"No obstacles are insurmountable when God commands and we obey"
- - Heber J. Grant
October 22, 2012
The Blessing of Being Sick
by Kathryn H. Kidd

I got a good sleep last night, and the angels sang.

Let me tell you, sleep is something you don’t appreciate until you can’t get it. I’ve just spent about ten sleepless days, having been afflicted with a cold and a sinus infection that showed up right on top of each other.

Most people who get colds just get colds. This doesn’t happen on Planet Kathy. No, I have to make a production out of everything. I can have coughing fits that literally last for hours. I subsist on cans of soup and boxes of saltine crackers and Pepsis. And of course, the cold never goes away.

When I felt the first twinges of sickness, I pulled out the Airborne and the Zicam and started taking them religiously. Usually that helps. This time, it didn’t do a thing. The bacteria and the viruses (and I had some of each) just laughed scornfully. This was not a good sign.

A friend had loaded up our house with Kleenex “Cool Touch,” which makes your nose feel nice and cold and happy every time you use it. I immersed myself in those Kleenexes, but my nose did not even thank me for being so good to it. When we had a cooking class at our house one night, two people ventured over to my quarantined area of the family room to observe that my nose was so red I looked like Santa Claus.

The lack of sleep was the worst part. I wear a mask when I sleep, so I have to breathe through my nose. In the seven years I’ve been wearing the mask, it has stood up to every ailment. This time, there was nothing I could do to breathe. As soon as I reclined, breathing was impossible.

Between the inability to breathe and the marathon coughing fits, Fluffy banished himself to another bedroom. I sat in a chair one night for three hours, trying in vain to fall asleep sitting up. Nothing worked. The next night I only sat in the chair for an hour and a half and called it a good night.

When NyQuil and nose drops and bags (yes, that’s plural) of cough drops didn’t work, I finally called in the big guns and sent Fluffy out to get some Vicks VapoRub. We slathered it on the soles of my feet and put two socks on each foot before Fluffy outfitted me in my nightly leggings. Eureka! I finally got through a night without banishing Fluffy to another room. Vicks VapoRub is expensive, but it’s worth its weight in gold for people who cough at night.

I called in sick at the temple and slept for three hours straight. Then I slept the whole night (last night) through — thanks again to the Vicks VapoRub treatment. For the first time in a long time, I think I might live. The timing on this couldn’t be better, because Fluffy and I are scheduled to be secret shoppers in a hotel room tonight, and it’s hard to escape to another room when somebody is coughing if you’re staying in a hotel.

As annoying as it is to get sick from time to time, the best part of being sick is remembering how good it feels to be not-sick. Sleeping through the night is a luxury, but it happens so often that you forget to be grateful for it until you haven’t had it for a while.

The same thing is true of all the little blessings around us. We just assume the heat (or the air-conditioning) will turn on as needed, that the lights will illuminate the room at the flip of a switch, that the car will start when you turn the key in the ignition, that the refrigerator has kept your food cold and safe, and that the toilet will flush on demand and wash all your cares away. It’s only when those things don’t happen that we realize how much we depend on them, and how much easier they make our existence.

I, for one, am glad for colds that remind me how wonderful it is to sleep without a care, for a period of joblessness to remind me how glorious work can be, and for all the other annoyances we have that keep us from having a perfect existence. It’s the imperfections that point out to us how good we normally have it, and that make us grateful for the wonderful lives we are normally allowed to live.

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About Kathryn H. Kidd

Kathryn H. Kidd has been writing fiction, nonfiction, and "anything for money" longer than most of her readers have even been alive. She has something to say on every topic, and the possibility that her opinions may be dead wrong has never stopped her from expressing them at every opportunity.

A native of New Orleans, Kathy grew up in Mandeville, Louisiana. She attended Brigham Young University as a generic Protestant, having left the Episcopal Church when she was eight because that church didn't believe what she did. She joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as a BYU junior, finally overcoming her natural stubbornness because she wanted a patriarchal blessing and couldn't get one unless she was a member of the Church. She was baptized on a Saturday and received her patriarchal blessing two days later.

She married Clark L. Kidd, who appears in her columns as "Fluffy," more than thirty-five years ago. They are the authors of numerous LDS-related books, the most popular of which is A Convert's Guide to Mormon Life.

A former managing editor for Meridian Magazine, Kathy moderated a weekly column ("Circle of Sisters") for Meridian until she was derailed by illness in December of 2012. However, her biggest claim to fame is that she co-authored Lovelock with Orson Scott Card. Lovelock has been translated into Spanish and Polish, which would be a little more gratifying than it actually is if Kathy had been referred to by her real name and not "Kathryn Kerr" on the cover of the Polish version.

Kathy has her own website, www.planetkathy.com, where she hopes to get back to writing a weekday blog once she recovers from being dysfunctional. Her entries recount her adventures and misadventures with Fluffy, who heroically allows himself to be used as fodder for her columns at every possible opportunity.

Kathy spent seven years as a teacher of the Young Women in her ward, until she was recently released. She has not yet gotten used to interacting with the adults, and suspects it may take another seven years. A long-time home teacher with her husband, Clark, they have home taught the same family since 1988. The two of them have been temple workers since 1995, serving in the Washington D.C. Temple.

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