Column: In sickness and in health – not so bad

• Originally published in the Kane County Chronicle on April 15, 2009

Like most human beings, I hate being sick.

The stuffed-up nose, the sore throat, the unearthly amount of snot that a body can produce when it wishes — I can do without all that. (I do, however, like my voice when I’m sick. It becomes a radio voice, and I suddenly get the urge to start promoting products between conversations.)

This is the first time I’ve been sick since getting married last year, though, which means this is the first time my wife has had to deal with a full week of what I like to call Yucky Joe.

And you know what? That “in sickness and in health” thing isn’t half bad. She has brought home crackers, ginger ale, and – most importantly – burritos, the ultimate in get-well dining.

The problem comes when we go to bed. Sleeping next to a sick person is just not a good idea. There’s a reason – well, a couple – why hospitals don’t do queen-size beds.

Basically, this is what sleeping next to a sick person sounds like to the well person in the sack: zzzz, snort, hack, cough, zzzz, snort, hack, zzz, snort, uck, cough, zzz, hack, uck.

Needless to say, it isn’t Brahm’s Lullaby, and one of us eventually ends up on the couch. (So far, I’m leading 3-1. Yes, I can make a contest out of anything.)

It could be worse, though. Two of the women in my office have husbands who have the shingles, a horrible version of the chicken pox, which isn’t that nice of a guy to begin with. I couldn’t imagine my wife having to deal with oozing blisters along with constant night coughs and getting out of bed about 200 times to go blow my nose. I’d have to check with my church, but that might even be grounds for annulment.

But at least she gets rid of me when it’s time for work.

Illinois State Rep. Kay Hatcher, R-Yorkville, wasn’t so lucky.

She stopped by to see me on Monday because I told her the previous Friday I wasn’t feeling very well and she should pay an introductory visit early next week. Well, I wasn’t feeling all that much better by then either.

It’s never good when you’re meeting one of your state representatives and the first words out of your mouth are “you probably don’t want to shake my hand.”

She was understanding, though, and we had a good conversation, even though I spent most of it hoping not to get her sick and, through her, the entire state legislature. (I’m sure some would argue that wouldn’t be such a bad thing.)

And best of all, I didn’t try to sell her auto insurance at the end of the conversation. Though I sure had the voice for it.

Joe Grace is the editor of The Chronicle. Write to him at or call him at 630-845-5368.


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