Single and Sick

Not long ago, a friend confided that the only time she wishes she weren't single is when she's sick.

I don't share her sentiment entirely--as evidenced by my ongoing attempts at dating (see here and here for proof). However, single is a pretty good state:

  • We own our schedules. Singles don't attend functions or partake in activities unless they have an interest in doing so.
  • We eat what we want when we want--and can choose not eat at all. Scrambled eggs for dinner? Sounds good to me.
  • We make financial decisions independent of any other person. "I want this. I will buy it."
  • We keep our households to our preferences. I have a painting of a skull in my kitchen. I stack mail on the counter. No one has the right to care.
  • Our habits and modes of dress can't possibly annoy anyone we love. Sometimes, I lounge around the house in pajamas on Sunday afternoon. I allow the dog to sleep in the bed. So?

Singlehood, in many ways, rocks.

Except when you're sick.

When ill, you want to immobilize under piles of blankets. You do not want to get dressed and

  • walk and tend to the dog,
  • run to the pharmacy to buy medicines and tissues,
  • fetch liquids (tea, water) from the kitchen,
  • get soup, crackers, or other food, and
  • pick up the house (food, paper products, dishes and cups).

Many of these tasks are especially awful when it's blustery outside--as it often is when you're sick.

In this case, it sucks to be single.

Friends and family have their own lives to attend--often with children and spouses and jobs--and they aren't able or willing to drop everything to play nursemaid to an adult who may live at a distance and whose needs don’t fit their schedules. Likely, they don't love the role when they're required to play it in their own households (and I can't blame them).

Maybe there's a business in there somewhere: As an increasing number of households become occupancies of one, perhaps someone should offer a service to caretake for all the sick singles.

Any takers?

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Reader Comments (8)

I get to be grouchy when I'm sick and nobody wants to be near me. I will pretend I'm not sick till the last possible moment and ignore everyone's helpful suggestions. I will then soldier on beyond any good sense and try and save my misery till bedtime.

Usually one night's sleep is enough to fix me up.

But I get what you're saying. It's these moments when you do feel the gulf between the liberty of singlehood and the security and support from couplehood.

When a person is young the feeling isn't that defined but later in life it can crystallize and become more intense. A caretaker service might serve as a surrogate but I don't think its a satisfactory substitute for the real thing.

November 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterWilliam Pora

I agree, it's nice to have someone there. I tend to be the go-it-alone type, but it's comforting just to hear other people in the house, doing normal stuff. It also makes me feel better to know that if I have a turn for the worse and fall into a coma (I get dramatic when I'm sick), someone will notice and call the hospital.

But I'm not so sure about having strange people in the house. Maybe if it was a service where they'd come and visit on a regular basis, sick or not. The "neighborhood nurse" that everyone knows wouldn't be so strange.

November 19, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRebecca

I'm VERY lucky that I can do all the things you list as advantages to being a single person & be in a live-in relationship at the same time.

Kev & I have our own schedules. If one of wants to do something & the other doesn't, that's fine. We'll go alone. No forcing the other to join. No making the other feel guilty for going out.

I rarely cook & Kev NEVER cooks, so we pretty much fend for ourselves when it comes to meals. We are both known to just have a bowl of cereal or a plate of cheese for dinner, and both of us are more than fine with the other wearing PJs all day. In fact, we prefer it!

If we want to buy something for ourselves, if we have enough of our own money left after bills, we buy it, and when we remember to check the mail (which is about once every 10 days), it gets thrown on the dining table.

Kev loves Legos. I'm indifferent about them, yet we're planning on a way for him to display his prized Legos in the house. We have pretty much the exact same taste in furnishings.

It's like we're living the single life, but we have the bonus that we happen to be madly in love with each other, too. And when one of us gets sick, the other is more than happy to take care of the other. (Kev has WAY outdone himself in that matter over the last year & 1/2 since I got hurt. I owe him big time.)

Bonus: Kev LOVES it that I can out-belch him & pretty much all of his male friends. :)

November 19, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterErin

And this is when we all envy Erin incredibly much. But not in a negative way--in a happy for her kind of way. That's the kismet all we singles seek! (And as wonderful as Kevin is to you sick AND well, you are equally wonderful to him and he knows it. That is beautiful. As my cousin once told me, the trick to happiness in marriage is to try to "outlove" each other every day.)

And I'm with you, Rebecca and Will: It'd be odd to have a stranger hanging around the house. Especially when you're sick and miserable. Guessing we're stuck out!

November 20, 2012 | Registered CommenterLeslie Farnsworth

I will take care of you, you just have to ask! :)

November 26, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterThe Brother

We shall see, mister. We shall see. ;)

November 26, 2012 | Registered CommenterLeslie Farnsworth

This is indeed a problem not only for singles but for older folks who become homebound or just so close to it where they only go out for doctors appointments and what they MUST have.

February 9, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterRandy Baxley

Very good point, Randy. And as the population ages, this will become an increased concern.

February 10, 2013 | Registered CommenterLeslie Farnsworth

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