Thursday, June 11, 2009

Bright Spots

One of the things I've noticed in these days of Casey and I being sick is that in some ways, life is simpler and easier. Granted, we don't feel great, are sleep-deprived and whatever energy we have is short-lived. And yes, being sick and tired has meant we need to be that much more determined to train the children in kindness and obedience during this time.

But, despite there being an increasing stack of paperwork on the kitchen counter, unfinished projects sitting lonely and untouched in virtually every room, piles of clean laundry here and there around the house, dandelions growing free and unencumbered in the lawn, and other responsibilities piling up, overall, there is the sense of the pressure being off. I thought it may just be me, but yesterday morning, Casey mentioned surprise at his low blood pressure reading (a trip to his doctor today revealed that we are dealing with both viral and bacterial sicknesses that somehow hit us at the same time or one piggybacked on the other--no wonder it is lasting too long--it's two different things). I thought it only made sense for his blood pressure to be low; "We've been sitting around for days," I reminded him.

This last week has been no picnic, and don't get me wrong: I look forward to getting back to real life again, but as challenging as it has been, it has been so good for us. To hone in and focus only on doing true necessities has helped tremendously in the discipline department. There are moments where it takes everything in us to go deal with that situation, yet we realize the priority of doing so, and I hate to admit that this is probably the most consistent we have been in a chunk of time like this. (And we try to be consistent--it's just hard to do. We could always do better with consistency.) And though it is not a great thing, it also encouraged me to see Casey wearing down in his usual patient and calm discipline of the girls toward the end of the week. Perhaps it's not just me--perhaps they can give others a run for their money, too!

So, as much time and energy as it takes to keep up on these things (averaging about one correction/discipline/consequence doled out every 5-10 minutes that they are awake--I'm not kidding--it requires a great deal of stamina and resolve to handle these little ones' shenanigans), since training the children is one of the only things that have made it onto our priority list this week, it is helpful to see that at least the girls know we mean business, even if it hasn't changed their choices.

As to other things, things have been pretty low-key this week and we both feel pretty relaxed about life right now, which is a refreshing break. I don't feel guilty about things that "should" or "could" be done, and Casey doesn't worry that the yard needs mowing, etc.

So, I guess I wanted to write down what a blessing this difficult time has been to our family, and how thankful I am that we've had the experience (and I have to admit, how grateful I am that it HAS to be ending soon . . . right?). It will be good to look back and remember that even in the midst of challenging times, there were bright spots.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

No One Untouched

Tuesday will mark the completion of the third solid week of sickness in our family. Back in mid-May, Ruby contracted what we originally thought was an ear infection, but by the next night, decided it was pain caused by congestion. Thus began our saga with a multi-symptom flu(?) virus that affects weird things like the eyes and the hearing and continues to surprise us in its duration.

Since that May day, the virus claims another family member at the rate of about one every 5 days. Saturday, it claimed its last victim: Casey. Unfortunately, I came down with it only 2 days prior, and only Ruby seems to be completely out of the woods so far.

All of us are dragging considerably. In the past few days, our minimal effort in meal prep has meant lots of tea, yogurt, toast, crackers, Ramen noodles . . . great for improving our health, right? We are seriously on survival mode, and I guess it is a blessing that this virus suppresses the appetite, because when both parents are this sick, meals are only one of the hurdles to get over.

This morning, Casey and I found ourselves sitting on the couch like zombies, blowing our noses, one of the girls' videos playing, all three children playing (or something) at our feet. (Sweet guy; he took the girls downstairs to let me sleep a little longer this morning). Even today, three days after I came down sick, I feel the need for a rest after getting lunch for everyone and emptying the dishwasher. A trip upstairs makes me winded. Casey is recovering from a pulled something in his chest due to . . . um . . . much heaving yesterday. The virus has hit him the hardest in the symptom department. Good times!

As I was succumbing to this sickness on Wednesday night, I thought to myself, "Why now, when I'm finally getting a good routine down, some exercise, seeing some improvement in my house and progress in my attitude with the girls? I'm going to lose all that headway." But by the next day, I began to see what a blessing it was that for those three days, I had made a dent in housework and maintenance (though that may have also been what pushed me over the edge in getting this sickness :). It facilitated Casey taking care of the girls and not going crazy (he likes things clean) while I was sick and has made it to where doing a few dishes several times a day and minimal laundry keeps us not too far behind (it probably helps considerably that we--as in all of us--stay in pjs all day:). Of course, I will admit that at the same time, our home is not exactly "company ready." It works out well, though, that company probably wants to stay as far away from us as possible at this moment!

So, as much as I am a little late in asking this, I was wondering if any readers have tips on ways to survive when both parents are sick at the same time while little children are underfoot. God has been so gracious to us. This rarely happens, and we are thankful that at least we didn't come down with it on the same day. As rare as it is for us both to be out-of-commission at once, it would do us some good to have a game plan on what to do when it happens, as it is sure to happen again. We never were so sick so often until parenthood! And our kids don't even go to preschool, daycare or a church nursery. How do people do it?

Please send me your ideas!