Tales From a Flu-Stricken Household


January 23, 2015 by Julia

If you’re having a good week, you might want to rethink blogging about being strong, dealing with life head-on, and embracing the challenges, because God’s ears perk up at such proclamations and He goes, “Well, I’ve been hanging onto this one in my back pocket; sounds like Julia’s ready!”

I’ve been turning over all kinds of small resolutions in my head these past few weeks that have been helping me to, ahem, deal with life, dare I say it…cheerfully? More on that in my next post – but yes, I’ve been upbeat, even as the cold winter winds rip the last brown leaves from the skeletal branches. Even as school is canceled or opens late every other day. Jack with his measly two mornings at preschool a week hasn’t had a “full” week of school (without me volunteering) since, oh, the first week of school waaaay back in September, or so. Wishes for regular preschool days aside, I’ve been good. Happy, inspired, motivated!

And then last Friday hit – the day after my “step up to life!” post, and two days before Fiona’s seventh birthday.

Jack woke up with fever, which meant no preschool, once again. I had things I’d been planning to do for Fiona’s birthday while he was at school, but I figured we could run one easy errand of picking up a treat to bring to Fiona’s school for her class to celebrate her birthday, and then I’d take him to the doctor. I was keeping calm and carrying on (let’s pretend the rampant bastardization of that phrase never happened); everything was okay.

So I found myself at Target with my sick son, because Target is the best place to get multiple random emergency items, and because I was being a responsible Target shopper instead of a giddily seduced Target shopper, I pulled my list of NEEDED items out of my coat pocket. The act of pulling out my shopping list dumped my phone onto the ground. I picked it up to find the entire screen cracked. My first thought was of gratitude that it had happened to me and my husband had been spared. Maybe there was some app he had installed on both of our phones that would alert his phone if any damage came to mine. Nothing to be done about it in the moment, though. Hopefully I could still use the thing to contact people. (I can!)

I went to the treat aisle and began to obsess over what kind I should bring to Fiona’s school. There were many, many factors to consider, the details of which I will spare you. I settled on goody bags of assorted mint and chocolate candies, that I would have to quickly assemble in the car, because I enjoy making things difficult for myself in order to demonstrate love. But I was cutting it close to lunchtime, when the kids are supposed to get the birthday treats. Panic was all like, “Hey, remember me? You think you’re better than me?” and though I could hear his catcalls I did my best to ignore them, pushing that Target cart to checkout.

I parked in the school lot and madly assembled the bags in the car. Jack fell asleep in the back seat of our non-moving car because oh yeah, he’s sick. I carried all 40 pounds of sleeping boy into the front office to drop off the goody bags just in time. I carry him back to the car, and then realize I forgot to ensure that the substitute teacher will know to pick the goody bags up. I walk forty pounds of sleeping boy back into the front office. Then back to the car, where I debate whether I should take him home to sleep, or to the doctor. I decide sleep wins, if it’s happening at this level, and start to hope for a moment of rest at home. But of course Jack wakes up the minute his head hits the pillow. Which means the act of stripping off his shoes and coat and carrying forty pounds of sleeping boy from our car aaaaaalll the way to his bed (it’s a long walk) were done in vain, and I must now get us out the door again in order to go to the doctor.

At this point, I was no longer cheerful.

We had lunch and then headed back out to urgent care, as his pediatrician was not in the office that day. And guess what? He had the flu. Maybe you guessed that from the title.

I should mention here that I had sent out invitations for Fiona’s birthday party TWO MONTHS IN ADVANCE. (Which is obviously ridiculous, but I just happened to have a free moment to book it and do the e-vite in one afternoon, and you gotta jump on those moments, even if they happen to come too early.)

It’s things like that that have the potential to make me bitter. Bitter that no matter how much you plan, how much you try to do things “the right way,” no matter how much you love your kid and want to give them an awesome birthday, things can get derailed. Bitter that, true to form, we are healthy until it’s a holiday, birthday or vacation. That’s when the sickness strikes. When you least want it. Why, God, why? Don’t you think we have enough experience with rescheduling birthday parties and any and all other kinds of birthday drama? I was/am done with birthdays. Done, I tell you!! (No one believes me.)

