Saturday, February 9, 2013

Notes from the sick room

Well it happened. Not long after writing about our victory over colds and the smooth-sailing of this winter - the flu hit our family.

We had a great weekend hosting Jon's aunt, uncle and two cousins who had come up from Virginia for a swim meet.  Although they spent a lot of time at the meets, we did get to keep Cousin Lizzie with us for the day Saturday and she did an excellent job of entertaining the kids!  We said goodbye before church on Sunday and then settled in to a quiet day at home, watching the Super Bowl by ourselves.

Jon decided to take Monday off since he had some use-it-or-lose-it vacation time and wanted to enjoy the football game without worrying about work the next day.  He had a very productive day finishing our taxes and booking our anniversary trip.  We decided to celebrate by going out to dinner.  Hubby had been craving a Bloomin' Onion and when we saw online that you only had to go to Outback and say "Super Bloom" to get one for free, well that settled it.

We had just sat down to our drinks and Onion when Jude started shivering and shaking so hard he could barely sit in his seat.  His lips were blue (which sadly isn't entirely uncommon for Jude), so we covered him with our coats and he laid on the seat next to Daddy while Julia helped finish his dinner.  He seemed worse by the time we got home and kept saying his "boo boos" hurt, but when you asked him to point to his "boo boos" he didn't seem quite sure.  One minute it was his tummy, the next his throat, his ribs.  One thing was certain, the poor kid was burning up.

Occasionally, there are times when I wish I had went to nursing school.  Times like Monday night, when I was cradling my feverish middle-child with one hand and scrolling through WebMD with the other.  I don't know anything about sickness, and I never realize my weakness more than when one of my kids comes down with something other than runny noses and coughs.  And there's something about it happening to one of my babies too, that makes everything seem so much worse.  When I end up with a fever and aches in various locations throughout my body (as I did later in the week), I assume it's a very bad cold.  But when it happened to Jude, I thought for certain he had appendicitis.  Or that he was going to stop breathing.  So I held him for a full 30 minutes, never taking my eyes off the rise and fall of his chest, until he fell asleep in my arms and I realized - this probably isn't as bad as Google is making it out to be.

Since Jude was already comfortably settled in our bed, Jon volunteered to sleep in the guest room that night (smart man).  Meanwhile I spent the evening with a feverish, occasionally-delirious, little boy who would randomly spout off pieces of conversation in the night about my boots, Uncle Bob, the light, sleeping in Mommy's bed ... But the most interesting part of our slumber party was Jude's sleeping habits, particularly how he liked to sleep in an L shape, in which he planted his toes directly onto my legs, and then rubbed them up and down, up and down to the point where I dreamed I was a tree in the forest and there was a buck rubbing its antlers on my branches.  This went on the rest of the night, I'd wake up to Jude's buck-rub, graciously remove his toes and return him to a vertical sleeping position, only to be woken up again by the same thing an hour later.

By 6am his fever had broke and he was back to his 60-questions-a-minute self.  But by mid-morning he was complaining about his "boo boos" again and was soon resting on the couch under a blanket.  He seems to have completely recovered since Tuesday, but it's hard to tell because now, whenever Jude feels like he's not getting enough attention he'll frown, look at me with those big, blue eyes and say "I shakin' Mama, I shakin'. I need to rest on the couch with a blanky."  

Oh Jude, our sensitive little guy. It's no surprise he was the gateway for this sickness.  Or maybe it is.  I thought for sure, which Jack starting preschool last month, we'd be running the gamut of germs.  Surprisingly, Jack made out much better than the rest of us.  There were only two instances where he yelled out "Barfs! There's barfs in my tummy!" before running to the bathroom to throw-up.  Other than that and an entire day of laying on the couch watching TV he seems to be doing quite well. Not that I've paid much attention, I'll admit. Because although I woke up with a slight cough and some chest congestion on Wednesday morning, it wasn't until after we got home from MOPS that I suddenly started to feel "off."

