Thursday, January 10, 2013

Not Down with the Sickness

Wow, it seems that nasty germs have been infecting anywhere and everywhere these past two weeks.  It’s as if all the stress of the holidays finally decided to take their toll on the immune systems of the masses.  Numerous people at my workplace have been out due to illness.  My son’s daycare/preschool had 6 kids out.  Luckily I have been spared, for the most part.  My son and mother though have not.

My mother actually got sick before the holidays, and luckily she has since recovered.  It was a nasty little virus that caused her to cough and wheeze for weeks though.

My little man seems to have acquired the flu.  I read that the flu shot, which he got 4-6 weeks ago, only covered 90% of the strains this year, and I really think he ended up with one that was in that 10%.  It began Saturday night with a high fever, chills, complaints of pain in his tummy and mouth (throat).  The doctor said our little monkey didn’t show signs of an ear infection, and he tested negative for strep.  The doctor was fairly certain a virus was at fault.  He didn’t actually say it was the flu, but I can’t imagine any other virus causing this much havoc.

As a parent, seeing your kids in pain is one of the worst things to experience.  Your child is like a mini little extension of you—one that needs to be nurtured and cared for and educated so that he or she may some day turn out, hopefully, twice the man or woman that you  are.  You literally will do anything and everything for your kids.  But when they are sick, it’s one of the most helpless feelings in the world.

For the past four days we’ve had to administer acetaminophen and ibuprofen to keep his fever at bay, alternating back and forth.  These two drugs are like a half a can of Pepsi or Coke compared to a triple espresso or two cans of Red Bull.  The acetaminophen does work, but it takes about an hour to kick in and lasts only a few hours.  The ibuprofen kicks in within 15-20 minutes, and he would go about 5 hours before his fever came roaring back.  Unfortunately you can’t give ibuprofen over and over, I’m assuming due to side effects.

When the medicine wears off, my son goes from a happy, go-lucky kid to being ultra-sensitive and super clingy.  He’s getting too big to pick up and carry around, yet that’s all he wants.  If you tease him or try to make him laugh, he bursts into tears.  He’s incredibly uncomfortable, and man does it just tug at your heart-strings.  I’d gladly trade with him and take the virus from him if it were possible, because seeing him that way is just awful.

He is doing better now.  He even made it through a full day of school.  Some little guys and girls aren’t quite so lucky.  A coworker’s one grandchild has been down for two weeks with this fever-causing bug.  I can’t imagine!

But as easily susceptible as we are to tiny bacteria and viruses, we really are strong creatures.  Unless we are older or very young or our immune systems are out of whack, our bodies seem to overcome the invasion and we get better.  We heal and live on to fight another day.

And for those of us who aren’t sick, we always try to help out the others, don’t we?  I personally think caring for each other is an innate behavioral response.  Some choose to ignore it, sure, but most of us will lend a hand or care for those who are sick or hurting.  Look at the public responses to Katrina and Haiti and Sandy, and you can see that people REALLY DO CARE ABOUT EACH OTHER.

Sometimes our world seems full of doom and gloom.  But for all the mass shootings and war crimes and terrorism and everything else we hear about in the news every day, there are hundreds of millions more acts of kindness and bravery that go unnoticed.  Doctors are treating sick children in impoverished states.  Firefighters and police officers and Armed Services members are putting their lives on the line every day to save lives and help those in need.  Sometimes it seems that there’s an awful lot of hate in the world, but maybe that’s because we all just haven’t opened our eyes wide enough to notice and appreciate the good.

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