You use up two large containers of disinfectant wipes on the kitchen counter, bathroom door knobs and family computer keyboard in a week. You pick up rotisserie chickens, order in pizza and get the kids to fill their own lunch boxes in order to avoid preparing meals. You un-invite your 88-year-old father-in-law to dinner so he won't catch it. You want to sleep all day but, instead, you shuttle both kids around, do your work, miss no steps. Finally, feeling a tiny bit Pretty Woman, you caution your husband not to kiss you on the mouth. But you still have sex because, hey, why shouldn't at least one of you feel good?
Never mind that you're susceptible to pneumonia (five times in 12 years), or that you've been dealing with emotional stress for the past three months, worrying about (and dealing long distance with) your own mother's illnesses. Or that what you'd really rather do is crawl under the covers, suck on ice pops, watch Notting Hill on continuous loop and sleep for a week.
You carry on.
Finally, you make a doctor's appointment, but not because you're desperate to be rid of the head cold, phlegm, cough and burning sore throat, but because: (1) your son is coughing a little bit and has a slightly red throat, and you want to know, before calling his pediatrician, if you might have given him strep throat; (2) your husband is spending a lot of time visiting his mother in a rehab hospital, and you don't want him to catch something that might pose a risk to her; and (3) if you have to jump on a plane at a moment's notice because your own mother takes a turn for the worse, you'd rather not be sick.
The doctor says you'll be fine, eventually. These things just take time.
You carry on some more until you pretty much can't and, on day 11, after three loads of laundry, a half day's work, two school pick-ups and an ill-advised trip to the grocery store, you decide you're done and retreat to the couch with lozenges, chamomile, a Slanket and Oprah. Sleep Your Way To A Better Relationship
Then he says it, and you can't help but sense exasperation in his tone. Your husband comes in the door, takes one look at you on the couch and says, "Did you take anything?"
And you think you know precisely what he means, which is: "Okay, I've been a good sport. I've even made you the odd cup of tea, and one night I even cooked pasta (thanks honey for having homemade tomato sauce defrosted and waiting on the counter)." But what you hear is: "When are you going to get over this? When are you going to pop a few Advil Cold and lick this thing? When are you (meaning we) going to get back to normal around here?"