I decided a nice, warm bath was in order.  Unfortunately, Julia had fallen asleep in the car and was up from her nap much earlier than usual.  She must have shared my sentiments because soon she was tugging on her clothes begging to get in with me.  And so I let her.  And between that and all the kisses I give her, or maybe that she is constantly drinking out of my water bottle when I'm not looking. Or maybe that she just never wants to leave my side ... well, Girlfriend didn't fare so well herself this week either.  By 3pm that day my head was pounding and I ached all over.  I gave Jon the "call" the "I know you're probably busy doing important things at work but if by chance you're not and could come home a little early please do!!" call.  I managed to put a frozen pizza in the oven and curl up under some blankets on the couch.  By the time he came home (at 5:30pm) I was shivering from a fever, barely able to stay awake, and unwilling entertaining three small children who were climbing all over me on the couch.

I've never had the flu (that I can remember) and I've never been feverishly ill while pregnant before so I called the midwife to see if she had any suggestions.  She told me to drink lots of fluids, take Tylenol to keep the fever down, get to bed and stay away from the kids.  Check, check, check and ... uh, how exactly do you stay away from your kids?

Particularly when the youngest one wakes up coughing and wheezing at 2am with a fever of her own.  I figured all was lost at that point anyway, Lia and I were in this together.  So I tucked her in bed with me and we shared a pillows, tissues and water bottles the rest of the night.  Thankfully, Jon was able to work from home the next day. I'm not sure how I would have made it through otherwise.  My fever still hadn't broken, my joints ached so bad it hurt to walk and just about every breath I took sent me in to a fit of coughing.  I spent the day in bed, except for the one time I took a bath and the one time I took a shower.  Jon had a chiropractor appointment later that afternoon so after he left I moved to the couch and tried to be a proper mother to my children but honestly I don't remember much of what went on that evening.

Jack doesn't let me take his picture any more, so I snuck this one in by using the mirror. ;)

Picture me under that blanket ... yeah.
Speaking of my amazing husband, not only did he put all three kids to bed by himself (for the first time ever!), he also changed poopy diapers, did Julia's hair, made the kids lunch, brought home dinner twice and took charge of the house.  Although I'm far, far behind in laundry and we desperately need groceries (oh what I would do for some fresh fruit right now!!) my house is clean and the kitchen is spotless.  What can I say, my man likes to keep the kitchen clean!  He's also the only one of us who still remains healthy (he's also the only one who actually got a flu shot but I hate to admit those things really work.)

Julia spent another feverish night with us, this time much worse.  When she wasn't insisting on sleeping with her spine directly aligned with my rib cage, she wanted to be held - semi-upright, with me sitting up, which meant my neck was completely crooked, which meant that when I did wake up (after not really sleeping anyway) I could hardly turn my head.  The good news is I had a break in my fever, and between the Tylenol and lots of make-up, I was able to pull together a somewhat healthy appearance so that I could do the unthinkable - make my neurologist appointment.  I know, I know, it was terrible of me.  Here I am, not only a walking Petri dish of flu bugs, but I also just so happened to have a (nearly clear) case of ringworm right on the wrist that needed testing.  I'm not normally so selfish and thoughtless.  Nor am I typically willing to wake up at 5:45am to make a 7am doctor's appointment in the middle of the flu, but you have to understand I have been attempting to get relief from my carpal tunnel for 6 months now.  And I've spent 3 of those months trying to get in to see this particular neurologist.  I knew if I canceled this week, it would be at least another 5-6 weeks before I could get in again.  And so I rallied ... and tried not to breathe on anyone.

