Keeping it real re: sick days

I just need to vent a bit, which is something I rarely do on here anymore. Hope you don't mind.

Any mom out there understands how awful it is to take care of a sick child. Anytime Truman even has a slight cold I automatically have two thoughts that swim through my head constantly: 1. I am so thankful that Truman is almost always healthy, and any illness we've encountered has been relatively minor compared to what some children and families have to endure. And 2. Priorities fall into place because nothing else matters half as much as getting Truman well again. Not work. Not house stuff. Not any of the other seemingly important things on the To-Do list that were so stressful just days before a sickness hit my boy.

I dropped Truman off at daycare on Monday to the news that 3 of the kids there were out that day with fevers and hand/foot/mouth disease. And so began the anxiety, the waiting for any signs of the stupid illness that nearly broke us all last August, the over-analyzing every fussy moment and inspecting every body part for tiny red dots. I was on edge and anticipating all of the chaos that this illness would mean for our family, especially when I got the text from my friend Erin that Henry now had it. And even more when Lori herself called on Tuesday night to say SHE had not even been spared, and that she couldn't take any kids on Wednesday.

I was happy that Truman was one of three kids still well and I continued to pray that he would be spared. I pushed all of my Wednesday patients off until Thursday afternoon the best I could, so Nate could have Truman on one of his shorter days at work, and I could still see some patients. Then Wednesday Lori called to say she still couldn't work on Thursday. And on Thursday she called to say she was even worse and was out for Friday. Now things were just getting scary---Lori has never had more than one sick day in a row, and apparently all of the affected kids were still really sick, too. Five freaking days after it first hit.

But Truman was still well, so I tried to make the best of the situation. I'm not going to lie, though, the stress of rearranging my work schedule to accommodate the lack of childcare was starting to wear on me. As a working mom---and one with a very flexible work schedule---I know that part of the deal is going to be balancing my career with my parenting job. Most of the time I feel very well-balanced in this task and am grateful for having the job that I do, when it needs to be shifted around for our family life. But then there are the times when I resent Nate for having a more rigid, more demanding, full time job that very rarely allows him to take time off to help with childcare. And I resent not being a full time SAHM because although it still sucks to care for sick kids when you aren't working, it just adds another dimension to the suckiness when you do work outside of the home. I feel guilty for missing work if I'm home with Truman and guilty if I work instead of being with Truman. I worry about letting my boss, my patients, and my co-workers down if I put my family life first and I worry about being a bad mommy if I put my job first. It's a lose/lose situation and the constant pull between my job as a PT and my job as a mother is really difficult to manage at times.

After a near break down to Nate on the phone Thursday, I guilted him into taking Friday afternoon off so I could actually see the patients that needed me that day. I made it through my late day on Thursday night and came home to my boys in great moods. Things were looking up and I was feeling really lucky that Truman was still well. Maybe he'd miss the bug all together!

And then Friday morning happened. He was fine when he woke up at 5:30--happy, playful, active. I took a shower and was getting ready to take Truman with me to Target and the coffee shop when I came out to the family room to see him laying on the couch, whining, and looking really lethargic. Crap. I took his temp and it was only 99.9 but he just looked sick to me. He ended up falling asleep on the couch which he NEVER does and I went ahead and gave him Ibuprofen just in case something was starting. He slept on my chest for about 1.5 hours, which again, means something is totally off with my son. I never get those cuddles anymore and I definitely didn't mind but I knew it was only because he felt so crummy.

Nate got home at 1 on Friday and our schedule was completely off because of the early nap that day. T was fussy when the meds would wear off and just wanted to lay down and watch TV. I left to see my patients and had that horrible sinking feeling that I should be at home with my baby, and my mind was elsewhere while I plugged through my six patients. Truman did okay for Nate, taking another 2.5 hour nap and then requesting to go to bed at 6:30 that night, before I even got home. It wasn't my finest evening: I was tired from a long day with patients, hormonal from pregnancy, stressed about the house and money and the fact that we are moving in two freaking weeks and have SO much to do, and worried about my boy.

At 1am Truman cried for me and was completely burning up when I went in there. His temp was now 101.8 which is super high for him and he was just crying and saying 'Owie, mommy' over and over. Break my heart now. I gave him more meds and laid with him for an hour while they took their sweet time to kick in. At 2 he started sweating it out and felt a lot better, to the point that he was ready to play in the family room. What the heck--might as well make the most of the rare moment when he is actually well enough to be happy and playful. So we were up from 1 until 4:30, playing, watching enough Thomas and Elmo to make one want to vomit, and giving the dog some treats. Apparently Truman is very giving when he's sick:) He fell asleep on my chest again at 4:30 and although I was so beyond tired at that point, I knew that was one of the sweetest moments in the recent past. Moonlight coming in from our windows, the house completely quiet except for the sound of my child breathing sleepy breaths, with his sweaty little head on my chest. Definitely one of those moments when I'd like to freeze time for a little, just to soak it in some more, but instead I settled for snapping a few pictures.

He was up again at 5:30 and then stayed awake for good by 6:30, so I'm pretty sure I got about 4 hours of broken sleep---something that might not seem like a big deal to those new moms out there, struggling with newborn sleeping habits. But for this mom who hasn't gone to that 'sleep deprived/everything is so awful in the world and it will never get better' place of mind in the past year, it was pretty rough. So freaking tired the next morning that I even got wild enough to make my cup of coffee with actual caffeine---well, a 'half caff', but still pretty crazy.

