Happy New Year! A new decade! A new year! A chance at new beginnings! Insert party hat emoji, blah de blah blah.
I hope your new year started with a bang! Mine did. A big old bang in the form of a Rocephin shot in the butt! Just a couple of days into this brand, spanking new decade and I was getting spanked in the rear by a nurse practitioner at my local clinic. Or, so it felt like. Rocephin hurts. And, so did my throat. The strep test was positive. I was sent home with a prescription and orders to drink lots of fluids and get plenty of rest. Chill with the get plenty of rest part, Doc. I am a mother. We do not rest.
Besides, I am a carrier of Strep and get it about six times a year. I know Strep. I can do Strep. I own Strep! OK, I’m getting carried away. It does make you feel lousy. It does make you feel like you are swallowing glass every time you try to consume anything. But, hey, maybe that will help me conquer that New Year’s diet that I had no plans on starting yet. I can do this. I always do.
So, I started taking my horse pills right away with hopes to get better soon. Side note: Why do they prescribe Amoxicillin pills the size of a small child when you can’t swallow? I started my meds. Drank the fluids. Fluids in the form of grande peppermint mochas from Starbucks. Peppermint soothes the throat. Right? And, I didn’t sit down one time in the next few days. I felt great again! For about three whole days!
That next Monday, I woke up with a throbbing head, a croupy cough, and I could only breathe out of one nostril in my nose. I hadn’t felt that bad since my pre-kid days when I was young and stupid and hungover. I didn’t want to move. It hurt to move. It hurt to breathe. Was I dying? How could I mom like this?
A trip back to the doctor would prove that I was Flu A positive! As soon as the care provider uttered those dreadful words, my world came crashing down. Flu A? Flu A? What does the A stand for anyway? Absolutely Awful Ass-kicking? It had to. I had never felt this bad.
This time the doctor’s orders were to drink plenty of NON-caffeinated fluids. Fluids in the form of H20. She obviously doesn’t know me and my caffeine addiction. She said that I wasn’t to leave the house for four days. And, she said to really and truly get plenty of rest this time. And, honestly, it was all I wanted to do. Become one with my bed. But, again … I am a mommy. How does one rest when they are a MOMMY?
However, with the gentle coaxing from my husband in the form of “Go to bed, don’t get your germs on us!”, I retreated to my King size bed. All the while worrying that the entire house would explode and the world would stop spinning because I was too germy and sick to coordinate the chaos. I learned a lot that week.
Here are some of the lessons that I learned in the form of Influenza A.
ONE: GET YOUR FLU SHOT.
I say this in bold, shouty letters because I believe it. Had I gotten mine this year, I may have still contracted the flu, but the symptoms probably wouldn’t have lasted as long or been as severe. I usually get a flu shot. I make dang sure that my kids get their flu shot. So, what happened this year that I thought I was invincible and wouldn’t get it? Stupidity on my part. I thought I didn’t have time to make that appointment to get injected. You know what I REALLY didn’t have time for? Four days out because I was miserable and couldn’t do much of anything. I learned the hard way. GET YOUR FLU SHOT.
TWO: Wash your hands.
Wash your hands. Wash your clothes. Wash your undies. Wash your toes. I am somewhat of a germaphobe and have endless supplies of antibacterial sanitizer with me at all times. I wash my hands like it’s going out of style. However, maybe I should have washed them 301 times the day I contracted the Flu bug instead of just 300. Then, perhaps I wouldn’t have felt so dreadful for 1,097 days. You just never know. And, you can never wash your hands too much.
THREE: Listen to your health care provider.
When you just might know a thing or two doctor tells you to stay home, get some rest, drink plenty of fluids when you have Strep, maybe take at least some of that into consideration. Maybe don’t go your usual 3000miles per hour way of life and slow it down to at least 1500 miles per hour. Perhaps don’t consume grande peppermint mochas from Starbucks because “Peppermint soothes the throat.” Maybe if you stay home and actually take it easy, you won’t be so run down, and perhaps you won’t get infected with something worse.
FOUR: The house, the husband, the kids, the world will not fall apart without you.
See, I kinda thought it would. I guess I flattered myself a little too much on that end. I am usually the captain of this crazy household, and I shuddered to think what would happen if I wasn’t there to control the crazy. Us mamas do that. Mom guilt takes over and makes us believe that we have to do it all. We can’t say no. We can’t take a breather. Ever. Or the world as we know it just might crumble to the ground. Do you know that I have been sick lots of times since becoming a mommy? Do you know that I have never, ever taken the doctor’s orders and gone home and gotten “plenty of rest”? Nope, I always went back and picked up the house, did the laundry, made lunches, put the kids to bed, and planned all the activities for the day ahead. It wasn’t until I was forced to rest because I didn’t want my kids or husband to get infected, nor did I feel like moving that I realized, “Hey, it’s OK to take a breather every now and then.” My husband wants to help. Let him help.
FIVE: My husband is a superhero.
