This winter, I have heard of “Snowmageddon.” I have heard of “Srirachamageddon” (Wha??). I am going to jump on the “-mageddon” train and call the past week in my home “Flumageddon.” My husband woke with a high fever last Tuesday morning. By Tuesday night Lass had a fever. Sis woke with one on Wednesday morning. Somehow, some way, Miss and I have not gotten sick (though she did have a nasty stomach bug/puking reaction of some sort all day Wednesday, which was notawesome).
Note: I do not mean to sound as though I’m making light of the flu. The flu is bad business, though I have at times been guilty of not taking it very seriously. I always worry about my kids getting the flu, but I never think of it as being too much of a big deal for a healthy adult like myself (except in 2009 when I was pregnant with Lass). This year with the H1N1 strain of flu being prevalent again, relatively young, healthy people are dying from the flu, like this man or this woman. Awful.
Not that this is any more tragic than when elderly people, sick people, or children, those typically at highest risk from the flu, die from it. It’s just scary because young healthy people often don’t get vaccinated because they think they aren’t at much risk of complications from the flu. And because of that they don’t recognize when they do have complications from the flu. It’s a reminder that the flu should be taken seriously.
Anyway, this is why my husband was quarantined in our bedroom, on the recommendation of his pulmonologist friend, to try to keep the girls and me from getting sick. Thank God we all got the flu vaccine (it contains the H1N1 strain this year) and the girls’ symptoms were relatively mild as a result (highest temp only 101.4). I’m sure this is also why Miss and I were able to resist the virus.
Unfortunately, my husband had already been battling a nasty cough for about a month. So after the flu hit, he developed pneumonia. Hello. Commence freak out. When I heard “pneumonia,” I started to panic a bit, worrying that he would end up being hospitalized or worse.
So, my poor husband has been terribly sick, confined to our bedroom, fearful that our kids will get this horrendous flu, and we’re both scared to death because pneumonia can be bad stuff. It’s been a heck of a week.
And as much as I have tried to be stoic and uncomplaining (heroic even?) in my caring for my family, I am not above an occasional bout of self-pity. On Wednesday in particular, when I had a very sick husband, two kids with fever and one puking up every bit of liquid I tried to give her, and I was worried about dehydration and pneumonia, and I was working on very little sleep (because of sleeping on the couch), and I had no help (though my dear Super Friend did offer to deliver supplies to my doorstep if needed), I was a mess. In my own head at least I was. I think I kept the frustration and worry from showing too much to my kids and hubby. But yeah. I was a mess.
I had lovely little battles in my mind between my “Oh-my-gosh-this-suuuucks!” self and my “This-isn’t-about-you-be-grateful-it-isn’t-worse” self. Fortunately the latter self typically won out, and honestly most of the time I was thankful to be able to care for my family, but I’ll admit to a few tears and a whiney phone call to my Mom Wednesday night.
We’ve watched a lot of movies during Flumageddon. Wednesday the all-day movies were for them. They were too miserable to do anything else, and I was trying to minimize their interaction with each other anyway.
Thursday they were feeling much better, but the movies were for me to recover from Wednesday.
Though Wednesday was the toughest day, by far my worst moment came on Friday evening. My husband’s fever was gone on Friday morning (as were the girls’). I have always understood the sickness rule to be that after you are fever-free for 24 hours, it’s safe to go back amongst the healthy folks without contaminating anyone. He had assumed the same thing, so I was giddy thinking he would be out and with us on Saturday morning. He offered to let me go to the spa Saturday. I said (texted), “No thank you, but I would like a nap.” I was dreaming of sleeping in my own bed, having another adult to talk to, and having my usual level of support and help with regular stuff around the house and with the girls.
Friday was a pretty darn good day in spite of Flumageddon. We took our lemons and we made lemonade.
We made a fort.
The perfect little spot to read.
We played with PlayDoh.
I was so happy thinking about my husband being with us again on Saturday, I practically floated around the house.
Then he made a rare and brief appearance out of our bedroom (with antiviral mask on, hands clasped behind his back, and the girls safely gated in the family room) to tell me that he had been checking on things and had learned that 24 hours just wasn’t enough time to be considered safe around others with this flu. So he was not going to be released from quarantine on Saturday morning as we had been anticipating.
Kick. In. The. Gut.
I reacted like a big baby. At least at first. I grumbled. I cried.
Then I took a deep breath. I apologized to my hubby for grumbling. And I went and got ice cream (for both of us).
Now hubby is out of our bedroom, but still not going near the girls. It’s so sad to see Sis reach for him and say “I hode!” (hold) or “I hug!” Watching him play with them through our french doors is precious and heartbreaking. I feel so bad for him. He feels like crap and he can’t be around our kids, the best medicine I know of.
Some time tomorrow he will declare himself all-clear and we will (hopefully) get back to normal. He will need to take it easy for a bit to recover from the pneumonia. We will pray that the girls don’t develop it (it can begin after the flu symptoms are gone). Soon we will hopefully go back to interacting normally with the rest of the world (the girls haven’t left the house since last Tuesday).
Okay. So, after all that I’ve learned about the flu and pneumonia in the past couple of days, consider this my Public Service Announcement for the year: The flu is serious stuff. As a general rule, I never get into the vaccination debate here, and know lots of people think the flu vaccine is not effective or necessary. You can check what the CDC has to say about it if you’re so inclined. If you get the flu and you don’t start to feel better in a few days, call or go to the doctor. It’s hard for a non-medical person to know the difference between flu-cough/fever and pneumonia-cough/fever. Don’t assume that it’s “just the flu” and thus “no big deal.”
I don’t want to seem melodramatic, but seeing how sick my husband has been from this flu, when he is not even 40 and very healthy, has freaked me out. Reading about potential flu complications made me remember that the flu is a big deal. So there you have it. PSA complete.
Bonus PSA #2 – In case you ever thought it would be a good idea to allow your toddler to eat as many prunes as she wanted at lunch time? Just, don’t. Sis discovered a serious love for prunes yesterday. And now, just as we’re recovering from Flumageddon, I’m dealing with our very own little Poop-pocalypse. Geez.