Thursday, September 6, 2012

On Being Sick

This may sound like an odd topic for a post but it’s something I find worth telling. Your first time being sick when you are away from home is obviously no picnic. No mother around to bring you soup or to give you a bell to ring when you are in need of something. When I went to MSU at age 20 I found out quickly that you are forced to take care of yourself when the situation arises that you aren’t feeling well.  During that first year away, I had a wonderful dorm room mate named Molly, and although I can’t remember a specific instance, I am more than sure she helped me out at times I was sick there.

When I was living in Morocco becoming sick was only a matter of time. Digestive issues are never far away while getting used to new food, water, and surroundings. Getting sick there meant you would be taken care of in a completely different way. No chicken soup or hot baths to soothe your ill body. More like medicines you aren't familiar with in bottles that you can't read and cures from Moroccan grandmothers that you can't possibly understand. But to a Moroccan mother the words “I’m sick” (or as I had to say in Arabic ana merida) were all one needed to begin care.

But I remember one time in particular when my sister Rababe took on a motherly role and made sure I would be more than comfortable. It was when I was living in my apartment alone and I had no one to help me. I remember being very dizzy and lightheaded with nausea. I tried to take care of myself, which meant nothing more than just lying as still as possible in my bed, but soon enough I knew I wouldn’t be able to get better alone. I called Rababe’s cell phone, and upon her inability to answer I sent her a text message saying I was sick. She ended up coming upstairs and knocking on my door, after school, with the most frightened/concerned look on her face asking what was wrong. I asked her if she could go buy me some Coke and she quickly came back with a liter of it with some of my favorite yogurt. She put the things in my refrigerator for me and quickly tucked me back in my bed leaving me with a kiss on the forehead.  I will never forget her 16-year-old sweet kindness.

I bring this up because within the first night of living in my new house I in fact got sick. I was awoken at two a.m. with what I though was hunger pains and a stomach doing flips and turns. After several hours I knew I wasn’t hungry but was in fact sick with something. Figures my first night/morning alone, with nearly no food in my house, and I am suck trying to take care of myself. But soon I began pooling my resources and found out that it was time to call in a favor from my lovely Aunt MaryLynn to ask her to bring me a get better kit. I had not one bowl, pot, or spoon in my house yet so I asked her to bring me an entire soup making set along with the almighty medicine...refreshing Coke Cola.  I’m lucky to have someone willing and able to bring me soup on a day like this. It’s nice to be able to take care of yourself, but we all need those people in our lives like Moroccan sisters and American aunts to help us when we are down.