Six days ago, my daughter fell ill and was diagnosed with Influenza A. The rest of the family followed her lead into the harrowing influenza pit, soon after. It got real ugly, fast. We have been stuck inside our house miserably sick, sad, and just plain pissy. That’s what happens when you feel like crud and there’s no choice but to cancel all the festivities and traditions that connect you with the love and joy and wonder of the season- you get plain pissy. Merry and Bright shifts to a feverish plight.
We have all survived the worst of it, but now we are well enough to quibble and protest this unfair fallout of the beast that hit us hard. Besides the unbridled horror of having an asthmatic kid with the flu, we had the pleasure of having a visit from a medic to check on my husband who passed out and fell to the ground in front of my kids, who then called 911. (Kudos to kids for responding responsibly, yes?) I was in bed upstairs, lying comatose with an unexpected eruption of my gut heaving into a bowl during the unfolding crisis downstairs, unaware that anything happened. When my hurling ended, I heard a strange man’s voice in the house.
This was enough to get my wobbly knees to lock up and lift me out of bed and get me through the bedroom door to the top of the stairs, whispering a faint “Hello?” I stood there with my eyes squinting to focus down the staircase, like I came out of a dark cave into the bright sunlight, while my greasy hair stuck to my sweat-drenched head. I was wearing a flimsy old t-shirt and underwear, both arms still hugging my puke bowl tight.
Quite the sight.
The medic (who turned out to be our dear neighbor who saw the call and came himself) walked upstairs to check on me after he confirmed my husband passed out from dehydration. After a few questions about my condition, he stated his professional assessment of the situation:
The whole house was in bad shape.
“Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas…”
We should be with our beloved family who came into town for these precious few days to celebrate Christmas early- but instead we are holed up in here trying to get better before their quick departure, fearing we will miss this annual visit completely.
Apparently, you can’t hurry the flu. The flu owns you. You are not the boss of it. You can fight like hell against it, but you will always lose. Tamiflu is the weapon of choice, and it helps- but it does not conquer. Only time, rest, fluids, sleep, homemade chicken noodle soup, and more time will win the war.
So we wait. Rest. Gulp down our fluids and thank God for sweet souls who make us homemade soup.
“Let your heart be light. From now on your troubles will be out of sight.”
Sometimes, we are at our ugliest, hissing and clawing like angry cats. I blame most of this on the kids. Ah, the siblings are such dears. Other times, we are one big snuggly sick happy unified family, holding onto each other, rubbing backs, giggling, sharing blankets and couch cushions, while watching “Elf”. There’s an ebb and flow to this gig. I know it well. And I will always like the flow better than the ebb. No surprise there, right?
But we know how this will pan out. We will all make it. We always do. This isn’t our first rodeo. Anyone with kids, knows life is one big roll of the dice… and you win some and lose some when it comes to cold and flu season. It may take weeks before we can get our asthmatic girl breathing right, so the doctor warns, but that’s just an unfortunate stubborn bull we didn’t chose to ride. But we’ll manage. This isn’t our first asthmatic rodeo either. We’re pros at this gig now. It never gets easier, listening to her cough. And each new doctor we see confirms the severity of her case. This just makes her all the more miraculous, in my opinion. And I still yelled at her to pick up her plates, socks, cups, and tissues all day today- so we keep it real over here.
“Make the yule-tide gay. From now on your troubles will be miles away…”
I’ve already begun the sanitizing process, in my *starting to feel a bit more human daze*. This looks much like what you’d guess it would. EVERYTHING into the washer or dishwasher. Lysol wipes will be covering every inch of this place, and the spray will hit those places the wipes cannot. Fumigation will eradicate any chances of this monster infecting any guest who dares to enter our household, upon our future proclamation of full restored health. But not one minute too soon. This isn’t something to mess around with, THAT I know. I salute Influenza A with a majestic clip of my heels and full upright stance.
“Here we are as in olden days
Happy golden days of yore
Faithful friends who are dear to us
Gather near to us once more”
And I promise all, that the cookies we baked when the flu took hold, will NOT be given to our friends and neighbors this year. We will forfeit that loss. Even our best batch…
Gulp. Gulp. Gulp.
“Merry and Bright” it will be. Just maybe not in perfect time. Timing isn’t always perfect. Time often falls short, or lasts too long. Time’s a tricky tick tock on the clock, am I right?
But here’s the thing. We have so much to be grateful for in our lives. This small drop on our timeline doesn’t dismiss any of those things, nor will it fog up our windows to see the world clearly. This world, it’s full of so much devastation, lasting affliction, horrific conditions, souls suffering in so many places…
We have much to pray for this Christmas.
And in our little corner of the world, well, we are utterly blessed. Our family, our friends, our community and all the incredible people we share life with- Each one takes their valuable place in our big picture perspective and we thank God for the abundance He has poured onto us. Whether or not we get to be with all our people in every gathering planned- they still shine brightly in our lives and in our hearts, and we are so very thankful for them and the opportunity to do life with them.
“Through the years we all will be together, if the fates allow
Hang a shining star above the highest bough.”
So to all of those near and far, who have blessed my family and I in so many different ways…
THANK YOU for being such an important part of our lives. Each one of you matters to us. Each one of you we hold dear and count as a blessing.
“And have yourself A Merry Little Christmas Now.”
(One of my many favorite Christmas songs.)