Sick Days

3 Feb

One of my favorite things about city life was the ability to walk out my door and be in the middle of something.  I loved my bustling neighborhood in Paris, and my eclectic neighborhood in Brooklyn.  I loved being able to walk down the street for a greasy spoon breakfast or coffee and almond croissants from my favorite Italian bakery.  I loved running into friends on the street or having a spontaneous conversation with a neighbor.  These days when I walk out the door, I am likely to find myself in the middle of a flock of chickens. If I want some non-familial human interaction, I have to get in the car and go somewhere.  The question, then, becomes where to go…  My own social hubs have been our local community center, library and pizza joint/bar, yoga classes and my kids’ extra-curricular activities. We occasionally get together with friends and all that, but I wind up spending a lot of time on the farm, alone with my kids.

Semi-rural/exurban life has its upsides (green space, privacy…).  But for me, foremost among the downsides is the sense of isolation.   And when your kids are sick, that isolation is multiplied by like a zillion. This winter has been rough on my (usually) immune-enhanced family. (I’m convinced the unnaturally warm weather we’ve been having has unleashed microbes with a vengeance.) This week in particular has been a bitch. One kid started out with a stomach bug and the other with pink eye (probably the two grossest minor illnesses around).  Then, of course, they switched.  It’s been like a sea of vomit around here: vomit in their hair, vomit between the floorboards of our creaky farmhouse.  The washer has been running non-stop.  But pink eye is worse in some ways. Those hydrochloric acid eye drops are like torture. It’s like I’m waterboarding them or something….

So it’s been a lonely and grueling week. My self-employed husband, who generally spends at least one day a week working from home and often comes home for lunch when he’s on the job, has been uncharacteristically scarce this week. I’ve had to cancel a playdate and skip a bunch of activities.  I’m kind of a planner, and it drives me nuts when there’s a change in schedule. I also have a problem with paying for stuff in advance and not getting to do it. I have, of course, been relying heavily on social media (Pinterest–fascinating, somewhat addictive, a little scary…), and lots of coffee and sugar. I also happen to be in the midst of my annual Russian readathon (Brothers Karamazov this year) and have gotten on the email list for a thoughtful Christian self-help blogger so am immersed in the themes of suffering and sacrifice (you know, to go with the vomit).

Anyway, my hand washing fixation has turned into a full-blown obsession, and somehow, miraculously, I have managed to stay clear. But I keep telling myself it’s only a matter of time and have been avoiding foods I think would be particularly unpleasant coming back up. I’m trying to look on the bright side: we have indoor plumbing and a functioning washer and dryer. There have been plenty of trying moments, but some fun was had.  And we seem to have turned the corner in time for the weekend. Although I’m  not sure why it didn’t occur to me til day three to take a shower…hmmm…


One Response to “Sick Days”

  1. Melissa Simpson February 14, 2012 at 11:55 pm #

    My classroom sounds like a TB ward. I blame it on all of the up/down temperatures. I hear you on the vomit. I’ve been know to lay a sick child on blankets on the kitchen floor in the hopes of saving the carpet:) Hopefully, everyone is on the mend.

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