The worst part of all was when Fiona got home from school on Friday, all excited for her birthday weekend, and I had to tell her that our carefully laid plans were up in the air and Jack definitely couldn’t come to her party…if we could even have the party on her birthday. We couldn’t do the grandparents birthday dinner, either. And she was crying and super sad about Jack not being able to come to her party, and of course then I started crying, too, and it was a big ol’ mess. Ta-da!

There followed even more weekend birthday drama of the mother-daughter-love-knot-of-tension-and-insanity variety, but now that Fiona is SEVEN (yes, seven!) and can actually read what I write about her, it’s probably time for me to stop spilling all that stuff in a public forum. In further birthday drama news, Dennis and I were up LATE Saturday night finishing up birthday stuff. His masterpiece, featuring Fiona’s current favorite TV show characters from Teen Titans Go:

Displaying IMG_20150123_200001.jpg

What a dad. I mean, really!

The good news is, we went ahead with the party, and it was great. Dennis’ dad offered to babysit Jack (despite the risk of flu exposure), so that Dennis could come to the party – which was a HUGE relief, because I’m not sure if Fiona would have ever recovered from the heartbreak of half her family missing her birthday party. She’s a family gal, which I adore. And I was very grateful that so many good friends of ours and Fiona’s could make it. It was a blast for us.

The aftermath

The aftermath

The other good news is, we have Fiona in our lives. Happy Fiona’s Birthday to our entire family, really!

IMG_20150118_073439 IMG_20150118_074018 image (1) IMG_20150118_192637 IMG_20150102_104644 IMG_20150101_162928 IMG_20150101_162823 IMG_20150101_162732

The rest of the week had our family dropping like flies – Dennis first to back pain resulting in a pinched nerve, and then me to the flu, and then Dennis to the flu, while Jack was still recovering from the flu, and school was out, and started late, and got out early two days in a row, and blah blah wah wah. Side note, Fiona probably had the flu with only cold-like symptoms the week before any of us did, and no one realized that’s what it was. According to my nurse sister-in-law, it’s an epidemic around here because some people are only getting cold symptoms and so are unintentionally spreading it everywhere.

So, yes, I’ve had a mild case of flu this week. It hit me about twenty-four hours after Fiona’s party, at least. And really, it hasn’t been bad. Just feverish and tiring and congested. I’ve been trying my hand at domestic goddess-ness despite illness. I made my mom’s chicken divan casserole recipe last night for dinner, and roasted chicken with homemade bread tonight. You may say that it’s absurd to try cooking more often during the same week your family and self is struck by flu; I say I’ve got meal plans to stick to and resolutions to keep. I also dusted and found Dennis a great chiropractor and gave my kids an anti-violence lecture through heartfelt tears and went to book club and shed our house of the big plastic toy kitchen that no one plays with anymore without Fiona noticing…(yet). I took a picture of it before jamming it into my car for Goodwill, to add to a planned photo album of lost toys, which I should rig up to play the tune of “Island of Misfit Toys” when you open it, so that we can paraphrase that lyric to “We’re in the scrapbook of lo–ost toys!” as we reminisce over all the crap Mommy could not tolerate in her house anymore. Not sure if such a scrapbook will help with Fiona’s hoarding/nostalgia, but it’s the best solution I can come up with so far.

Displaying IMG_20150122_154436.jpg

Last night she asked if her (nearly broken) twin-sized bed could be kept as a keepsake.

I don’t really know how to end this post, so let’s blame the flu (it does come in handy for things like that). The end!


Happy birthday to our snow angel. I love you, Snugglebunny.


2 thoughts on “Tales From a Flu-Stricken Household

  1. Jackie says:

    This is funny sad! Next week has to be better.

  2. vjthurston says:

    Ditto what Jackie said… Hope you are all feeling better!

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