Nurse Lia, if only I had a picture of her attempting to spoon feed me cereal in bed.
The doctor was cool.  I mean seriously, cool.  His office, with it's wooden floors and vintage medicinal art, was borderline hipster.  And when he pulled me out of the examination room and led me to a table in his office, with its dim lighting and 80s band music coming from his hipster computer, I was glad I made the effort.  Our insurance doesn't usually cover cool doctors, especially ones that ask if you have any music requests, or what your thoughts are on the whole "woman in combat issue".  Despite the fact that I was about to get electrically shocked in the wrist at 7 in the morning, I was optimistic.  Actually, the shocking part wasn't nearly as bad as I thought it would be. The second part, where he would stick a needle in my muscle and then ask me to use that muscle?  Okay, that was a bit more painful.

Movies in bed.
Anyway, to make a long story short I have moderate carpal tunnel (kinda already knew that but now I have fancy electric-shock graphing charts to prove it!) and got sent home with orders to wear splints all day every day and with a referral to a surgeon if I do decide to go that route. So I have some thinking to do.  But not right now because by the time I got into the car after leaving the doc I could tell my fever was creeping back up.  Unfortunately, Jon had to go back to work that day.  I did manage to pull together a lunch for my kids and get the two youngest down for naps.  Other than that I'm sure Jack watched TV most of the day.I couldn't even tell ya.  I vaguely remember him serving himself some ice cream in the afternoon but again, I was a little out of it.

This is what happens when Mom is out of commission - Jack says it's his marshmallow making machine.
You know, the whole sick-in-bed thing has its perks.  I've had the BBC TV series of Robin Hood on my Amazon Watchlist for over a year now, simply because I heard it stared Richard Armitage (my favorite from "North and South"). Although most of the time I was too tired to even read or watch a movie, I did manage to catch a few episodes over the past few days.  No, being in bed all day wouldn't be all that bad if it wasn't for the kids.  First of all, that they don't leave me alone.  I mean, I don't blame them.  I'm their mother after all.  I'm there for them day in and day out, why should they expect anything less.  But it's the moments when we're all snuggled up in my bed, and I'm picturing quiet time by all but what's really happening is Julia is hitting Jude in the back with one hand while emptying out the tissue box with the other, and Jack is discreetly kicking Julia under the blankets, and Jude is trying to watch Jack play the LeapPad over his shoulder but is also simultaneously dripping snot onto Jack's neck ... it's never peaceful.  Not with three.  So last night, when Jon had to go back to the chiropractor for an appointment that took longer than it should have, and three kids were sitting on top of me (laying on the couch), trying to race their cars/pull out the window slats/climb up unto the windowsill/step all over Mommy's aching body ... well that's when being sick really, truly stinks.

Oh, and the fact that I'm currently failing my kids as a Mama.  I mean, there is laundry to be folded, sheets to be washed, toothbrushes to be disinfected and groceries that need to be fetched.  Oh, and baby wipes.  We've been out of baby wipes for 3 days now.  (More kuddos to my husband for managing diaper changes!)  And more than anything I just want to turn off the TV and play with my kids, get them outside.  I want to eat a decent meal, not something pulled from the freezer or picked up on the way home.  And Valentine's Day.  That's next week right?  I haven't even begun to think about what we're doing for that!  I'm so ready to get back on track.

These poor children need a mama!
But my body's not quite there yet.  Thankfully, my fever finally broke for good last night.  I'm still hacking a lung every few minutes and have barely any voice left.  My inner ears hurt, but I'm only using half as many tissues as I was (I think I counted 17 from last night, although one of those was a dryer sheet. I vaguely remember coming across what I thought was a tissue in bed sometime last night, only to be assaulted in the nose by something much more like sandpaper). But at least I'm awake and somewhat coherent.  I'm just exhausted.  I started the laundry this morning and now I have 4 loads that are all clean, but I haven't got the energy to actually fold them.  And while I managed to actually plan out next week's meals and make a grocery list, chances are I won't be getting out of my pajamas today.  I must say, in some ways it was easier when my brain wasn't working... Kids, I promise I'll be back soon.  Right after this nap ...

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Follow by Email