Business is good at the Germ Factory
I’ve always known that kids are little germ factories, but we avoided all but 1-2 sicknesses a year. Until this winter. This winter, our kids became the bosses of a germ factory, and we are their lowly employees…getting paid every 2 weeks in colds, viruses, and stomach flus. We literally can’t leave the house without one of them coming down with something anymore. And since Jenson goes to preschool and gymnastics once a week, and we try to go to the library every week or two or three when they are actually healthy, we are pretty much screwed…and their factory is a full-time operation.
Since just before Christmas, someone has been sick almost constantly. A few days before Christmas, Jenson came down with a bad sounding barky cough and Marlowe was fevered off and on. The Dr. only wanted to see Jenson for the cough and said it was probably croup, so he gave him a steroid for vocal swelling. He just kept saying sadly “I’m still coughing!”. We ended up going to urgent care on Christmas Eve with both of them- which is an amazing day to go to urgent care, by the way. Jenson was still was pretty sick, though his cough didn’t sound croupy anymore, and Marlowe had been running fevers for a week. We were afraid they had ear infections. They didn’t…just some sort of virus.
We visited my family over New Year’s and by the time we got back home on January 2, I started to feel bad too. Marlowe had her 1 year well visit, and the Dr. found that she had an ear infection. I told her how both kids have been sick since before Christmas and she suggested we bring Jenson in that day to have his ears looked at. He had a double ear infection.
Three days later my sinuses were a mess and my ears hurt, so the day before Marlowe’s birthday party, I went to Walgreens health clinic to make sure I didn’t have an ear infection. I didn’t…just some sort of virus. She suggested a neti pot and though it hasn’t worked out for me in the past, I bought one to give it a shot. I don’t know if it’s because of my nose surgery years ago (deviated septum) or if it’s from a procedure that didn’t work out (for enlarged turbinates), but nasal rinsing just doesn’t work for me. I’m pretty sure I was close to drowning. For the next day or two, it felt like I nearly drowned in the ocean…so much salt water in my head.
In mid-January, Jenson had a minor stomach bug that only lasted for a day, but 2 days after that, Marlowe started to get really snotty, so we had to cancel her 1 year photos.
The beginning of February brought colds and runny noses, and Jenson would complain and say “my nose is really worse!”.
The night before Valentine’s Day, Marlowe threw up all night and for the next two days. She’d be trying to play or crawl somewhere and would just lay down on the floor. Notice the syringe in one hand and cell phone in the other…classic cry for help. W
As soon as she was doing better, Jenson threw up in the middle of the night, and every 30 minutes after that. As soon as I got out of bed when Lo said Jenson got sick, I knew I was next. My stomach hurt so bad. Lo got him cleaned up and downstairs to the couch, and I warned him that I was going to be sick soon and I needed him to stay up with Jenson. Jenson threw up every 1/2 hour for a few hours, and I threw up a few times in the night and swore off chili forever (not really, but for at least a little while longer). I was so sick and I felt so bad for Marlowe because if she felt that way for 3 days, it was miserable. I was so achy and tired and nauseous. I could barely carry Marlowe, I was so weak. Lo had to pretty much take over for her, and I just laid on the couch with Jenson and tried to catch his occasional vomit in a trashcan. We both slept a lot through the day. That night Lo got sick twice, but was fine by morning and able to work. I was feeling mostly better, but Jenson was still sick in the morning. We decided we shouldn’t visit my parents, but my mom really wanted us to come and she said they’ve all pretty much had that already. I said as long as everyone was still feeling good in the morning, we’d come on Saturday morning instead. The kids were perky and fine in the morning, so we went home and just hoped it was all behind us. I warned my sisters that visiting us was at their own risk. We really hoped to visit my grandma who was in a nursing facility for a therapy program after having pneumonia, but we didn’t want to risk giving her anything that could put her back in the hospital. Thankfully we didn’t, because although we seemed fine and healthy, we took down everyone we saw that weekend at my mom’s house.
Luckily we stayed healthy for our trip to Vegas to visit my sister and her family, but that was short-lived. Whether it was the giant indoor playground that we went to out there, or germy people on the airplane or airport, Jenson got some sort of little virus that caused him to have sinus congestion and random hives at the beginning of March. He really wasn’t that sick, but his nose was really bugging him and he kept crying and saying “my nose is really worse!” when he laid down for nap or bed. Poor kid all hivey after nap – he didn’t seem to notice or care, but they were everywhere. Lo took him to the Dr. during walk-in hours because he’d been waking at night crying and was whiny. The Dr. said he had a slight ear infection and gave him antibiotics since he’s had ear infections almost every month recently and this one was likely to get worse.
And here we are…two weeks later…and it’s stomach bug time again and our couch is again covered in waterproof blankets. The kids seemed perfectly healthy, so we met friends at the library for story time on Saturday (where kids can’t just pretend to eat play food…they have to touch each piece to their mouth). Our friends invited us to their house that evening, I was pretty excited to get to hang out with adults. Our kids play so well together, so I knew we’d actually get to hang out and talk. Jenson was fine after nap…playing his guitar and dancing, but when it was time to leave, he was whining and not cooperating. He said he wanted to stay home – which was odd because M is his best friend and he loves going to their house (and just seeing her in general). We thought he was just being a 3 year old. We got to their house and he wouldn’t let us put him down and he wouldn’t look at or talk to anyone – even M. He was burping a little, so I took him in the bathroom, but he said he wasn’t sick, but his mouth hurt. He’d been complaining about his mouth for a couple of days and chewing on things, so we just assume he’s getting some molars. After Lo finished eating, he took him so I could eat and within a few minutes he ran to the bathroom with him. Jenson didn’t quite make it and got sick as they got to the bathroom. Lo cleaned him up and I cleaned up the door, floor, and sink. I scarfed down my plate of food and finished feeding Marlowe, and we got out of there before we spread it to anyone else. He was sick again a couple of times that night as he dozed on the couch with us while we watched tv, but around 11 pm he said he wanted to go to his bed, and he was fine after that and the next day.
Four days later, Marlowe slept until 11:30 am (after a few normal wakeups at night of course), had a fever of 102, and threw up everywhere after breakfast. She was fevered and miserable for 2 days (and getting teeth), and woke every 45 minutes wanting to nurse the first night. When I picked Jenson up from school yesterday, the teachers said he wasn’t feeling good and didn’t want to play. He perked up at home, but after nap he said he wasn’t feeling well enough for gymnastics. So far nothing else has come of it, but I’m just waiting.
Also, Boof threw up a little twice this week too, so that’s just amazing. Apparently she was feeling left out and wanted to join in the fun.
And so I realize after actually writing this all down, that someone has been sick every other week since Christmas. It’s mid-March. That’s exhausting. Even when they are well, I hesitate to take them to the library or museum because I fear they’ll just get sick again. But then they get sick anyway because we can’t totally avoid life and people. I don’t want to make plans with anyone because I don’t want to spread it to them, so we end up at home all of the time. Just us and them, trapped. Here’s to hoping the germ factory shuts down when the weather warms up in the next month.