Over the past couple of weeks, I feel like I’ve been pushed to my limits to take care of my sick girls. I’m also become more aware of how I’ve taken comfort for granted.
Back in Phoenix, it was midnight runs to the 24/7 pharmacy for medicine, Gatorade, and saltine crackers for a sick Candyce and Norah. Then sleeping on a cot in the corner of my own bedroom so that I could stay away from the sick ones, but still be close enough to care for them if their stomachs rejected the little food and fluid that they brought down. It was changing out puke buckets and scrubbing toilets.
Here in California, it’s been more vomiting from both Norah and Stella, but the worst has been ear pain. These ear aches are horrible because your child wanders into sleep for just a few moments before they’re jolted back awake by the sharp pain deep within their ear. It’s hours of tears and screams.
Through all of this, it’s interesting how uncomfortable a parent is willing to be in order to make sure their sick child is comfortable enough to fall asleep. I’m sure part if it is because parents love their kids, but it’s a lot more about what does it take to get your own head back on that pillow. A little sacrifice now means more sleep later. I got through the blazing heat of the 65 pounds of blankets that were heaped onto my legs because my stillness meant that Norah could fall deeper into sleep. Later that same night, I fell asleep sitting up in a chair because it soothed Norah’s ear to be upright. There is nothing about falling asleep in a chair that is comfortable.
Finally on Christmas Eve we had a silent night. It was magical to wake up on Christmas morning fully rested. In the few days after Christmas, it was all well.
But Stella has acquired a nasty habit of getting really angry at night. I’ve found that the only thing that calms her down is to walk her around the neighborhood through the dark of the night. It’s bizarre to go from being happily asleep in my own warm bed to getting out onto the street in yesterday’s clothes with a baby on my back, both of us wrapped with a down comforter to keep off the December chill. An hour later, Stella is finally asleep and I’m ready to climb back up the stairs and slide back into a cozy bed.
Even still, sometimes all that attention is not enough. Stella falls asleep for just fifteen minutes and then she’s up again and angry at the world. So for the past two nights, Candyce, Norah, and I relocated in the middle of the night downstairs and all fallen asleep on the couches. At least there we’re away from riot that is Stella.
Last night was round 3/4/5 of sickness was last night. Candyce and Norah got a cold that made it hard for both of them to breathe. I flopped out of bed and explored the closets of the house to find a humidifier. Luckily it worked quite well. I woke early in the morning with a thick coating of dew on top of my pillow and blankets. That’s bizarre. This whole thing has been bizarre. And it doesn’t show any signs of stopping.
Lucky for me this is all happening on vacation. Yeah, it’s not ideal, but at least it’s not interrupting work the next day. I’ve been thinking too about how life has been different without the comforts that I took for granted before these rounds of sickness hit my family. Comfort is good, that’s why we reach for it. But too much comfort makes you a less compassionate person. Inevitably it turns you greedy too. It’s not enough to sleep in a warm bed within the shelter of a home, it has to be a super nice bed within a super nice home in a super nice city.
At this very moment, I feel very lucky just to have 30 minutes of solitude where I can write a blog.
New Year’s Eve —> New Year’s Day was not fun. I took turns taking care of Stella (teething) and Norah (ear ache) until 5:30 in the morning.