Family · Health · Perspective

Living Heavy

Pandemic. Do I dare even say the word? I’ll just refer to it as “the big P.” It has us all fatigued. People are living heavy. We are edgy and impatient. My daughter calls it “harsh.” I believe it’s directly correlated to the overall environment the last couple of years.

In retrospect, WE were living with force. I was stressed trying to balance all the moving parts and keep us healthy. Constantly questioning myself if this was a good idea? Are we going to get sick? If we do, how sick will we get? What will it disrupt? School? Work? Let’s balance the kids’ need for socialization (school has been IN PERSON the whole time) with making health-based decisions. Make sure you are washing your hands! Who was sick today at school? It was exhausting. Just keep moving. For two years we lived like this.

Christmas Day all the questions were answered. I got sick with what seemed like a bad intestinal flu and fever early in the morning. I don’t remember Christmas at all. My husband wanted to wait to open gifts until I got better, but I refused to make the kids postpone Christmas morning. Scoot forward to day 3 of being sick and I took a home test. Positive, very quickly, I might add. Rona had finally hit our house. Day 5 (fever free!) I emerged from my room (without a sense of smell and modified taste) to my 11yr old son not feeling well. He ran a fever for 12 hours, headache, and intestinal issues. Two days later, I had a cranky 9year old with a stomach ache and headache. The final domino to fall was my husband. That night he developed a fever. He was sick for 36hours (intestinal) and thought everything was extremely salty. Weird.

We live in a rural area, so by the end of our self-imposed quarantine we loaded the vehicle and went for a country cruise. Interacting with no one, it was just a nice dirt road drive to get out of the house. Then it was over. Done. We’d missed Christmas with my family, a basketball tournament, work, and a gathering with friends. We put together puzzles, made Chex Mix, did crafts, played games, and watched Christmas movies – all together. Everyone recovered without medical intervention. No one experienced the respiratory symptoms. What a bizarre experience!

I have mixed emotions that I’ve discussed with my therapist. Part of me feels guilty that we had absolutely no complications. Even with my MS, I had no issues other than my illness lasting longer than everyone else in the family. It’s been drilled into us that if we get C19, we will die. If we get C19 and you aren’t vaccinated, or your immune system did not mount the proper response (hello autoimmune), you will die. Even if you did get vaccinated, you might have complications and die. Many people have. In no way am I downplaying that fact. It IS a fact. It’s a terrible, sad fact and I have grief and empathy for those who battled unsuccessfully. And yet, we didn’t. Survivor’s guilt.

On the other hand, I feel IMMENSE relief. After two years of somehow managing to avoid it, we’ve made it thru. We can live a notch lighter. I know we aren’t alone in this. I read an online article out of a major US city that voiced these exact feelings, both the guilt and the relief, from a handful of people the author interviewed.

A good friend of mine described the same situation after her family went down with C19 in January. We felt shame for being sick with it, followed by relief and guilt when we recovered. Neither her family nor mine was broadcasting on social that we were positive. We quietly let our immune systems battle it out in the privacy of our homes and told only people who had to know- family and those we had been around in the days prior. After recovery, we told our closest friends. That’s it. Why the stigma? We’ve all been living in the big P for 2+ years. Now, 2.5 months later, I feel comfortable writing about our experience and the reflections on it. I’m tired of living heavy. This is a step towards living lighter.

Life in QT over Christmas.
Family · Health · Parenting · Perspective

Friday Recap

I’m starting the last day of this work week in a reflective mood. A comedic mood. Slightly triumphant.

I started this day with a grumpy 10 year old. This is our 8th full week of in-school education. He’s tired. He’s going to be even grumpier when he finds out that he isn’t going to the farm for Friday night and Saturday. His bag was packed, but my mom called this morning to say she’s down with stomach flu (which is circulating thru adults in our area). Eeek.

However, we did get both kids on the bus with hugs, water bottles, and backpacks. So, I’m considering that a win. Cue the triumphant music!

My morning surprise was walking out to see my large morning glories finally blooming! I’ve waited months. This was my first attempt at planting this flowering vine. I had no idea it would overtake a 8ft x 14ft area. These vines have been a happy place for many insects and creatures this summer. Each bloom is 5-6″ wide. What a startling blue color!

Next, I headed to town to donate blood. This was donation #10. I did a whole line of Oreos yesterday to get my iron high enough to donate. This should have been donation #14, but I’ve been turned down three times for my iron being too low and once for a “timing issue.” Did you know Oreos are iron fortified? Yes. Yes, they are. I’m trying to make healthy choices (and Oreos don’t fit that eating plan), so you better believe I wasn’t going to waste that line of Oreos by not showing up at the donation drive. Boom. My iron was 14.5. After donation, the organizers treated me to a bowl of chili, a sandwich, and a piece of apple pie. A second breakfast at 9:30am? Absolutely.

Have you ever used an automatic car wash and had it shut off on you while you were in it? Strange. That happened this morning. My extremely dirty vehicle (dirt roads, fall harvest, three months of bugs) was due up for a wash. A friend at the auto parts store where I grabbed filters for the shop made fun of how dirty it was. Thus, I headed over for a quick scrub. It went thru the pre-wash/ undercarriage and then everything just turned off! No lights. No movement. I drove forward and backward multiple times thinking maybe I just wasn’t placed quite right. Then I called the phone number. “Yes, it seems we’ve had a complete failure of power at the car wash.” Ok then…. All I could do was marvel at the ridiculousness and laugh. I ended up washing it by hand in a different bay in my nice, new cardigan.

I’ve been back at my desk for a couple of hours doing normal work things. What a full and crazy morning! All you can do on a day like this is giggle. Keep it positive. I feel like I’ve lived an entire day in 6 hours.

On a different train of thought – I realized that as much as I was trying not to, the social media comparison game was getting in my head (thank you therapist!). I deleted the Facebook and Messenger apps off my smart phone. If you are feeling anxious, try doing that. Weight lifted. No nervous pressure to click and see what everyone else is doing. Just be in your moment with your people.

Have a glorious weekend! — Jen