I know, it's like enough already with the flippin Swine Flu horror stories. But honestly, I don't know any other reality. The only word that has gone through my head for the last week is flu, FLU, FLU. It is complete survival in this house. And maybe I shouldn't be so cavalier...throwing around the words "swine" and "flu" together like I do. But honestly, who am I trying to impress? And have you looked at my Swine Flu at-a-glance?..what else could it be? The regular seasonal flu hasn't started up yet. And it's not Strep. So, while we were never officially tested, if it looks like an apple, smells like an apple, and tastes like an apple...well- you know.
The ONLY good thing about us all being sick now, is that it no longer matters if you cough into your sleeve. Yes, go ahead and hack all over your hand Shelby, cause we've all got it. And it doesn't matter who is drinking out of whose cup, or who washed their hands...cause it's just one big germ pit.
Thankfully Gavin seems to be doing a bit better. Not sure if it's the Tamiflu, but he is back in the land of the living. I, however, seem to have taken a step back in my progression. Gavin thinks it's the lack of sleep for the last three days. Whatever is the reason, my throat is on fire. It feels like sandpaper is being rubbed against it every time I breathe, and a knife is being stuck in to it every time I cough. It's still dry and unproductive. My breathing is heavier, and more labored. Add to that the complete and utter fatigue, and I am telling you it is AMAZING that the kids lived through the day.
How did I feed them? How did I do laundry? I know..I flippin did laundry! How did I survive with Garrett?..who is the busiest sick kid I know. It is exhausting just thinking about this little sick kid. Everyone is coughing. Everyone is hot. Everyone looks and feels miserable. Dalton is bored out of his mind, and I get annoyed trying to think of the hundredth thing that I can suggest to keep him busy. And his chores don't seem to get done, even though he has all the time in the world. He could go back to school now, but I am being the "considerate citizen" and am keeping him home to put all the school mothers at ease. On top of that, we have a long weekend with Monday off. And you know that kids are not going to be beating down his door for playdates when he's just gotten over the Swine Flu (aka:plague..aka: black rotting death).
Can't swallow...did I mention that?
I am so tired that I can't really feel anything...except the need to survive. Momentarily I have had the thoughts "Good lord, how did anyone do this one hundred years ago?" I remember reading Abigail Adams, and how she had the smallpox vaccine administered to her kids, which was completely new and controversial at the time. They actually brought around some sick kid to the home, in a wagon, who had oozing sores all over his body, and just cut your skin open and spread some of the sick kid's puss around inside the cut, and then: good luck!... CAN YOU IMAGINE? And her daughter got sick from it...got the smallpox. And oh my gosh..it was beyond devastating. She was near death. And here this mother is, wondering if she just killed her daughter..trying to soothe her pain with a damp compress while this only daughter of hers comes in and out of consciousness. And here the little boys are, running around the house, and Abigail still has to tend to them..and the house..and the farm..and it's winter in gosh-awful-desperately-isolated-and-freezing-Braintree, Massachusetts while her husband is off in Philadelphia, or France, or Amsterdam...and I just can NOT believe that that was her reality.
That it could be that much more monumentally hard than it is for me right now. And then I think about the Salt Lake shelter that I just visited last week for a class assignment, The Road Home. And those single mothers who would have to deal with the trauma of a sick child, without any privacy. With cold linoleum floors, lit with the blue buzzing florescent lights, with complete strangers living next to your room, kept up by your crying children, without any place to go for reprieve. The only thing that has made this illness bearable, has been the warm security of our home. The two levels that people can escape to. The multiple bedrooms that sick and well are shuffled between, the fridge that holds mountains of Otter Pops for emergency sugar relief, and the TV that never stops singing it's joyous cartoon songs. To be sick without a house would be devastating.
And then my mind goes to the Mothers who are losing their kids..every second, because they have no clean water and so their kid got diarrhea..and now she's dead. Can you believe that we let that happen every second of every day..on our watch? And these Mothers are completely helpless. Powerless. And every bit the Mother that I am. Every bit as entitled to her child living a full life as mine is. I feel some of that powerlessness right now. I am at the mercy of this microscopic thing that has invaded our bodies. I am completely at it's mercy. But I have this false sense of security in the technology, and doctors, and information that are all at my instant disposal. These other Mothers have nothing. Nothing but the companion of despair. Wishing to some creator that something could be different. That theirs would not be the child that dies today...and yet it happens. While mine will live on. And all because we live where we do.
We are all so fragile. It is absolutely humbling how fragile it all is. I hate this H1N1. I am tired. I am sad that my kids are sick. I am just wondering how anyone with more than three kids even lives to tell about it. And I am amazed that people with chronic pain live to tell about it. In the grand scheme of things, fatigue and a sore throat don't even rank on the scale of human sufferings. And there are a gazillion people who every day weather pain so massive and unbearable that I can not even comprehend it. And I am so healthy that a sore throat brings me to my knees. And now..I am hoping to get some sleep.