately I'm not totally immune. I found this out last week when I got hit with a bigger-bugger of a cold. A common cold, for goodness sakes. Usually I can barrel right through a batch of the average and ordinary sniffles. This time the sniffles conquered my entirety in an overwhelming manner.

Each morning for about a week I wanted to get up out of bed and head straight for the couch. No, I take that back. Each morning for about a week I wanted to stay in bed. Period.

Whoever coined the phrase "common cold" obviously never had one. There is nothing common about an inability to breathe like a normal person. My nose alternated between complete stuffiness and uncontrolled runniness 24/7. The inability to breathe led to an inability to sleep. When I did manage to snooze, I woke up mouth wide open with my tongue dried up like a piece of beef jerky. My throat was sore. I had an annoying tickle of a cough. My ears were plugged. My head ached. My shoulders ached. My neck ached. My back ached. I think even my hair ached. My nose was chapped from blowing. There seemed to be a fogginess surrounding me. I found it hard to think clearly and was literally at a loss for words. I started hoarding Kleenex. I was miserable.

Unfortunately couch time was not available in the quantity I desired. Life marches on - no matter how achy-breaky one might feel. Kids still need rides to school. Work doesn't automatically complete itself.

The people living with me were sympathetic to my plight. And, even though my family tries to help (and they do) certain things - like flushing toilets and putting the milk back in the fridge - remained relegated to me.

I muddled through with lozenges under my tongue and Kleenex in my pocket. I drank weak green tea in an attempt to stay hydrated and warm. I popped a couple of acetaminophen tablets every four hours as needed. I rested when I could, and even when I couldn't.

Relief was elusive, even with the medication. I wanted a nap and clear nostrils. Neither was available. I worried the rest of my family would get the crud. If it hit me hard, it would hit them harder. That much was a for sure. Luckily that didn't happen. Despite my sneezing and coughing and inadvertent germ-sharing, no one else got sick, which is the happy ending to this sad and sniffley story.

I guess the gang I live with is tougher than I thought. Either that, or I am a wimpy mom, which I am not. That term is clearly an oxymoron.

It's a universal truth: Moms can't be wimps. We don't even get sick days.

- Jill Pertler's column appears Thursdays in the Times. She can be reached at