Saturday, May 26, 2012

In Sickness and in health

I am sick. I am sick of being sick. I have been sick for almost 6 weeks and I haven't gotten well. I have gone to the doctor. The first time I did, she gave me antibiotics for a sinus infection. Two weeks later, I go back and tell her, I am still sick and my nose and ears are still blocked. Was there anything she could do to help? The entire exchange took place with the twins clowning round the consultation room. She looks at them and then looks at me and points at them, stating that she had nothing that would cure 'that'. And until I could get some rest, I wasn' t going to get well.

Rest is fine in theory. But I also have to add. In between that first week I was sick till now, there has been Muffin hospitalised, the twins then coming down with the same stomach bug as Muffin, Evan developing a severe allergic reaction to dust and mosquito bites causing his eyes to swell up like golf balls, Muffin falling ill once again with a milder version of the stomach bug that caused him to be hospitalised and Jordan catching his bug. So while trying to get myself better, I am nursing all these kids in varying degrees of being unwell.

Packrat tells me that I am pushing myself too hard. Indeed I am. I acknowledge that. On top of looking after the children at night, I am teaching more than ever now because tis the exam season. But my response to Packrat was that I couldn't do anything different. Packrat tells me something's gotta give. Let them watch television for a while. Let their homework slide.  I don't know how to do that.

I cannot ignore the child who is coughing her lungs out at night. I cannot ignore the little toddler who tells me at 5.30 in the morning that his diapers are soiled and he needs a change. I cannot in good conscience leave all three children in front of the television at 7 am in the morning while Mommy goes back to bed for another snooze. I can't let them go to class without their homework not done or have them stare blankly at the teacher because Mommy didn't go through the words with them. While I do have a capable helper for once, I do not feel that I should let her or expect her to take over my Mommy duties. So I just do it, to the best of my ability, with  a lot of prayers, adrenaline, general screaming and threatening and just going it one day at a time. But, on top of all that, I cannot tell my office that I can't teach because I am just too exhausted to mentally string words coherently.

I hate it and I am mildly depressed, not knowing when I will ever get a 6 hour stretch of uninterruptied sleep. I keep thinking this will never end. I have stopped seeing it as getting over one bug, but as an incubation period for the next bug to manifest. I am, however, thankful that when they get sick, it isn't all that severe. Muffin being hospitalised was the first time we had gone to Emergency in years. I spend a fortune on vitamins and for the most part it does the job. It's just that with a bug cycle like this and an exhausted Mommy that helps to incubate the bugs rather than break the cycle, we are just merely playing catch up with the symptoms.

Thankfully, I do have something to look forward to. And thankfully, there is light at the end of the tunnel. Otherwise, I suspect my doctor would need to prescribe me with something more than just decongestants and antibiotics. For the last few months, I have been worried about Packrat wanting me to go with him to a conference at Harvard. I have felt guilty about leaving my children behind and not being there to mommy them. But now, about two weeks before I am due to leave, I know that I have to go. If I don't go, I will never, ever get the rest I need to recover. And I will never break out of this illness-induced funk. And judging from the last six weeks, no matter how much medication I throw at the illness, nothing is going to help if I don't get the rest I need.


What happens to my kids while I am away? They will do all the things that I refuse to let them do under my watch. And do I have any say about it? Not much. Two weeks with the grandparents, watching television and not doing their Chinese will not do them any harm. In fact they will rather enjoy it, he claims. I can't wholeheartedly agree with him because I cannot see beyond the television, the mosquito bites, the iPad and the lack of proper work/Chinese guidance. To me, the damage might be irreparable.

My usually patient husband gets annoyed with me in Mommy overdrive. It is about the only time he pulls rank and makes it clear what he thinks I need. In this case, I need to go with him and I need to get well and that is the priority. For now, even the kids aren't the priority. The kids get well. Despite their being sick, for the most part of the day, they are happy, they eat well and are in good spirits. Me on the other hand, I haven't tasted the real taste of food in 6 weeks, I drag myself out of bed every morning and I feel like I have aged dramatically. My skin bears testament to that; breakouts that in themselves radiate stress and distress.

Now for all of them to just stay healthy.

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