My middle daughter was diagnosed with the flu earlier this week. For those of you lucky enough to have never had it, the flu is awful. It’s highly contagious, if you don’t catch it in time there’s not much you can do except ride it out and try to treat the symptoms, and it makes people want to take a giant step back from you when they hear you have it. In case that wasn’t enough, at the same time my youngest daughter was diagnosed with a bacterial eye infection caused by sinus issues, and my son caught a cold virus. Our home has basically just been a sick ward this week buried under tissues, medicine bottles, thermometers, hand sanitizer and snot-covered stuffed pandas. (That last one may be unique to my house).
As I’ve been running around picking up prescriptions, delivering sippy cups of orange juice and throwing away used tissues before the baby can put them in his mouth, I’ve discovered a few things about kids and illness that I never realized before.
First, you will find out that your kid is sick the day after they have spent lots of time with friends and family. That way you have to be the bad parent that let your germ infested child play with others, so you then have to call each family and apologize for possibly contaminating them with the plague.
Second, all medicines have different dosing instructions with different timing and amounts and frequencies. If you have three sick kids, that basically means that you’re giving medicine to someone ALL THE TIME. This kid gets 5ml of this medicine every four to six hours with food. This kid gets 7.5ml of this medicine twice a day. This kid needs one eye drop per eye three times a day. This kid needs this medicine only for this symptom every six hours. Etc. etc. etc. I’m fairly certain drug manufacturers do this to mess with parents, but I haven’t been able to prove it yet.
Third, a sick child only wants to watch Christmas movies. Ok, maybe that’s only my sick children, but oh my goodness, there is only so much Christmas I can take in February. I’m almost to the point of suggesting that they watch Caillou. Ok, not really, but it’s been close.
Fourth, who invented the concept of the “puke bowl?” I’m sure it was some well-meaning person that didn’t want their kid to have to get up and possibly (hopefully!) make it to the toilet when they needed to throw up, but all I can say is, gross. And the results of a stuffed panda falling in the puke bowl? Not pretty. Not pretty at all.
Fifth, and this is the most ironic, as soon as your kids start feeling better, that’s when you’ll get sick. You’ll have just enough time to wipe everything down with disinfectant and divvy out the last of the orange juice, when you’ll start feeling that tickle at the back of your throat and your eyes will start watering. Get ready my friend, now you’re a sick person taking care of three healthy kids. I’m not quite sure what’s worse, but I am sure I need a raise. And more tissues.