If you want to send a young mother over the edge quickly, text them that you have hoof and mouth disease. When I was a kid that's what they called it, but apparently now they just call it like it is – hand-foot-and-mouth disease.
At this point in life if I wake up needing more blankets, instead of throwing them off, there's a problem. I laid awake for most of the night trying to decide if I should cancel Thanksgiving dinner. I blamed the headache, fever and sore throat on a sinus infection and since I spent most of the day in the kitchen, I did a top-notch job of sharing my germs with everyone.
Watching the girls go through the sales fliers and planning our Black Friday all night shopping trip, it took everything I had not to bail out. I barely made it through the day of cooking and then went shopping through the night and didn't get to bed until 6 a.m. My feet felt as though they were on fire with blisters but I figured it was from all the walking we had done during the shopping frenzy. I'm building up for a pity party, just in case you're wondering.
When my feet broke out with red bumps and blisters, I blamed it on bad shoes but when my fingertips broke out as well, I did what most reasonable people do – I searched the Internet and self-diagnosed.
After doing some research herself, my daughter decided I had some kind of weird ailment because the Internet claimed it was rare for adults to get hand-foot-and-mouth disease. But when her husband spent nearly 24 hours in bed and the bottom of his feet broke out in red bumps, she insisted he go to the doctor and get an official diagnosis. Sure enough, same result as my self-diagnosis.
The next victim was the youngest grandson, who broke out in bumps all over his body. By this time, the family is in high freak-out mode because not only are the kids getting it, but apparently the grownups are too. At this point I feel perfectly normal, except for my feet, which were still broken out but no longer hurt.
I'm not sure why, but this is my second go-round with a childhood disease as an adult. When the oldest daughter brought home chickenpox she not only infected her sister, but I got it as well. I ended up missing a bunch of work and when I did eventually go back, I still had chicken pock marks all over my face.
I feel bad I was the reason the grandson was sick but he seemed to bounce back a lot more quickly than I did. As far as the son-in-law goes – he can't say I never gave him anything.
I keep telling the family I act the way I do because I'm still just a kid at heart. I guess my body took me seriously.
Sandy Turner lives in Independence. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org