So, I'm sick. I went to bed with a migraine so sharp I almost asked M to take me to the hospital. If you know anything about me at all, you know that I'll avoid going to the doctor at all costs, so that, in and of itself, is proof I'm feeling pretty crappy. Add to that the facts that I'm ridiculously irritable, and all I've done all day since getting the things I had to do for work finished is lay on our giant beanbag with the kitten (I'm a workaholic), and you start to understand just how bad I feel.

And you're thinking, “So what? Everybody gets sick. You'll get better. Deal.”

Yes, I can read your mind.

Here's so what: No matter how hard one tries, one will eventually get tired of a person crabassing because they're sick. It's inevitable. There's only so much crankiness a body can stand, regardless the reason, and when you lash out for the tenth time, the halfhearted apology – complete with a whiny “But I'm sick!” – starts to lose its charm.

Let's face it. How both of you behave toward each other when one of you is sick can make or break your relationship. I mean, who wants to spend their forever with someone who suddenly can no longer fend for themselves when they get the sniffles, or spends a month doing their best impression of the Hulk because they stubbed their toe? Not this little gray duck, that's for sure.

But when you're sick, it's hard not to be miserable. Everything hurts. You're tired. You just want to be left alone. Sex? Pfft. Yeah, right.

That's all well and good, just give the complaining a rest. Knock it off with the attitude. And if you're expecting the world to just fall in line and make you're life easier, you've got another thing coming. But wouldn't it be nice?

See, the thing is, not many people would be happy about finding themselves alone and unsupported when they're ill. Because when we're sick, we know we can take care of ourselves (provided it's not a serious illness affecting one's ability to do so), but it's really nice when your partner gives you a hand anyway.

Pick up the slack a bit. You don't have to do everything, but try to do a couple things your partner would usually take care of to lighten the physical and mental load. It's stressful knowing you should be doing things but are physically incapable.

Cook them some soup and brew up a pot of tea if it's a cold. It doesn't have to be homemade. Who has the time for that anymore? Grab a can of chicken noodle on your way home from work, and pop it in the microwave. It's the thought that counts.

So your partner's not up for sex. There are other ways of being intimate, and it's only for a little while.

Draw up a bath and a cup of brandy if the problem's not their stomach. Climb in with them if there's room (the capital region's got some teeny tubs!), and rub them down starting at the temples. With both of you naked, who could blame you if your hands wandered? Just don't lose your focus: making your lover feel better.

You don't have to hold the puke bucket or pretend you feel just fine. You don't have to subject yourself to things you normally would cringe away from. Just give a little. You'll get a lot in return.

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