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The old cold and flu season used to mean a case of the sniffles, maybe a cold here or there, and every few years an unfortunate bout with bronchitis.
After marriage, my husband quickly informed me that, during sickness, leaving any tissues lying around the house was not healthy for him and was quite unattractive to look at. So I adjusted, making sure I had trash cans close to wherever I happened to be convalescing.
Now that I’m a parent, however, the adjustment isn’t quite so easy. I’m now having to deal with catching colds, giving them to my daughter, then getting them back while attending to her sickness.
That’s probably why that teacher invented Airborne, right?
Most recently, my husband and I both fought run-of-the-mill but horribly uncomfortable colds. They went away within days. Then, about two weeks later, our daughter ended up with a virus with “flu-like symptoms” including high fever, headaches, coughing and watery eyes. A trip to the doctor was in order, and luckily, the test for the flu was negative.
Because, like the flu, this was also a virus, nothing could be done, according to the doctor, except giving her berry-flavored ibuprofen to lower the fever and stop the headaches. The worst part was she missed out on a field trip and ended up on the couch watching “Drake and Josh” and “Spongebob Squarepants” between naps.
The worst part for mom, of course, was that the day I spent watching her shows, bringing her juice and medicating her, I also caught the virus. The coughing began that night, and the next day was spent back at work downing grown-up strength ibuprofen and Sudafed.
I hope, by the time this column is published, I’m back to normal.
My question for other parents is how long does this cycle last? Am I doomed to catch all my child’s illnesses and vice versa until she leaves home? Or will I be so exposed to germs that I eventually become immune to all colds forever?
I’m hoping for the latter, of course. It’s obvious I can’t quarantine the poor girl. Children need their mothers and fathers when they’re sick. Parents provide a small measure of comfort when you’re at your most miserable. Heck, I still wouldn’t mind having mine around to bring me soup and juice during my most horrific sniffling, sneezing, coughing, aching moments.
While they were being so kind to their sick daughter all those years, I don’t think they ever mentioned how vulnerable they were to catching my germs. And if they did, I probably didn’t have enough strength to listen.
Well, I’m sure learning fast. Maybe when the warm weather is here to stay, this sickness cycle will be just a distant memory.
So, while I nurse a hot bowl of chicken soup, I’ll also try to keep myself out of reach of the rest of my family. There’s no sense in going through this all over again.
sarah shew wilson is a staff writer for the Beacon. Reach her at 754-6890 or firstname.lastname@example.org.