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Sunday, January 25, 2009

Sympathy Please

Did you ever notice how in any movie that is set before the 20th century, if someone is sick in bed with a fever, there is always a nurse or close relative stationed by the bedside with a bowl of cool water and a washcloth with which to dab the patient's forehead. 

It didn't matter whether the patient's fever was caused by an infected sword wound, a poisoned arrow in the back or a nasty case of the black plague... and it certainly didn't matter that the only 'medicines' available were foul tasting herbal teas and strong spirits.  The deciding factor in the patient's survival or demise was, without a doubt, the skill and devotion with which the nurse or relative applied the well-wrung washcloth to the perspiring patient's feverish brow throughout the illness.

I mention this in passing [~cough cough~] because, having fended for myself all day Friday and Shabbat in bed with a nasty case of the flu or Tuberculosis, with nothing but self-administered over-the-counter cold remedies to ease my suffering, I feel somewhat justified in saying that perhaps something was lacking in my care.  During the long hours of alternating fever and chills, I found myself longing for some of that old-time medical treatment... like in the movies.

Seriously, what ever happened to the devoted wife or child sitting patiently by the sick father's bedside, mopping his fevered brow with a cool washcloth?  I didn't even have a current copy of the 'New Yorker' or 'Wired' Magazine to keep me company during the long vigil!  [~sniff~]

I'm just saying...  man cannot not live by Nyquil® alone!   [~cough cough~]

[UPDATE:  Wouldn't you know it.  I wanted to call in sick today but I had a 'must attend' meeting scheduled.  After driving an hour to work and pouring myself into my chair, I noticed a new message in my inbox saying the meeting had been postponed to Wednesday.]


Posted by David Bogner on January 25, 2009 | Permalink


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R'fuah shlema! I, too, know the feeling of dragging my sick, sorry self to work for an important meeting that wound up getting canceled or postponed. argh.

I hope Zahava finds someone to sit by your bedside and mop your fevered brow ;)

Posted by: Alissa | Jan 25, 2009 12:10:54 PM

Nothing to do with your blog but Rabbi Yehoshua Grunstein has spent Shabbos with us here in Liverpool in the UK. While talking to him over dinner on Friday night I mentioned your name - well who else do I know if from Efrat? - and he said that his parents are neighbours of yours. If so, please tell his mother that her 'boy done good', that if he was applying for he job, which of course he isn't, we would give it to him and yes, someone is going to take him to John Lennon's house to have his picture taken outside it on a sunny Liverpool, Sunday morning. There might even be a bonus of a picture outside Strawberry Fields and at Penny Lane too if his schedule allow it.

Hope you feel better. A hot honey and water with whisky in it works wonders for me. Or just the whisky........

Posted by: Jeff Max | Jan 25, 2009 12:35:45 PM

Hire a nanny nurse, Zahava has work to do.


Posted by: Karl Newman | Jan 25, 2009 12:37:30 PM

I think we need to set up a "wife swap" program for sick husbands. I could deal with a friend's spouse, but my own...no way.

Posted by: Robin | Jan 25, 2009 1:14:48 PM


Posted by: Gila | Jan 25, 2009 1:56:34 PM

You know I love you David, but I think Zahava has been doing a lot of brow-mopping for you recently...so she took a break! On a related note, we certainly enjoyed the TLC she showed us with the food!

Posted by: noa | Jan 25, 2009 2:03:22 PM

You know I love you David, but I think Zahava has been doing a lot of brow-mopping for you recently...so she took a break! On a related note, we certainly enjoyed the TLC she showed us with the food!

Posted by: noa | Jan 25, 2009 2:03:24 PM

I thought I was the only one who believed that you can really only feel better if there's someone to put a wet washcloth on your forehead!

Refuah Shleima!!!

Posted by: triLcat | Jan 25, 2009 2:36:38 PM

sorry to hear you are under the weather...i myself stayed home from work on tuesday, which was really serious because i'd rather go to work than make lesson plans for a sub...

but as for a wife to wipe your fevered brow...i seem to remember a certain young man playing a nasty health-based trick on said wife a few months ago...maybe now it's payback time??? (sorry, zahava; i'm sure you are far beyond vengeance, but it is possible, right?)

and on a serious note; is it as common for the general public in Israel to be offered the yearly flu vaccine as it is here? (not wishing to enter into public debate as to the value of the vaccine; just wondering)

anyway - refuah shelayma and good luck on finding that brow wiping person!

