The existence of Man Colds is a well-recognized phenomena among married women. 

A couple of weeks ago, the winter cold season hit, and with it, a flurry of Man Cold cases.

Owl brought the cold home, and I caught it from him. 

Perfect Husband is always very sympathetic when I am sick, but I assurred him that it was a mild cold, not one of the “death colds” (as he calls them) that I am prone to contracting.

A day of sore throat, a few days of stuffy nose, and that was about it.

A good thing, too, because my work is far too short staffed for me to call in sick, and because being sick doesn’t at all change the fact that there is still a baby to take care of. So life went along as usual, uncomfortable illness notwithstanding.

But then PH caught the cold.

PH’s cold was DIFFERENT.

It was a MAN COLD.

He was dying.

I believe his exact words, a few days in were, “I can’t wait until I don’t feel like DEATH.”

There was much moaning, and sleeping, and flurries of snotty Kleenex as he suffered under the excruciating misery that is the Man Cold.

Was he actually sicker than I was? Maybe. How can we compare the subjective experience of illness? Perhaps his immune system didn’t rally as well as mine. It’s really hard to say.

They say that men have a lower pain tolerance than women do, but I have the lowest pain tolerance IN THE WORLD, so that can’t be it. He must really have been sicker, unless “general discomfort” is different from pain, tolerance-wise.

All I know is that I mentioned to my friend ~K that PH had a cold, and she immediately responded with,

Uh oh, and it will be worse because it will be a MAN COLD.

The next day, a neighbour on Facebook posted

Alert! Man cold in the house!

and in reply to a flurry of sympathetic female posts, she added

The worst thing about a Man Cold is the woman also loses her sick nurse and has to struggle on taking care of the kids without his help while also taking care of HIM.

A day after that, the Domesticated Nerd Girl made her own post about the Man Cold phenomenon.

Yes sir, the Man Cold virus was everywhere, taking down normally helpful and useful husbands left, right and centre.

Happily, PH recovered in about a week and he no longer feels like death.

As I say, it wasn’t a bad virus.

But then mine somehow resurrected itself, and this time it was PISSED OFF. 

For the last week I have been struggling under increasingly painful sinuses and hacking up bits of lung/vomit into the sink, all while working a long week (a staff member was on vacation) and caring for Owl as per usual.

It got so bad that my boss sent me home yesterday so I could go to the doctor, where I was given an asthma puffer and the recommendation to take 1000 mg of Tylenol and 600 mg of Advil every 4 hours.

That’s when PH put his foot down.

He called my boss and said that I wasn’t coming in tomorrow. It was too bad that there was absolutely no one to cover for me. He wasn’t letting me go in. 

It was time for a woman to be accorded Man Cold status, with all of the lazing, sleeping, and complete lack of responsibility that goes along with it.

So I took Owl to daycare today (which was a struggle in itself because my first instinct, in having a day off, is to think “yay! A day with Owl!” and to voluntarily give up time with him feels completely foreign to me) and went home.

The goal (according to PH) was to spend the day in bed and resting. I took an hour-long hot bath (baths of that length were a daily occurrence befor the advent of Owl, but I haven’t had one since that time), and then a good nap.

I pulled myself out of bed at 1:30 and looked forward to spending the afternoon blogging, eating more soup, and generally being a complete bum until it was time to get Owl from daycare.

I still felt like $%^# but I had to say, the Man Cold has its advantages. This might turn out to be my best day off in, well, 14 months.

Then I got a phone call from the woman who had been pulled out of vacation. Could I come in for 2:15? Because she absolutely HAD to leave by then. Prior commitments.

What can you say to someone who shouldn’t have had to work today at all, but for you?

I said I’d be there.

Now I’m sick AND disappointed.

No Man Cold Day for me.

Edit: Oh, and did I mention that I had already traded my Monday off to the Vacation Lady, and I still have to work tomorrow, so somehow, in all of this, I have actually LOST a day, plus I will no longer be paid overtime for working a sixth day tomorrow?

PH is on the rampage.