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Jen Pollock Michel

( author + writer + speaker )

4 Advil, and a Good Night's Sleep

jenmichel@me.com

When I left to take Audrey to her clarinet lesson last night, I wore my North Face Parka and UGG boots. Despite the mild spring temperatures we’ve been enjoying in Toronto the last several days, I dressed for winter freeze. Or better yet, a raging fever. Uncontrollable chills, numbness in the tips of my fingers, and desperate wishing for a bed and a bottle of Advil: that was the pathetic state in which I arrived home, preceded by a text to Ryan: “I’m dying.” Four Advil, and I put myself promptly to bed (without the parka, although I did consider sleeping in it.) The fever broke an hour later, and I slept soundly until 4 this morning.

I am reminded of Audrey’s 7th birthday party, where we had planned to take her and three little friends to the American Girl Doll Café for a birthday dinner with their dolls. On top of our excursion downtown, I had the brilliant idea to redo Audrey and Camille’s room during the school day as a surprise, painting it purple and yellow and rearranging the furniture in order to fit the new Ikea desk Audrey was receiving as a birthday gift. The twins were only two months old, but with my parents in town, I thought I’d be able to somehow maintain the twins’ rigorous nursing schedule alongside my interior decorating ambitions.

I was wrong.

We were at dinner that night when the chills – and fever – began. I pretended that I did not feel as if a construction truck had reversed over my body, making jello of my extremities. At some point, excusing myself from the table, I phoned the doctor in the hopes that he could order a prescription for the breast infection I was sure I was developing. I would pick it up on the way home, where we would have arrived sooner had I not, in the fog of fever, taken a wrong turn out of the city and headed north on 94 instead of west on the Eisenhower.

I took the prescription and the Advil as soon as we were home.

And got up the next morning to resume the painting we hadn’t yet finished.

I won’t be as foolish today. There are no projects to ambitiously finish. My greatest feats will be packing school lunches and getting everyone to and from school. Perhaps with an afternoon nap, I might find the vigor to prepare dinner.