It’s been quite some time since our last post. Where have we been? Sick. Since Thanksgiving, there have been only a handful of days that all four members of our family have been healthy. Impetigo, strep, a head-fogging cold with long-lingering coughs, a stomach bug, the quasi-flu (even though we all had flu shots!), another stomach bug…illnesses keep cycling through our house. As soon as one of us gets better, another one of us gets sick. As soon as we all recover from one bug, another invades.
Since our kids hit preschool, our household has been hit by a similar plague every year around this time. A different constellation of ailments each time, but the same debilitating effect. We haven’t figured out how to avoid it. And we haven’t figured out how to deal with it well either. We aggressively disinfect every toy and surface in our home (counters, door handles, light switches, faucets) over and over. We wash or sanitize hands constantly. We wash bedsheets and pillowcases the second someone feels better. We throw out toothbrushes and toothpaste nearly weekly now – after every illness. We relegate the sick person to the guest bedroom. We resort to air hugs and kisses on the top of the head. We conscientiously don’t share food. D loads up on Vitamin C. But none of this seems to make much of a difference (except, perhaps, the vitamin C).
The hardest thing about all of this is not the being sick. (Though let’s be real – that sucks.) The hardest thing is letting go of all the things that don’t happen while we’re hunkered down fighting the germs: regular exercise; a functional social life for us or the kids; uninterrupted sleep; having even a fighting chance of keeping up with work; tidying up anything at all (you should see the piles cluttering our house!); necessary planning and calendaring for the weeks and months ahead; follow-through on things we’d previously planned; responding timely to non-urgent emails and calls; date nights; writing this blog; any semblance of a consistent routine.
Energy depleted from cycling between caretaking and being ill ourselves, our operating mode defaults to sheer survival: if it doesn’t have to happen right now, it gets pushed aside. Since we’re both type-A planners, this is an excruciating way to live.
You’d think five years into this plague, we’d have figured out some way to manage it. Or at least how to survive it without turning into exhausted puddles of dysfunction. Ah, wishful thinking. At least our history shows us that this, too, shall pass. Until it does, wish us luck! (And please don’t take it personally if we don’t respond to your email right away. It truly isn’t you – it’s us!)
Does your family suffer from the annual plague? How do you survive it?