Is there anything sexier than a man who is willing to clean the house, wipe the butts, cook the meals, vacuum the living room, shuttle the kids, do the hairs, dry the tears, dry the dishes, and so much more? I’ll be the first to tell you …No, there is not. There is nothing sexier than a man who is ready and willing to take on the role of chaos coordinator, expecting nothing in return. I may have been flattering myself to think that he and the tiny humans would not be able to survive without me. I thought the kids would be sent to school with unmatched clothes and ratty hair. I felt that all of their meals would consist of pizza bites and corn dogs. I thought that the world outside of my bedroom would look like a bomb went off and every man for himself. I thought wrong. Not only did my amazing husband conquer getting the kids to all the places on time, but he also made sure that they were clean and well-fed. AND, the most surprising part? He kept a clean house while doing it. You know how hard that is! AND, the even bigger catch….. He ran a business all at the same time. Ahhhhhh, I’m beyond thankful and a little frustrated at the same time for making my job look so easy. I’m gonna have to up my game.
SIX: Binging on reality tv ain’t all it’s cracked up to be.
Man, I love my programs. When I’m having a rough day with the kids, I find solace in knowing that at the end of the day, when these cute little monsters finally go o sleep, I can turn off Disney Jr. and turn on the Bravo. I get jealous when I see people online crowdsourcing for their next binge-worthy show. I think to myself, wow, what that must be like….. To binge-watch and not worry about a thing. The only thing I have binge-watched since having kids is the Paw Patrol marathons you can catch every now and then on Nick Jr. But, to binge-watch my fave shows? Unheard of! To actually get caught up on all the jillions of shows saved up on my DVR?
Kinda sounded like a dream come true. Until it wasn’t. I couldn’t do much else after being quarantined to my bedroom, so I thought it to be the chance to clean out the old’ DVR. And, I was so behind on the Real Housewives that I probably had enough shows saved up to get me to the end of this dreadful flu. This was my chance! I was all in! Until about three episodes and my head hurt from listening to all the catfights, and I had a sudden urge to call up my girlfriends and organize a trip for all of us to take a private jet to a five day trip to Mexico. And, then I realized that if I felt Mom Guilt over being in bed recovering from the Flu, I’d DEFINITELY feel the guilt of going on a girl’s vacay with all the friends that I don’t have. Maybe it was time to turn off the tv.
SEVEN: I can go four days without washing my hair until it becomes greasy.
I usually am every other day hair washer. Every third day at the most. But, if the flu taught me anything, it was to only get out of bed when I absolutely had to. After all, it hurt. Every bone in my body HURT. Taking a shower was unthinkable. Therefore, hair washing, leg shaving, face cleaning…. It just wasn’t in the cards. I was gross, I was dirty, I looked like a cavewoman. And my husband didn’t leave me! Although, he did start coming around more once I finally showered.
EIGHT: The laundry will still be there when you recover.
Piles of it. I was worried about not getting the laundry done, I knew it was already adding up when I was diagnosed with the awful Flu curse. And, every day that I was bedridden was another day that my family’s underwear drawers were dwindling. I NEEDED to get up and wash the clothes, the towels, the unmentionables! But that’s the thing about laundry. She’s always there. She’s the faithful friend that won’t give up on you, and she’ll be there when you are ready to hang out again. She was there for me. And, she still is. I say this as I hear the dryer buzzing at me that my sheets are ready to be folded. I laugh at that because who REALLY knows how to fold sheets anyway?
NINE: It’s possible to miss those you love even when they are one room away.
Because of all the germs and how contagious Flu A can be, I was literally quarantined from my family. I would feel AWFUL if my kids or husband felt this awful because of my doing. So, this time I listened to the doctor AND my husband and stayed away. It was one of the hardest things I’ve had to conquer. Listening to my two-year-old cry for his mama, and I couldn’t be there to pick him up and make it better, was brutal. Not being able to squeeze my adorable four-year-old and smother him with kisses every time he said something cute just about ate me alive. And, not being ready to snuggle my six-year-old when she’d tell me she loved me and blew me kisses was heartbreaking. They needed their mama. And I needed them even more. They were one room away, and I missed them dearly. I couldn’t wait to be able to love them and squeeze them and smother them with kisses! I also couldn’t wait to be able to resume my position as a chaos coordinator. And, I know my husband was even more ready.
Now that I am well and healthy and have taken back my title as captain of the crazy… I find myself dreaming of a day where I can lay in bed because I HAVE to and get eight hours of uninterrupted sleep and drink all the fluids and watch all of the TVs. My DVR is back to 99.9% full, by the way. Funny, how that works out, But, maybe from now on I will take a much-needed break in the form of a night off when I genuinely need it. Next time I won’t have to contract the flu to make it happen. Next time I have learned to let myself just take a break. And, that is a lesson that I am still working on. But, without testing positive for the flu, that is a lesson that I am positive I would have never learned.
Mama, do you need a break? It’s OK! Let yourself take a night (or two or three) off. You deserve it. They will survive. Mine did.