Being sick is never my idea of "fun." Sure, it's nice to have a legitimate reason to stay in bed and rest, but when your whole family is sick no one, and I mean no one, is resting. Right now, unfortunately, it seems like the flu is just about everywhere. It actually just ran its course through my family, so I can tell you what every mom thinks when their entire family comes down with the flu without breaking a damn sweat. Well, you know, except for the sweat caused by a fever and chills.
There's having a cold, and then there's having the flu. When you have a cold, you groan and complain a bit, and then you blow your nose and move on. You might, maybe, enjoy one "day off" where you lay in bed and catch up on Shameless or whatever your chosen binge-worthy show is, but then you're back in business. With the flu, however, every single symptom, and how you react to them, is more intense. There’s high fevers and chills and shakes, body aches and sore throats and headaches. There's nausea and vomiting and diarrhea, doctor's visits and a lot of sleep and over-the-counter medications. You lose your appetite, and, eventually, you start to lose your will to live.
I’m on Day 13 of the flu over here and I can say, without a shadow of a damn doubt, that it’s evil and soul-sucking and it takes forever to go away . As a result, at least in my experience, you start to question everything. Yes, I mean everything. Have I ever experienced something like this before? Will I ever not be suffering from the flu ever again? What in the hell did I ever do to deserve this? You get the idea. And if you, like me, are enduring the flu while taking care of your sick family, you're probably thinking the following things, too:
"How The Hell Are We Going To Get Supplies?"
Of course you totally forgot to stock up on soups and crackers and other flu-friendly foods before winter hit. I mean, duh. And as a result of your absent mindedness, at least one adult in your home has to go out and get supplies. But how do you decide who has to bite the bullet? Draw straws?
Of course, if you’re lucky and live in a city, you’ve also got the option of ordering your groceries online and can wait for a speedy delivery. Ah, the power of technology.
"When Was The Last Time I Took Medication?"
Even the most diligent note taker can forget o write down their last dose of ibuprofen. It can be frustrating once you’re on about Day Four or so, and you can’t seem to recall what you did five seconds ago. Unfortunately, when in doubt, all you can do is wait until it’s safe to take the next dose.
"Did I Accidentally Give My Kid The Wrong Medication?"
This is even scarier, of course. My partner and I had to alternate my son on ibuprofen and acetaminophen round the clock for days. Sometimes, I’d give him a medicine and then struggle to recall if I really did give him the right one. I always did, but that paranoid thought was forever in the back of my mind.
"Why Is It So Damn Hard To Get Kids To Blow Their Nose?"
If you have a young child, chances are you know the struggle that is getting them to blow their nose properly. My son had this skill down last time he was sick, but this time it seems he’s completely forgotten. Don’t ask me how.
And while we're on the subject, why is it so hard to get kids to cough into their sleeves?!
"What If The Doctor Is Wrong?"
Look, I trust doctors and all, but I also know they’re human. And when I feel like complete and utter death, I fear that they may have missed something while they examined me (or my kid, or my partner). I just know if anyone’s going to get plague, it’s probably going to be me. I'm just lucky that way, I guess.
"When Was The Last Time Anyone Cleaned That Toilet?"
Most illnesses come with a bout of nausea. And with every bout of nausea comes the stark realization that you probably haven’t cleaned out your toilet (or bathroom floor) in, well, a while. Once your face is giving you and up close and personal look at your disgusting toilet, there's no denying the fact that you need to step up your cleaning game.
"Can A Kid Choke On Vomit?"
Flus tend to be accompanied by obnoxious coughing fits. These fits tend to occur as we sleep. This can be terrifying, especially when you think about your little one coughing and being unable to roll themselves over (for whatever reason). Damn right I brought my kid to sleep next to me the entire time we were battling the flu.
"Should We Go To The Hospital?"
Should we, or shouldn’t we? This question always pops up whenever my family falls ill. More often than not, we're usually OK waiting for the doctor. But if things don’t seem right, it’s always best to err on the side of caution, in my opinion. After all, that's what hospitals are for.
"What If A Hospital Visit Makes Things Worse?"
Going to the hospital brings its own set of risks, though, namely that you might catch something worse while you’re there. I’m fairly certain we caught this flu when we took our kid to urgent care for pink eye. Then again, I could be totally wrong. Still, it's best to put on one of those masks soon as you enter the hospital waiting room and wash your hands up to your elbows constantly.
"We Really Need To Boost Our Immune Systems"
You ever sit in your own flu-made hell, wondering how in the world this happened to you? Do you ever see your friend talk about how they made it through the flu in only four days, while you're on day number 10? If you have, then you've also probably wondered how you can boost your immune system so you can make sure this never, ever, happens again. (Seriously, I’m sipping echinacea tea as I type for this very reason.)
"I Need To Disinfect My Entire Life"
After a few days, you might start to view every door knob with disgust, every toilet with disdain, and every surface as nothing more than a hotbed of germs and bacteria. You’re still too sick to do much cleaning, to be sure, but you silently swear that as soon as you have the energy you're going to disinfect every part of your life.
"When Is This Going To End?"
You’ll ask yourself this question, repeatedly, every single day, multiple times a day, until the day you're no longer battling the flu. You’ll Google how long it should take. You’ll post to forums asking when you might expect relief. None of the answers will make you feel any better.
"What If We Lose Our Jobs?"
For many of us, missing a day of work means losing a substantial portion of our income. That’s hard for those who live check to check, or who run out of paid sick days.
Currently, there are no federal requirements for paid sick days, which means it's up to employers. For numerous Americans, getting sick doesn't just mean battling an illness, it means battling lost wages, dwindling bank accounts, and the inability to feed their families.
Check out Romper's new video series, Bearing The Motherload, where disagreeing parents from different sides of an issue sit down with a mediator and talk about how to support (and not judge) each other’s parenting perspectives. New episodes air Mondays on Facebook.