And now, Truman will point to his throat and say, 'Owie' and he wanted me to look in there with a flashlight. Sure enough, the red spots have appeared. He officially has hand/foot/mouth and of COURSE he gets it 4-5 days after the other kids. Which means not only did last week suck because of lack of childcare, but next week will suck because he's sure to be sick at least 4 days total. All he wants is popsicles, Thomas, water, and mommy. And he just wants to wear his sandals at all times, refuses to take off his Thomas jammies despite the snot/sweat/drool all over them, and won't take a bath for us.

Just to drive home that point that this virus is truly sent from hell itself, Truman just woke up from his nap crying hysterically while I was typing that last paragraph. Not sure how I got him back to sleep but for now, he is resting again. He is truly miserable and I feel so helpless. I feel guilty (theme of this post!) for even saying this, but I can't help but worry that my days are numbered, too. As he coughs directly on my face and while I lay on his sickie sheets with him I just know I'm going to get hit with this stupid thing, too. And how awful will THAT be if both me and T are down for the count and I can't even take anything good to reduce my fever. Nevermind that last night when we were up in the wee hours of the morning, I felt like I was having true Braxton Hicks contractions for the first time which totally freaked me out. Drinking lots of water and attempting not to jump to any conclusions seemed to help and baby girl is forgiven for now, but man---isn't it a little early for pre-term labor scares?

Enough of my complaining and rambling. Just wanted to type all of these thoughts out while they are still fresh because I'm sure there are other moms out there who can empathize with the misery of a sick child. I really hate to be so negative and whiny because I know we are still so blessed and a measly little virus is not the end of the world. It could be so much worse. And the stress of balancing motherhood with a very good career is really a good problem to have, I suppose. But days like these are not like anything I anticipated before I actually became a mom. Hoping that Nate and I are spared and that Truman kicks the bug in it's nasty little butt before we all morph into zombies from sleep deprivation. Fun times!


  1. Ugh, sick days really do suck. Those photos remind me SO much of when Annie had her double ear infection a few months ago - the sick child slumped over mommy's belly. So sad :( I hope he's feeling better soon!

  2. Aw, girl. No, none of that sounds like fun - the sick boy [break my heart :(], sleep deprivation, rearranging your schedule, MOVING in two weeks, and then of course being pregnant. I gotta have every right to feel overwhelmed right now.

    I'm thinking about you! Hang in there and if you need anything, let me know.

  3. Oh I'm so sorry. I so have been there, the dread, waiting for the sickness to come, and then the onslaut. Ughhhhh. And yeah, basically two weeks of screwed up daycare sucks so bad.

    Of course the worst is just seeing your child in pain and not being able to fix it. Major mommy props to you for watching Thomas with him in the middle of the night. I will be thinking of you, and hope it doesn't last 5 whole days. :(

  4. So, so, SO sorry that you're dealing with the sickies. I hope Truman starts feeling better and I hope that by some miracle you bypass the sickies yourself. Just so you know (and you probably already do) Braxton Hicks start early with your 2nd pregnancy...they last longer and hurt A LOT compared to the first. So don't get too worried about that. Hang in there!

  5. The part about you making the most of your time with him in the middle of the night made me tear up. It's so hard but at the same time feels so good to be needed so much.

    I'm SO sorry this hit Truman now finally. And don't feel the least bit bad about whining - it is awful!!! Worse than pretty much any other virus they get. No eating, no sleeping, SO miserable. I'm so glad we're finally past it, and my heart goes out to you guys!! Of course, as you said, it could be SO much worse, and this too will pass. And I pray you don't get sick! I don't think you will.

    And re: the BH contractions - I had them a ton with my second pregnancy, too. I don't think you should worry - your body has just done all this before so it knows what it's doing and is starting to prepare itself earlier! So you can have a nice, quick labor with #2. ;) Here's hopin!

  6. Julia, I am so glad you wrote this post and equally as glad that I read it tonight...I just put my sick (almost) 14 month old daughter to bed after a rough weekend of a cold virus. Same as you, I am stuck between that "do I drop her off at daycare and go to work, or stay home" mentality and can't agree more that it feels like a lose/lose situation. The doc suggested that if she does not have over a 100 deg. temp tomorrow that it should be fine to take her to our in-home sitter, but I can't help but feel guilty (on many accounts) if I end up doing so!

    Your post really gave me a piece of mind that I'm not the only working outside the home mama that feels this way! Thanks so much for writing so honestly...I hope Truman feels better very soon!!

  7. So sorry you are dealing with this. Having a sick baby is never easy... on them or on us Mommy's.

  8. H,F, and M is the worst. My son had it when he was Truman's age and it hurt me to see him in so much pain. I can identify with everything you wrote. At the time we were also having to rearrange our work schedules. I hope he gets better quickly and that you won't get it!

  9. Ugh this was such a sad post, I really feel for you! Hope you guys don't get it and that your little man starts to feel better soon. I myself have been sick twice during this pregnancy and it sucks, I try to take it easy as much as possible for fear of getting sick again. Hang in there, this too shall pass. :)


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