“I tell you I’ve fought tougher men,
but I really can’t remember when;
he kicked like a mule and he bit like a crocodile.”
–Shel Silverstein A Boy Named Sue, as recorded by Johnny Cash
Well, folks, this wasn’t the week I expected to follow such a wonderful weekend. Randa and I had traveled over to Little Rock and met up with three of my sons and their families at the home of my youngest son who is about to deploy to Afghanistan. We had a terrific time visiting there, enjoying one another’s company and an incredibly beautiful day of weather on Saturday. With sunny skies and seventy degrees, we entertained ourselves in mid-afternoon with a round of Frisbee golf and fun in the park. The seven grandkids had nearly as much fun as we did.
Randa and I headed home Sunday morning and almost made it in ahead of our most recent winter storm. We hit a few patches of very light sleet beginning just south of Kansas City, then light to moderate snow at the city’s north side. By the time we got to the south edge of Saint Joe, the snow had started to pack and the cars had started to slide. We barely managed to skirt around a series of wrecks by taking the shoulder for just a bit up to the I-229 exit and made it home around eight Sunday night. Looking back, the storm was a bit of an omen.
I made it in to work Monday but felt like a bag of dead mice all day. Headache, congested sinuses and perpetual post-nasal drainage. Monday evening’s supper consisted of a peanut butter sandwich and a few Oreo cookies. I probably could have had pizza and jalapenos; the end result would have been the same. Starting shortly after bedtime and continuing on a fairly regular basis throughout the night, whatever went down came back up. I’m sure I’ve been sicker than I was then but, like that boy named “Sue,” I really can’t remember when.
If we were to call that first round of vomiting just a light tremor, the final round at about five the next morning was somewhere in the neighborhood of 8.4 on the Reichter Scale. On the third and subsequent trips, I was so lightheaded I thought I’d pass out before making the six steps from the bed to the bathroom. I can still feel the tsunami moving from one side of my head to the other.
For the past two days, I’ve been flat on my back except for necessary trips which required some semblance of vertical. Over the past sixty hours, I’ve ingested one-and-a-half bowls of soup, half a dozen crackers and enough OTC cold and flu meds to stock a small warehouse. Randa faithfully kept me supplied with cracked ice the first day and then succumbed to her version of whatever this is on the next day. Today, we’re like a pair of crippled mules trying to help one another through the fence.
There are times when the duties of love overwhelm its dangers. That’s why the God Who Loves Us did more than face our diseases. He himself bore our sins. And overcame.