“I’m dying,” I croaked through dry, cracked lips that felt so withered to the touch that they belonged on the face of a 3,000-year-old mummy hanging out in the desert.
I added a fluid-filled cough for good measure then flopped back on the pile of pillows I had gathered to create my final resting place.
Some people call it nesting.
I call it burying myself alive.
“You’re not dying,” my husband, let’s call him Mr. Sensitive, replied when he walked into the bedroom.
“Yes, I am,” I insisted and weakly waved an arm in his direction. “Start digging the hole, so you can throw me in later.”
His eyebrow rose a fraction and he said, “I thought you wanted to be cremated. You know, like the Vikings.”
“Oh, yeah,” I sighed, “I forgot.” Pause. “See? I’m already delusional,” I whined.
He snorted, rather unkindly, and said, “You were delusional BEFORE you took the cold medicine. This just took it up a notch.”
Then he added, “What’s that on your face?”
I tenderly reached up and touched my sore, red nose, which at the very moment was covered with a wide swath of white tape.
“My head is so stuffed, I can’t breathe,” I said, “but we were outta those breathe-easy-strip-things, so I made my own with something I found in the first aid kit.”
He snorted and asked, “And what was that?”
I mumbled something to the effect of “athletic tape.”
He howled with not-so-sympathetic laughter, “Ouch. That’s gonna hurt when you peel that off later.”
“No, it won’t,” I insisted. I sighed again for what I hoped would be dramatic effect, but due to the congestion of cruddiness in my head, sounded more like a dying cow at the end of her life, “I’ll be dead, so I really won’t care.”
For the record, I rarely get sick.
I can’t brag about it, though. It’s not because I’m doing anything correctly. I’m horrible about working out. I enjoy red meat, pasta, sugar and caffeine more than any normal person pushing the age of 40 should.
I never take vitamins, and while I love milk, I forget to drink it unless I’m dunking OREOS in the glass.
I’m sure I have the bone density of an 80-year-old man.
So color me clueless on how I rarely fall victim to the latest crud making the rounds. But this one nailed me. Son-of-a-biscuit.
However, after my husband’s initial crack about my MacGyver’d breathe-strip, he remembered our marriage vows and got to work.
“Do you want more tissues? I can go to the store and get more tissues,” he offered kindly.
I clutched the double roll of toilet paper to my chest and declared, “No, this stuff is better.”
He rolled his eyes and gently said, “But, honey, it’s...toilet paper.”
I shook my head defiantly, in turn making me dizzy because the 47 gallons of snot in my head started slushing around between my ears.
My eyes briefly rolled back into my head, scaring the bejesus out of my husband, then the world tilted back to the right.
I held up the roll and poked it with a finger. “See? It’s super cushy, and it has all kinds of aloe and other stuff in it.”
For the first time, I was grateful that the two male members of our household insist I keep the expensive, 62-ply toilet paper stocked in the hall closet rather than the cheap, cardboard stuff other non-sensitive-rump households enjoy.
If we ever go to war, those two are toast. Forget waterboarding. Take away their fancy toilet paper and they’d start turning state secrets in all of five seconds.
I looked with wonder at the roll and added, “I think it’s magic or something.”
My husband, who understood my cold was sending me for a ride on the crazy train, decided it was time to take a different tact.
“Drop the toilet paper,” he said, “and I’ll get you some ice cream.”
Forget what I said about my husband’s possible action in war time.
He’s gonna be just fine.
Mr. Sneaky knows how to make a deal.