A Slave to Sickness

IMG_0733So, it turns out my kids can even fight about being sick.

“I have the highest temperature!”

“Your throat doesn’t hurt as bad as mine does.”

“You’re just pretending because you don’t want to go to school!”

“I get more medicine than you do.”

I have tried to play this to my advantage.

“Your sister didn’t cry when I asked her to take Mucinex!”

“For God’s sake, why can’t you just blow your nose like your brother.”

“Your brothers say the throat swab didn’t hurt!”

They have also used sickness for an excuse to be even bigger slobs than they already are. It started with Little Lady, who ran a fever from Saturday night until Wednesday. The first full day of fever she had a tissue fest. She burned through three boxes, which she left in mounds beside her, without once blowing her nose. One wipe, one tissue.IMG_0730

The second day of her fever brought such delirium that I didn’t even care that she used up another box of tissues that she, again, emptied next to her on the couch, I just wanted her to sit up and take a sip of water.

By the third day, we were five boxes of tissues in and she was still feverish, but, at least, ready for soup with crackers, except not that many crackers made it into the soup, as I found out when I walked in on her crumbling crackers in her hand and scattering them all around her. “What? It’s fun,” she said as I scowled. I’ll blame it on the fever.

About this time, First Son decided to get into the game and started running a fever, too, because, hey, why not. Not only is he a serial nose blower who also cannot find the trash can, he had a sore throat, too, which meant he had to indulge in a constant stream of cough drops, with the only good place for the wrapper being the floor.

Second Son, feeling like he was totally being left out of the Minecraft/Halo marathon that was going on in the house and jonesing something serious for a popsicle, decided it would be a great time to also run a fever, take over the downstairs couch, and go to the nether world (it’s a Minecraft thing).

His sloppiness is similar to his siblings except that there are no tissues because he refuses to blow his nose. Instead, he graces us with his non-stop sniffing which is enough to drive anyone absolutely bat shit crazy. As for his mess, eating a bowl of popcorn? Leave it on the couch, where I’m only letting them eat because they are sick. Sick of being surrounded by couch cushions? Throw them on the floor. Cold? Wrap yourself in a blanket that drags behind you and sweeps everything over and out of the way.

Then, there’s the sloppiness that comes when multiple kids are sick. Three different medicine dosing cups for Advil, Mucinex, Tylenol and allergy medicine. Three different dosing cups for antibiotics. Counters that have been touched by fingers that have been in noses. Refrigerator handles pulled by hands that have been used to cover a cough. Toilet seats that are always gross. Humidifiers to be cleaned. Sheets to be laundered. Toothbrushes to be sanitized. Blankets to be washed. Remotes, game controllers, iPods, iPads, computer keyboards….

I’ve become a slave to my kids and their sickness.

I’ve learned something about myself, this past week. While I’ve got a few good days in me of being a selfless caretaker, my patience starts to run thin as the amount of children I need to take care of increases. A visit to the doctor’s office, five days into all this crap, where I was sitting with three sick, but not so sick that we can’t mess with each other, kids, was almost my breaking point. The doctors office that tried, for the second time this week, to keep me from coming in, pushing me to provide at home care for my children. The same office where two of my three children, and not the one with the highest fever, tested positive for strep. The same office where I was informed that my children could not return to school for the rest of this week, and where my son, I think a little too cheerfully considering the circumstances, announced that they had a long weekend because they do not have school on Monday. What? Weren’t we just off for winter break? I’ve completely lost track of time.

Now, I am at the point where if my son comes to me one more time to tell me how much his throat hurts, I might just lock myself in the bathroom with my laptop and go to my own nether world. It’s not that I can’t sympathize, because I can, but there’s nothing I can do, and not much he wants to do for himself. He’s on antibiotics, he doesn’t like the popsicles, he won’t eat soup, doesn’t like tea, won’t sip ice water, and there’s only so much motrin and Tylenol I can give him.

Here’s hoping next week is better.


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