I sat on our bathroom floor, crying.
I had just hugged Ella and sent her back to the kitchen to help my husband. She turned back to me before she left the room, puzzled, and asked, "Mommy, you want to be lonely?".
Yes, sweet child, I do. At least at that moment, I did.
After a pretty good first week back, my second week sucked. It started with a tickle in my throat on Friday morning. By Friday afternoon, when Ella asked for a drink from my water bottle, I refused, because I was feeling congested and didn't want to share germs with her. Sharing a car with her must have been enough, because it came on her really strong. By that evening, I was feeling hot, and her voice was raspy. By Saturday morning, I was googling "croup" and pulling out the humidifier.
She napped on the couch for four hours. I wish that I could have done the same, but there was laundry to be done and dishes to clean. I felt miserable, but my husband really wanted me to go to the football game with him that evening. Since my mom was here to watch the girls, I felt like I had to take the chance to spend some quality time with him. In retrospect, I probably should have gone straight to bed instead. At least it was a good game.
We skipped church on Sunday. I felt well enough to go get groceries. Ella had one more scary moment when we had to talk her through a coughing episode, and then slept for three more hours. I prepared my lunches and clothes for the week, determined to not let the cold hold me back from balancing a career and a sick child.
By Monday morning, I had no voice, but since my mom could stay home with Ella, I took some Dayquil and headed into town with a friend so that my mom could drive in to pick me up when it was time for me to bring her to the airport. I somehow made it through the day, but was strongly considering stopping by one of those "minute clinic" sorts of places on the way home--except, my mom loaded Ella into the car without any shoes. I opted instead to run by our house, grab some shoes for her, and head to our nearest Walgreens to buy myself some meds and another humidifier.
I got home, nursed Anna, and left my husband with two crying girls and ran to the closest health clinic. The Family Nurse Practitioner ran a strep test--I whispered jokingly, and yet honestly, that it was as nerve-wracking to wait for those results as it was to wait for a home pregnancy test. I was, and continue to be, worried about getting poor Anna, now 10 weeks, as sick as Ella and me. It was negative, to my relief. But the only diagnosis he could give me was "Viral Laryngitis"--nothing really to do other than wait it out. He was, however, kind enough to give me a couple free masks so that I could at least nurse Anna without coughing all over her. (It's the little things in life, right?)
I sent my supervisor a text saying I wouldn't be in on Tuesday. I just couldn't do it.
By Wednesday, Ella was feeling better. She still had a little cough, but what kid doesn't have a cough as we head into Fall? I, however, had quite the cough.
And sore throat.
And now, runny nose.
The top of my mouth is cut up from sucking on throat lozenges, so I switched to the sides of my cheeks, which now feel raw. My nose is completely scratched up from wiping and blowing (note to self--bring in soft tissues so I no longer need to use the rough ones at work). I smell like vapor rub. I'm having an out-of-body experience between the meds and the congestion. The only benefit to all of this is that I'm coughing so much that my post-baby belly muscles are starting to tighten up again, just the tiniest bit.
I've been pretty miserable, but made it in to work the rest of the week. You know it's bad when you start figuring that your 10-week old will probably be safer at a new daycare than she would be at home with me and my germs. Praise the Lord, she has remained healthy so far. I pray (and please join me) that she continues to stay healthy, because this is one nasty virus.
My husband has been sleeping on the couch all week. I don't blame him. I miss him, but I don't blame him one bit. Friday night, I told him that he was on baby-duty, and I took a dose of NyQuil the moment that Anna popped off the boob. The commercials lie--I didn't sleep through the night like a baby...but I did get a little more rest than the previous nights (and some funky dreams).
I think--I hope, I pray--that I'm on the mend. My throat no longer burns--it only feels like I have a lump stuck in there now. My nose is running--although it hurts to blow and wipe, I'm hopeful that the drainage is a good sign that this dang virus is finally leaving my system. Now if only I could get rid of this cough and congestion.
My blessing, amid all this sickness, is the reminder that I'm usually pretty healthy. Granted, I feel so miserable now that it's hard to remember what it feels like to be "normal" again, but I need to remind myself that the last time that I was this sick was probably when I went back to work after Ella was born. For the most part, I'm usually pretty healthy, and for that, I'm extremely grateful. I just hope that I can beat this virus once and for all, and I pray that Anna is spared.