An Ode to Nyquil

Melissa Stagnaro

There is nothing that throws a wrench in a family holiday gathering quite like a sick relative. This Thanksgiving, that infectious one was me.

For the last week, I have been what my editor so eloquently described as a “big ball of mucus.” And I assure you, he was being polite.

All of those family members I couldn’t wait to see? They couldn’t wait to see me either, until they realized whatever I had could very well be catching. Sniffling, sneezing, coughing, phlegmy and feverish – that was me.

Being sick is never a picnic. But it really adds insult to injury when are suddenly downgraded from beloved aunt and sister to germ-laden pariah.

Instead of “Look kids, it’s Aunt Melissa,” I got “No honey, don’t kiss HER.” If it hadn’t been for a startling lack of parental oversight, I probably never would have had a chance to hold the newest addition to the Stagnaro clan. But I did, and my tiny month-old niece Elizabeth Rose didn’t care that I was a bit sick. She was quiet and contented in my arms.

Instead of being downstairs in the mix of things, I was relegated (read: quarantined) to an upstairs bedroom. Too far from the action to enjoy any of it, but not far enough away to actually be able to rest fitfully.

I was considered well enough to undertake the prep work for Thursday’s big meal. You know, all that chopping, pealing and mashing no one ever wants to do? The fun stuff was all delegated to other healthier family members.

I can honestly say that I’ve never had quite so much elbow room at the Thanksgiving table. But I didn’t enjoy it. Even if I’d had an appetite, turkey just isn’t as appealing after you’ve been “enjoying” mentholated cough drops.

The evening did end on a high note. My Nyquil kicked in just in time to exempt me from clean-up duty and left-over patrol. Hmmm. Maybe I should remember that trick.
I wish I could say my symptoms left with my family members after the holiday. Unfortunately for me (and my co-workers), they’ve stuck around like that one relative that refuses to go home.

The only thing that is getting me through all the coughing and nose blowing is the hope that I’ll be in the pink of health again before the Christmas relative rush. 17 days and counting.