Five years ago, I got the flu really bad. This was during the swine flu scare, and although I didn’t actually contract H1N1, I remember feeling awful and having to actually rest to get better. Little did I know what a luxury it was to be sick and be able to rest. Further, this was my first time having the flu since I was a child, how lucky I was to rarely get sick. The occasional cold I would contract lasted a short time and was easily cured with some soup, some Nyquil, and some good reality television. But then, my sweet life of good health was turned upside down: my kids were born.
Since my daughter’s existence, I cannot even count the number of times I have gotten sick. If something is “going around”, we get it. First one of my kids gets it, then the other one gets it, then either my husband or I get it, followed by either my husband or I getting it. No one is safe in my household.
Our humidifier is always on standby. Our medicine cabinet is stocked with cold medicines to fight every type of cold symptom (nighttime and daytime versions). I have a stash of Emergen C inside my desk at work to fight any possible initial signs of a cold. And we are now spending about $60/month for a daily supplement that is supposed to help us not get sick (this actually seems to be working with colds so I feel like it’s money well spent).
All of my PTO at work goes toward my being sick or having to stay home with my kids because they are sick. I am so jealous at the fun vacations my co-workers talk about taking. I can’t save up enough PTO to take a full week of vacation because of these colds. And, I’m sick so often that I find myself fighting through many colds at work when I know I would be better off at home resting.
This is something I never knew about having kids. Pretty sure this was not in “What to Expect When You’re Expecting”. No one tells you how you will be sick all the time. All the time. Sometimes even more often. No one tells you that when you do get sick, you don’t get to watch reality television in bed all day and take care of yourself until you feel better in 1-2 days. In fact, every sickness takes at least twice as long, if not longer, to get over. And your responsibilities as a parent still exist, even when you’re sick. Sick doesn’t get you out of reading a book at bedtime or needing to bathe and feed the kids. I thought I had a strong immune system, but these kid colds and viruses taught me not to be so arrogant. Any safety precautions short of a haz mat suit are sure to end in feeling worn out, a cough, runny nose, and a fever.
What I have learned from all this sickness is to really have an appreciation for feeling healthy and good. Mother’s Day was the first day I could celebrate officially being over all symptoms of Hand, Mouth, and Foot Disease (aka Fifth’s Disease) which I contracted from my kids (many people told me they heard it was “going around”.) It took 10 days from the first day of symptoms to get to the point of being symptom-free. Today has been even better. I feel good. My sore throat is completely gone so I can eat whatever I want without noticing any pain. I have energy. My head is clear so I feel like I can get things done at work. I feel motivated to make delicious foods, to get things organized in our new house, to exercise, and to write. I feel like me again. Good health feels wonderful! I’m in appreciation mode knowing that the next cold is likely around the corner.
A follow-up to my last post Strange Names for Childhood Diseases.