Everyone knows Moms can’t get sick. We have people depending on us; lunchboxes begging to be filled, homework that needs to be done, and God knows someone needs to be driven to 3 birthday parties every weekend. Well – this Mom went down hard. I got hit; attempted to get back up, got hit harder, and I’m still recovering. The worst part of getting sick this time; my husband went down too and just as hard.
When both parents are out, it’s survival of the fittest for everyone involved.
I got hit on a Saturday with fever, chills, and crazy fatigue. I went to bed and emerged Sunday, walked directly to my daughter’s room and started straightening up . It was just a reflex … I had been sleeping all day; my husband brought me toast and Gatorade… I was able to lift my head so … I’m cured and should get back to it right?? “What are you doing? Are you crazy “ he said, “get back to bed! What could you possibly need to be doing ?” He was right! What on earth was I doing picking up a god damn board game and putting it back in her closet? “I dunno,“ I mumbled like a zombie and hobbled back to bed for 2 days. Thank God he handled school drop off and pick up Monday and Tuesday. By Tuesday I was starting to feel better aside from a super sensitive stomach with no appetite, (but we all know the silver lining of any bug is the weight loss I mean…am i right?)
It was Tuesday afternoon when my husband texted me from work, “Now I feel sick”. Uh oh I thought … good thing I’m feeling better. I washed all the sheets, opened all the windows, and did some cleaning to kill whatever germs I had and got ready for Round 2: DAD IS DOWN. Wednesday morning I dropped Issy at school and headed to Whole Foods for the hippie stuff and then to Rite Aid for the trusty old school standards. Old school /new school- we’ll take it all…oregano oil, immunity shots with extra ginger, elderberry syrup, Robitussin, and NyQuil- you name it- we had it. AND- lets not forget a few packs of one time use surgical masks.
Wednesday I took care of drop off and pick up and had to leave my now poor sick husband to do the bedtime routine as I ran off to work. It was my first day without a fever since Saturday. I was exhausted and my stomach was off. I was repulsed by food and just sipping water made it hurt. Even the silver lining of potential weight loss wasn’t enough of a comfort at this point and I longed to be normal again. Meanwhile my husband was now feverish with chills and a cough that sounded like he had pneumonia. The roles had switched and I needed to take charge of Issy duties no matter how nauseated I felt. But by Thursday afternoon, I took a terrible turn. A wave of heat came over me and that was the beginning of phase 3: MOM IS DOWN AGAIN/ I repeat: MOM AND DAD ARE BOTH DOWN.
So Dad was coughing up a lung and Mom couldn’t keep water down. I had probably consumed the equivalent of a glass of water and 3 pieces of toast in about a week’s time. Each morning, my husband and I would look at eachother and play a mental game of rock/ paper/scissor to determine who would get up with Issy. Once we hit the weekend and morning drop off wasn’t an issue- she had to practically fend for herself. “Go watch something on Netflix” we would say. She could help herself to whatever food she could reach; I mean she’s 5. She’s practically an adult now right? Every once in a while she would need us to enter the parental code to watch a show intended for 7 year old’s but under the circumstances, I think we’re just going to let that fly. For the record, not being able to keep water down trumps a death rattle cough in this house, so my husband took the first shift on the couch and then I would emerge and take the second shift so he could go back to bed. I’m pretty sure Issy lived off of Pirates Booty and (out of guilt), girl scout cookies. By Sunday, poor girl had cabin fever. “Can we play a game? she would ask. The novelty of screen time had worn off and she wanted to PLAY. “What about UNO,” I’d suggest. ” No, Mom a real game like hide and seek.” (I shuttered at the thought of having to move.) But I felt so bad; I gave in and squeezed myself behind chairs and under tables but honestly it hurt my stomach to fold my body in anyway. It was my idea to take the spin art down from the top shelf and cover the Persian rug from my husband’s Grandfather with an old sheet and get the damn paint out because I am: 1) crazy and 2) felt so awful that I’d basically disappeared as Mom for a week . She was delighted and I enjoyed her happiness for a minute before immediately regretting my decision to use non washable paint inside. I convinced her to play board games as her paintings dried.
This has never happened before where both of us were completely incapacitated. In a word, it was HELL. But, we somehow got through it. Here is my advice when both parents are sick:
- Order tons of Persian food at the first sign of feeling sick. There will be so much food left over that it will sustain your entire family for weeks!
- Don’t eat all the Girl Scout cookies as soon as you buy them. Keep some unopened boxes in the back of the cabinet so you can bribe your kid when you can’t move.
- Use those one time use surgical masks when someone gets sick. I know we’re all living together and chances are it’ll make the rounds but surely this helps reduce the spread of germs. For the record, our daughter never got sick, (most likely because she was the gross little carrier of it but STILL)
- Lastly, if someone says , “Can I do anything for you?” Say yes and accept help. If we didn’t have all the leftover Persian food, when my friend asked if she could drop off something on my doorstep, I would have given her a grocery list. Though my child was perfectly fine with pirates booty for a week.
Wishing you all good health!
Surgical face mask for the win