It’s been a while since I’ve blogged.
Then again, it’s been a while since I’ve stayed up past 7 p.m.
Unlike in previous years, where February was our sick month, someone one way or the other in my house was sick from December 31 all the way through January 28.
It started with New Year’s Eve.
My daughter was coughing and sneezing. Then her head ached. I could not find the working thermometer (that expensive Braun ear thermometer I purchased when the kids were babies fell into an open toilet bowl and as a result was thrown away years ago), but with my keen sensory skills, I would say she had about 101.
She knew that her planned sleep-over invitees would not be happening, but please can everyone just come over and she would stay upstairs?
After all, New Year’s Eve 2012 put the close on the last full year we would spend in this house. Everything from now on would be the last, including our last New Year’s Eve get together with our local Rochester friends.
But with flu in the house, I completely understood why everyone stayed away.
All the champagne, cheese, chips, dips, and finger food appetizers (including Mac & Cheese balls! I mean, can anything sound more tempting than Mac & Cheese balls??) I purchased for a small New Year’s get together would have to wait for another time.
My daughter’s flu-like symptoms lasted into the first week of school. As soon as she was better and returned, it was my oldest son who missed a week of school with a sore throat, a seal-like cough, and a headache that wouldn’t quit.
Finally, my youngest was the next victim of the flu and was out for nearly a week. A high fever and a bad cough were the symptoms of his misery.
I have to admit that he DID briefly return to school one evening, thanks to the magic of Advil, to perform in his chorus concert.
The show must go on, right? And again, it is one of his first and last concerts in our current hometown.
Next, it was my turn.
I often encourage my children to take turns in sharing things. This was a turn I would rather have been left out of.
My flu symptoms – both occasions, were sandwiched with the mother of all sinus infections.
I had completely lost my sense of smell for about a week. Do you know how much pleasure the human being gets from their sense of smell?
The aroma of coffee, of fresh herbs, steaming soup, freshly baked bread, lavender-scented candles and vanilla scented body lotion completely evaded me.
A whole head of garlic? In desperation, I cut one in half and inhaled.
NOTHING was getting through my schnozzola. Nothing.
I suspect that even if I had to change a diaper, I would be spared the stench.
“Inhale some red pepper flakes!” My son dared me. “It will be painful, but it WILL clear you right out!”
I turned down his dare. I may have been desperate, but I’m not a 14-year-old boy.
When my fever went away, and thanks to some more OTC drugs, 100 cups of tea, and my new favorite toy (a Homedics humidifier) my sinuses cleared and I was feeling better.
But the tiredness and the cough only lifted completely in the last 48 hours.
After a month of being sick (and mind you, I know the flu is NOTHING in the face of other serious illnesses,) there is the blessing of
People’s first response when you are sick is always “Feel better!”
So, if you are sick with this year’s miserable flu, and you are reading this, I sincerely wish that you feel better.
You will get better soon. When your head is congested and you can’t even smell the strongest head of raw garlic, know that soon you WILL FEEL BETTER!
Not tomorrow, but soon you, will be better.
Better in the way that you can stay up past 6:30.
Better in the way where you can return to work with renewed energy and without the guilt of knowing you are infecting your co-workers.
Better in the way that you can return to exercising and actually feel energized and not exhausted.
But in the meantime, I leave you this song from The Hostile Hospital, a book in the kids cult classic books, Book the Eighth in A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket:
These were the words of my son petitioning me this morning from his bed. These words came from his mouth, which was attached to a head, a head as hot as coal. A head which could not be lifted from his pillow.
“Just give me some Advil, and I can go!”
His concern: An overdue tech project that needed to be completed in school. A CO2 car he has designed and engineered that still needed to still be sawed, glued, and painted.
This project counts as 60 percent of his grade. How do I know it is 60 percent of his grade? He has told this to me at least 10 times since coming down with the flu.
He is also worried, of course, about falling behind in math. And Science. And how will he ever catch up and HOW he will get ready for midterms.
He puts this pressure on himself to not to stay home and recover from the flu but to GET TO SCHOOL no matter how he feels. No matter the consequences to his own health or those around him.
My son is not yet in
Harvard college or even in high school.
He’s only a 14-year-old kid.
He’s only in the 8th Grade.
If you can’t even stay home and rest up from the flu in the 8th grade with a clear conscience, then what does that say about our culture? Is there any wonder we are in the midst of an influenza epidemic?
Now, we all think we have THE most important jobs in the world.
Unless we are at death’s door, don’t even think about skipping work or school.
Even I have come under this delusion of mind over virus.
Last week, in I went to teach afternoon instruction because I felt I HAD to be at work to show my commitment. I was not hacking and coughing. I HAD a prescription for an antibiotic in hand (seems like, if you have flu symptoms and don’t rest them, the darned germs morph into something else, wouldn’t ya know?).
I was just a little stuffy.
And my eyes were sunken in because I had barely slept for two …. no three nights because my sinuses were killing me but
Life goes on and we muddle through.
At the copy machine my boss asked.
“What are you doing here?”
“I’m just making copies for this afternoon. Then, I’m going to take my antibiotics. Then I’m going to teach. ”
Fortunately, I have a boss who does have the voice of reason.
“You will do no such thing. You look like hell. I appreciate you want to work but you shouldn’t be here. Now go home and get some rest.”
So rest I did and I am better now, a week later. Even so, my energy is not fully back.
So, when it was my son’s turn to fall ill, I did not let him succumb to our hyper-achievement culture.
He’s home. He has a fever that spikes back as soon as the latest ibuprofen dose wears off. But he is resting and doing his work and playing his guitar when he feels up to it.
Will he go back to school tomorrow? Don’t know. We’ll just have to see.
Fess up: have you ever went to work/school when you know you were too sick?