My animals are not the most sympathetic when I'm sick. It happens so seldom that when I actually do get laid up for a considerable amount of time, they just get annoyed with me for lying around like third base.
This last week I really got hit with a nasty one. I don't get the flu or even colds very often, and when I do I'm out of commission for about two days before I start to make a recovery and am able to go back to work. This last week, that was not the case. It started last Tuesday around four o'clock as I was heading back to work for my evening shift. By closing time my coworker was telling me to go home and drink some orange juice, and the Cowboy told me I sounded terrible. The next day I called in. I didn't feel completely horrible, so I figured I would be okay within a couple of days and back to work by Friday.
Nope, this bug kicked my ass and took a few names to boot.
Aside from the chills, the muscle aches, the extremely sore throat, and the fact that my skin hurts whenever I have the flu, the animals become extremely impatient with me. Tess especially doesn't understand why I would stay home for three days and barely get out of bed. She gives me that look like I'm some kind of lazy bastard intentionally ruining her day. Luckily it was nice weather all those three days so she could just stay outside. Unfortunately it was so nice that Tess was giving me the stink eye for having the nerve to be at home and not take her for a run. In her mind, if I'm not at work, I should be taking her for long walks, especially when the weather is so nice.
There is no way to explain to the dog that when hit with the mother of all flu bugs one cannot drag oneself out of bed let alone outside.
The cats don't get it either. Apparently I threw off Puckett's routine so badly on Wednesday that she rebelled by developing the habit of scratching for literally fifteen minutes in the litter box after doing her business. I think she was trying to force my hand and get me out of bed. She probably thought she was showing me, but honestly I was so out of it that I barely reacted. Usually on a day off I'm up by eight o'clock cleaning litter boxes, feeding the cats, letting Willow out of her cage. By nine I was still completely immobile in my bed and Puckett probably figured the longer she scratched, I would eventually have to get up. Normally that would work if I was just being lazy. When one is wishing for death to take her, something trivial like extended amounts of litter box scratching doesn't make a dent. I drifted in and out of consciousness to the background music of "scritch, scratch, scritch...scratch, scratch, scratch..." and on and on and on.
Percy performed his usual galloping through the house and caterwauling Wednesday morning which is what he resorts to when he just wants me to get my ass out of bed already. I managed to drag myself out of bed to close the bedroom door on one of his rounds. I was almost asleep when I heard him thunder back up to the bedroom door and pause. It's just no fun to do the thundering elephant routine when the door is closed and I can't partake. All was quiet after that until I woke up again around noon. When I opened the door, three cats sat outside, glaring up at me.
Willow just avoids me. Usually she gets up on the bed with me when I'm in it and she's not in her cage. These last three days she gave me a wide berth like she thought my diseased nastiness would affect her somehow. Oh, sure I just clean out her litter box and vacuum her cage daily, but she can't be bothered to come near me when I happen to be a little under the weather.
By Friday they all pretty much just ignored me. As long as I kept the food bowls full and the litter boxes clean, they couldn't be bothered with my presence.
I can understand why the animals aren't sympathetic about my illness. The litter boxes don't get cleaned as often, they get fed late depending on when I can manage to drag my carcass out of bed to fill the bowls, and I'm lying around the house rather than taking my poor deserving dog for a run. No one gets any attention because it's all I can do not tear off my own skin and claw out my throat, and the last thing I want is furry critters hanging around in my face. I'm one of those people who likes to be left alone when she's sick. I don't like a lot of hovering and soup bringing and hand wringing, and that goes for the animals too. They are welcome to hang out in the room with me as long as they are quiet. But if they are going to get needy I'm just going to lock them out of the bedroom. My pets are codependent anyway, so with them it's all or nothing. Either they get ALL the attention or they are going to ignore me and punish me.
Between my pets and my friends who were more interested in constantly texting me the updates of all their dramas, I think the most sympathy I got from my round of flu was from the nurse at the Urgent Care Clinic, and my boss who was super understanding about me calling in three days in a row. My mother felt bad for me too, but she's a mother. It's her job.
By Sunday night, I lost my shit completely, dissolved into tears, and cried for two hours on the top step of my staircase. That freaked Tess out so badly that she forced her head through my elbow and tried to crawl into my lap. Percy sat on my other side, rubbed against my side, and purred. Puckett gave us all a look like we'd lost our minds, and Willow was already in her cage (to her relief, I'm sure),
It's nice to know when the chips are really down the animals come back around to their usual compassionate, loving selves and show some sympathy. For awhile there, the consensus between them was to avoid me at all costs until I got my shit together and started acting normal again.
The pets are relieved to see that I am on the mend, going back to work, and on my way to being a fully functional member of society again.