We have been in the trenches. Of the dreaded flu virus. We all got shots or the spray. But here we are. Cloroxing, changing sheets, washing our hands while singing "Happy Birthday to You" and cloroxing again. While we have taken turns being sick since basically November, it appears that the flu vaccine has helped us not fall complete victim. We are sick, better 24 hours later (which is wonderful compared to some who are sick for 7-10 days.) But we cannot seem to completely shake the basic symptoms of the various viruses out there. Alternatively, we are ridding ourselves of one virus in time to become infected with another.
We are healthy healthy people. We take vitamins. We eat well. We keep a (mostly) clean house. We exercise quite a bit which I believe there is evidence that our immune systems are bolstered by this. We get our seasonal shots and drink lots of water. Despite this we still fall victim to the communicable diseases floating around out there. All the more reason to stay home when we can during the season of fireplaces and cozy sweaters.
While at home Monday, I did some reading and research on this year's epic flu season. Experts are predicting up to 40,000 people will die this season from flu. FORTY. THOUSAND. I feel like it is everywhere. Every family I know has people getting sick, half of my office has missed work. I'm trying to keep a level head and not just freak out. I guess we can consider it a lesson in control. And reliquinshing it. I cannot control the flu or its impact on my family. I cannot control whether my preschooler will bring home something we cannot seem to shake. I can't control whether the 3 month old shares some drool with another baby and infects us all.
I control what I can. I keep pumping us full of healthy food and water. I keep trying to get us to bed at a reasonable hour. I keep exercising. I keep trying to remember my vitamins, though I seem to do a very mediocre job of that. And I wipe every surface in sight with some sort of disinfectant.
And we wait. We wait out the virus. And we hold our babies when they cry. And we clean up the messes that come with being sick. And we wait. It will be over in a few weeks. The virus will have moved on. How frightening is it to consider the fragility of life? And our precious routines? Everything can fall victim from something you can't see or smell or hear or feel.
It is completely miserable to watch your child be sick. They cling to you, hoping and finding some small comfort in being in your arms. Their eyes glass over and they do not want to play or even eat. I hate it. Scott and I have taken turns staying home with the various little ones when they are sick. And we have taken turns being sick ourselves. I try to take what I can from our together time though. Yesterday I held Eliot while he watched a couple of tv shows. I dozed off while he just languished being in my arms. I tried to cherish that feeling because that sort of phsycial connection seems more magnified and warm when sick. It is very rare that he sits still long enough for me to hold him, especially for 30 minutes.
When I think back in ten years on being a mama to two small little guys, I probably won't remember the sick days. But in their own weird way, sick days come with a wonderful role to play, the role of nurse and supreme comforter. You HAVE to stay home, you HAVE to cuddle, you HAVE to eat warm soup. And while it is awful to be sick, it is wonderful to have someone to share the inevitable with.