It started so innocently, as it always does.
“Nose running!” Natalie declared. Shrug. Having a runny nose is practically her constant state of being since she started daycare.
I knew she wasn’t feeling like herself since she deigned to sit in my lap during reading time, rather than making me sit in the corner and try to read out loud from across the room.
She started coughing overnight, a deep, hacking cough that left her grabbing her throat in pain. Since it was Friday, and not a daycare day, I figured we’d keep an eye on it over the weekend. Of course she’d be fine for school on Tuesday!
Will left last Saturday for a 5-day trip to Las Vegas for a work conference (woe is him, amiright?). I was fine, Olivia was fine, and Natalie just had a cold. I’d already talked to my mom and my sister and arranged help for some key strategic points throughout the week, like bathtimes and bedtimes. And breakfasts. And dinners. And getting dressed. And grocery shopping. And PLS HALP CAN’T DO THIS ALONE *cue wild panic flappy arms*
I woke up feeling fine on Sunday, but had a bit of a tickle in my throat by the end of the day. On Monday I was coughing, too, and feeling a bit run down. Stupid cold.
NOSE RUNNING!, Natalie constantly reminded me, as we plowed through a box of tissues. She continued her bellowing cough, spraying pestilence particles on everything within a 5-foot radius as I washed my hands over and over and tried to stop her from coughing directly on her sister.
Woe is me, for I do not know how much longer I can go on, I shall surely perish — OMG PHONE!
On Tuesday the mucus hit the fan.
I woke up with a fever, shivering under a fluffy comforter while wearing fleece pants, socks, and a sweatshirt. I ached everywhere, and every cough sliced through my throat like glass shards.
I texted my mom in the pre-dawn hours and asked if there was any way she could take time off work to bring my sad self to the CVS Minute Clinic, because I needed some Tamiflu, STAT, and there was no way I could drive myself, let alone safely buckle everyone into their carseats and manage our diseased traveling circus alone.
She arrived shortly after breakfast, and by “breakfast” I mean that I tossed some blueberries at Natalie and let her eat them on the couch while watching YouTube videos on my phone.
We got to the Minute Clinic mere minutes too late to be the first in line. I balefully watched the lady ahead of me from behind my plague mask, coughing and sniffling and hoping that somehow I looked pathetic enough for her to offer me her spot.
No luck. We waited an hour to be seen while my saint of a mother followed Patient Zero around the store and stopped her from shoplifting lollypops.
And then, in the cruelest move ever, the nurse WOULDN’T GIVE ME TAMIFLU. “You’re breastfeeding; better not risk it.” I shake my tiny, sickly fist of fury at you, CVS Nurse. I am most definitely not a doctor but I’d googled Tamiflu that morning, and the consensus is that it’s most likely ok, as long as your baby is over two months old. I tried to wheedle her into writing me a prescription, but no dice.
“You can gargle with salt water,” she said.
Sympathetically, I might add. She wasn’t heartless, just in the “you can never be too careful when pregnant or breastfeeding” camp.
(I take some issues with that. This book, affiliate link, is a really great read for more information.)
So I left with no prescription, no drugs, not even anything OTC except Advil. Just instructions to take hot showers, use my neti pot, and gargle with salt water. Which is almost exactly the same as dayquil, except you can’t function and feel like crap.
Natalie was very sympathetic. Clearly.
The long story short (ish) is that we all survived. Will came back late last Wednesday night and stayed home from work on Thursday to take care of the girls while I curled up in a fetal position on the couch and hacked my lungs out.
A week later Natalie and I are still coughing, but she’s been well enough to go to daycare this week (HALLELUJAH!). Olivia is still a little congested, but so far it really hasn’t affected her sleep at all, knock on wood.
I used to scoff at all the Facebook memes about moms never being able to take time off, not getting sick days, etc. Um, suck it up, you CHOSE to be a parent, remember? *gets on high horse and gallops off into the sunset*
I’ve since come to the conclusion that being sick with small children in your house is basically the worst thing ever. If my pre-kid self had known what sick days would look like as a mom, I would’ve seriously reconsidered this whole reproduction business (kidding) (mostly).
Pre-kid sick days: Take Nyquil at 9 a.m. because you want to feel nothing and you can get away with it. Sleep for most of the day while a Law and Order: SVU marathon is playing in the background. Shuffle back and forth between couch and kitchen every once in a while for some soup. Take more Nyquil at 8 p.m. and go to bed.
But with a baby and a toddler in the house, there’s no rest for the weary. You must drag yourself off death’s doorstep to take care of them, because they just keep right on eating and pooping and trying to ride laundry baskets down the stairs. How thoughtless of them.
If you’re lucky your mom will swoop in and save the day.
Which just goes to show you that sick kids are the worst. Even when your kids are thirty years old.