Oh, what a month this has been… One I am more than ready to close out and forget forever.
It started happily enough. A large snowfall. A new year. Lots of goals. Lots of giggles.
And then, Mr. Paintbrush came down with the flu. Or that’s what we thought. By day two… we realized it was not the flu. Instead, it was a re-occurance of a skin infection that he had several years ago. An infection that requires strong drugs and hospitalization. Ok… “I can handle this,” I thought. It’s like he was on a business trip. But, you know, in the hospital. So there was a level of emotional stress involved all this… but I was still surviving. I was busy washing everything in sight. I was single parenting. I was singing Gloria Gaynor’s “I Will Survive” at the top of my lungs. It was all good.
And then, my little guy caught the stomach bug. Now, let me be clear… I. Can’t. Handle. The. Stomach. Bug. And I really, really, really can’t handle the stomach bug when it starts at 11:00 at night and continues through the wee hours of the morning. In case you are wondering… I can’t handle it from an emotional standpoint (I mean, what Mama enjoys seeing their child in misery?!) I can’t handle it from a “gross factor” standpoint. And I can’t handle it from an immunity standpoint. (I have some weird immune thing where my body cannot overcome or resist the stomach bug. I’ve had plenty of ER visits because of the inability to fight it off without medical intervention.) So here I am, flying solo, one family member in the hospital, one getting sick every ten minutes…
I’d like to tell you I was calm, cool, and collected. I was probably anything but. There was a lot of internal freaking out and maybe some hidden crying on my part… but I do think I managed to stay strong for my kiddo. I think I managed to be comforting on the outside while internally chanting, “please let me get through this please let me get through this please let me get through this…”
Some how, some way… we made it through. The sickness stopped around 3 am and we got a few hours of sleep. My hubs was released from the hospital to recuperate at home. We had a couple of days where we tried to recover and catch-up on everything that had been dropped when all this went down.
And then, Mama got sick. It could not have happened at a worse time. Mr. Paintbrush had literally just missed four days of work himself and was unable to take any more time off. It wasn’t a school day for Sprout. There’s a flu epidemic here that took out all of my normal “emergency contacts.” Which meant that I had to parent through this. I felt like we were in “Code Red” and I wanted to radio “Mama Down! Mama Down!” to the world at large… I almost did, because I really could have used a Fairy Godmother, Mary Poppins, or some other sort of magic child care right then. It was the worst day I’ve had in a really long time. I’m pretty sure that my little one survived by scavenging the snack drawer and climbing the fridge shelves for juice boxes. (I’m pretty sure that I fed him meals, I just can’t actually remember right now!) I depended on lots of TV for him, lots of snacks he normally doesn’t get, and lots of bribery in the form of “Please just let Mama lie here while you play on your own. Please! I’ll let you have a candy after dinner!”
This may take the prize as my worst parenting day ever. But I just wanted to get through it. (And not land in the ER!)
And, I did. We did. It wasn’t my best day… but surprisingly, it was one my son’s best days ever. He really managed to pull it together when I needed it most. I’m still trying to decide if I’m really proud of him, or really sad that I was too sick to appreciate it more. I think it’s a little bit of both.
All of this made me realize I need an emergency plan in place. I have one for natural disasters. I have one for if my wallet gets stolen. I have one for lots of situations in between. But I don’t have one for when Mama goes down for the count. I need to build and expand my village. I need to have a portion of the pantry dedicated to food supplies for upset bellies, and a good stash of last minute meals I can make for my little one that are really. stinking. easy. I need to refresh my “surprise box” with new dollar toys and treats so when the wails of “I’m sooooo bored!” start up, I’m prepared… and I can still remain curled up on the couch, shivering under the blankets.
What do you do when you get sick? Do you have any tips or tricks you want to share?