Posted by: Debbie | Jan 25, 2009 3:40:33 PM

Oh, pullleaze. This from a man who was a Sailor? On an unrealted note, have you ever noticed that whenever Jews are shown on television, even if it's Law and Order and the person in question is 30, they have a European accent as if they just got of the boat from Poland? Why IS that?

Posted by: Marsha, you know where | Jan 25, 2009 3:53:05 PM

Debbie: Before the airing of this post I was beyond vengeance.

FWIW, while I most definitely did not suit up as Florence Nightingale, I did take care of the bulk of the pre-Shabbat chores. Included in those were the preparation of a hearty soup and roasted chicken -- if those aren't two of the best old-time remedies... well....

Posted by: zahava | Jan 25, 2009 4:21:07 PM

There's nothing stopping you from simply laying a wet washcloth on your own head :-P

Posted by: tnspr569 | Jan 25, 2009 4:38:43 PM

What can I say, I totally relate...

I was sick for over a week and all I wanted was for my mommy (who lives on the other side of the globe) to sit next to me on my bed and stroke my forhead!

Posted by: Rivka with a capital A | Jan 25, 2009 5:55:02 PM

Sorry you're not feeling well, David.
But maybe if your youngest were to be your 'nurse', that would make you appreciate the 'solitary confinement' you received, a little more! ;)

Posted by: Val Bogner | Jan 25, 2009 6:23:09 PM

Oy! What a drag. Refua shlema!

Posted by: Rahel | Jan 25, 2009 6:49:05 PM

I was married to a nurse. She's done considerable time in intensive care units and it colored her ability to assess "real" sick people. Her criteria:
1. No broken bones poking through the skin
2. No bleeding from body orifices
3. Not enough fever to melt a wax candle on your forehead
Lacking one of these, you ere simply NOT sick.

And then "sympathy" could be found in the dictionary between "Sh*t" and "syphilis".

"Was" married...

You have my sympathy...


Posted by: mostly cajun | Jan 25, 2009 7:31:04 PM

I assume you've seen this interpretation of the phenomenon: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rXLHWmjA5IE

Refuah Shleima.

Posted by: A Living Nadneyda | Jan 25, 2009 9:44:23 PM

Poor baby. Having a good magazine would have definitely helped and proven that you were not sick enough to really need a nurse. Just suck it up buddy.

Breath Deep, Seek Peace

Posted by: Elliot Jaffe | Jan 25, 2009 9:56:56 PM

Oye, it's like an echo coming from down the street - my husband has been on the couch coughing his fool head off for days and chanting the same mantra. Unfortunately he is still married to a nurse (see mostly cajun comments above) so he's pretty much in the same boat as you :) I hope you both recover soon... (for your wives sake).

Nurse Cratchit

Posted by: Yeshara | Jan 25, 2009 10:50:13 PM

Cool washcloth on fevered brow is too commonplace. Try for a mustard footbath instead.

Posted by: Mich | Jan 26, 2009 12:23:49 AM

Went through the same thing lastt week, after staying home from work for a couple of nights to take care of the sick wife and kids, lo and behold, I get sick, miss a week of work, yet I had no bedside nurse either, must be something iin the neighborhood where our wives expect us to be able to take careof ourselves or something crazy like that.

Posted by: Max Power | Jan 26, 2009 5:02:52 AM

sorry you are sick, but now you spread it to your work...

Posted by: joyce | Jan 26, 2009 6:14:18 AM

off topic here(someone beat me to it with the hot toddy - but add some ginger to it as well).....just a heads up: have you seen the weekend discussions over running an ad for aid for Gaza, and the BBC's unwillingness to do so? And of course it never seems to enter the minds of the dogooders that money may be used for purposes other than they think.......

Posted by: claire | Jan 26, 2009 11:59:56 AM

Good luck with that, Dave).

(Reminds of that scene in that movie Far and Away with Kidman and Cruise, where she is nursing him and he is naked except for, well, ahem, if you saw the movie, you might remember the scene).

She was an excellent nurse.

Posted by: Baila | Jan 26, 2009 6:13:27 PM

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