Monday, March 2, 2009

House of Pain

Well, I finally got sick. After Jeff died (and even before) I wondered what I would do if I got sick. Who would take care of the kids? Who would take care of me? How would anything get done around the house? Now I know . . .

First, I have to forewarn you that my illness was entirely minor and survivable. However, that will not prevent me from exploiting it for your entertainment. So, here we go:

Over the past couple of weeks, the kids have all had varying degrees of one illness or another: Aubrey had a three-day long fever of nearly 104 degrees; Regan complained of a sore throat; Jack had a stuffy nose and felt worn out; and Finn developed a very angry-looking rash on only one half of his body. If you recall, during Jeff's illness, I obtained what I like to call my "internet medical degree" by virtue of incessantly studying webMD, the American Cancer Society web site, various Yahoo message boards, (you get the picture . . .). So, given my vast--yet famously ill-informed--expertise, I variously diagnosed the kids with (among other things) meningitis, shingles, and lymphoma.

Now, before you think I've seriously gone off the deep end, I'd like to defend my hypochondria. Jeff found an otherwise unremarkable and entirely asymptomatic lump smaller than a pea on his chest. However, that little bump heralded a widely metastasized and extremely aggressive cancer that killed him less than two years later. So, forgive me if I get a little excited about a rash or high fever.

Now, while the kids recovered from what I can only legitimately assume was a cold or flu, I was suddenly overcome with severe and unrelenting pain on Wednesday. It was so bad that I stayed home from work and slept all day. I returned to work on Thursday--still suffering from widespread body aches and a headache. By Thursday night it hurt so bad I couldn't sleep and considered taking myself to the emergency room. I was convinced that a "normal" cold or flu could not possibly produce such pain and I was becoming increasingly tempted to diagnose myself with cancer or some similarly heinous pain-producer.

[Now, as an aside and in an attempt to put my pain in the proper perspective, I have to inform you that I have an uncommonly high pain threshold. (My threshold for discomfort is proportionately low, but that's another story--I've often thought it would be easier for me to walk a mile with a nail in my foot than to walk around the block with a rock in my shoe . . .) But anyway--to illustrate my pain tolerance I'll share a quick anecdote. When I was pregnant with Aubrey I was five days overdue and was looking for any excuse to have the baby. I had been experiencing mild pinchy cramps throughout the day, but my OB-gyn had assured me there would be no mistaking "real" labor pains. So, I went about my day and by the middle of the night, they were strong enough that I suggested to Jeff we should go the hospital just to see if I was in the early stages of labor. We almost didn't take my bag because I was confident I would be checked and sent home to wait. When we arrived at the hospital I was dilated to 9 cm!! They didn't even stand me up. They just wheeled me into the delivery room and told me to push. So, having a high pain tolerance is not necessarily a good thing (I would have had Aubrey in our living room if I'd waited any longer)].

So--the pain I had this week was intense. I was taking a ton of ibuprofen (it did nothing), I slept as much as I could (it didn't help) and was beginning to get frustrated. I missed most of work on Friday; I laid in bed all day on Saturday and then just as mysteriously as it began--it ceased. I woke up Sunday and felt fine. Now in the meantime, while I was lying in bed and sleeping, the kids were running the house. It was like a scene from Lord of the Flies, but they tried hard to help me. Regan and Jack entertained Finn and all of them pitched in to help make lunches and clean up. Thank God for Aubrey--she really took one for the team. She at least made sure everyone was fed and put to bed at a reasonable time. I took her shopping on Sunday for a new spring jacket as a "Thank You" for all her help.

So, what's the point of all this--probably nothing as far as you're concerned. But to me--it will be nice to re-read this blog in the future and be reminded that my kids are very independent and resilient and best of all--I will be reminded that even when I can't take care of them--they will take care of each other.

Nighty Night!

P.S. The other big news at our house this week is that Jack lost another tooth! (One of the top, front teeth, so he now has a very distinguished smile). The bad news is that the tooth fairy either forgot to come for two whole nights (which you'll agree is unlikely) or was sidelined by the Fairy Flu and couldn't make her scheduled rounds on time (entirely plausible). Needless to say, when she did come, she paid a premium for that tooth. All's well that ends well.


Laura Gilbert said...

Kelly -- I remember your living room back when you were pregnant with Aubrey -- thank GOD she wasn't born in student housing! Thank you for all of your posts; I know Jeff was the writer but I think you may have missed your calling (or should develop a side business). Best, Laura

PJ said...

God Bless the children. God bless having sweet daughters first! Don't be afraid to call if you ever want a second opinion on any of your diagnoses (particulary of the kids)! Peace and love as always. PJ and Julie Whalen

mka said...

I'm the mom who took John to the doctor because he had a lump in the middle of his chest, (which I was sure must be a tumor), only to find out that it was his sternum. We all do crazy things and worry about our kids. And in a way the internet makes it worse. But I have also read where the internet helps. My theory was when in doubt go to the doctor. Better to be told you're a overly worried mom than to have something serious actually be wrong. Love, Mom

Katie Clancy said...

Hi Kelly, hope you're well now! I am just catching up on my blog reading. We're all doing fine... hope to talk soon. I saw the confidential mention of John's birth on the 6th. You're free to announce! Love ya all

Terri said...

Glad to know that I am not the only freak in our family that gets bent out of shape over a fever and thinks the worst possible situation. Due to our weird past year when I took Nolan in for a cough our Dr. knowing our history checked NOlan for TB and for lymphoma, so as you could tell my kid was getting actually checked for these things like it could be a possibility and I was FREAKING OUT!! But he just had Bronchitis so it is all good.