Friday, June 6, 2008

Sick in the Head?

When I was a kid, my dad would tell us that getting sick was a sign of mental weakness. In fact, if he wasn't in the mood to hear us cough , he'd tell us to stop. Period. "Stop that coughing!" he'd say and he meant it. He said that if we were mentally tough, we could overcome the coughing and we'd stop. Apparently, I wasn't the most mentally tough 10-year-old in town because what I would do is that red-faced, cough-with-your-mouth-closed thing that probably looks as ridiculous as it feels. But coughing aloud was not something you did much around our dad. I was thumped in the back of the head a few times for coughing in church after he had said to can it. I'd rather do the idiotic cough-with-your-mouth-closed thing than get thumped with one of those monstrous, gnarled fingers my dad has.

Also, if we were sick enough to stay home from school and Mom let us lay in their bed to watch TV, the minute he came home, he'd kick us out. He'd say "I don't want that mochus in my room...get out of here with that." I'm not sure what mochus is, but I know he didn't like it. I think it's just a general funkiness, only I don't think my dad has ever used the word "funky."
Anyway, I used to think my dad was super mean to say I was mentally weak and that I could control my own sickness. I still think it was mean to make me cough like a nitwit, but what happened Wednesday actually got me thinking that he was on to something. Not that I would ever stop my kids from coughing out loud, but that there is a mental aspect to sickness.

Wednesday was check-up day at the doctor for Avery and Rhett. Rhett's one-year checkup went well and was uneventful except for the four shots. Avery's was fine except for one thing. She had a fever of 101 degrees. But she was fine. She had been playing and acting like her normal goofball self. Even when he asked her how she felt, she said she was fine. No sore throat, nothing wrong in her ears. She was fine except for the fever. He said it happens and that sometimes, their bodies are fighting something that we can't see and she was probably fine, but keep an eye on her.
We went straight home because I didn't want to chance her making other kids sick at the playground. The second we got home, she said "Can I watch a movie? Since I'm a little bit sick?" And there it goes. Now, she has a cough, runny nose, has had fever twice since the doctor's visit and is just, in general, carrying around the mochus/funkiness.
Now, I have to ask...Is that a mental thing? Did she get sick because the doctor told her she was sick? It made me think about all the people who are diagnosed with a life-threatening illness and die like two weeks later. They were totally fine and then one day, they just died. Would they have died so soon if they hadn't known they were sick or did the fact that they were told they would die lead them to believe it, thus causing it to actually happen? It's something to think about...well, maybe. I mean, if you're like me and the only thing you have to do is think about whether or not your daughter's doctor actually caused her illness, it's something to think about. Otherwise, go on about your too-busy-to-think-about-it lives.
Happy Friday!

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