The greatest test of any marriage is the onset of flu season. One good bout of the flu can wreak havoc on every level of your partnership. For the last month and half, that’s what the Carpenter and I have been juggling.

When the germs infiltrate your family, contaminating every corner of your home until no one is left standing to make tea for anyone else flat out on the sofa, you know the meaning of the adage, “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.”

Delirious with fevers and heavy with chest colds, there is little interest in anything more than falling over into a haze of chemically induced sleep.  This is okay unless you have young children who also require some attention. Then, as parents, you must tag-team to coordinate medical dosages of both the children and yourselves, so that someone is alert enough to handle the vomiting child at 3 am. The Carpenter and I keep a memo pad by the medicine station (also known as the kitchen counter), to track which person got what medicine at what time. Safety first. Sleep later.

(Can I just say, single parents, you have my utmost respect).

Then there is the issue of who looks less frightening to do the emergency food and drug run. The winner has to go to the dreaded drug store and stand before a plethora of medicine labels to determine the individual needs of everyone in the family. It is crucial that they remember to get ginger ale too.  Here is the financial stress. No wonder drug stores are big money.

The tension builds as I refuse to take over-the-counter medications, insistent that my homeopathic options will work. There is nothing the Carpenter enjoys more than proving me wrong.  Unfortunately, this last time, he was very much right. My regimen of Echinacea, multi-vitamins, Vitamin C drinks and preventative flu products and OCD hand washing didn’t do squat. I hit the floor faster than everyone in the family.

It was not an attractive downfall, might I add? There is the Man Cold and then there is the Kelly Cold. You see, unlike my workaholic spouse, I will admit defeat. I know rest is vital in the fight for health. I even have special pajamas for such an occasion: red flannels with white polar bears (very sexy).

I can only imagine the destruction I cause to our marital bed when I climb in it wreaking of vapor rub that is slathered all over my chest and yes, even the balls of my pink furry-socked feet.  Oh yeah baby, come to bed. Cough. Sniffle.

With little balls of icky tissue stuffed under my pillow and a nice puddle of drool on the pillow, thanks to the coma-induced sleep of that hot lemon concoction I drank before bed, I am sure that morning brings a sight that would induce nightmares in lesser men.

Privacy is non-existent with the flu too. You discuss things like bodily functions and the colour of nasal output. I have even been known to walk in to the bathroom while the Carpenter bends over the sink draining his sinuses with a netty pot, just to chat.  Yep. We’re keeping the burning flame of love alive, (hack).

You know you’ve hit your all-time relationship low when you consider the question, “do you want a cup of tea?” as foreplay.

Marriage is work; in sickness and in health, one glass of flat ginger ale at a time.