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The Flu Can Really Take You Out

As a parent, we often deny our own illness because of our responsibilities to others.

I’ve been sick with the flu.  I’m going on day number five in bed. 

I don’t know if before this I knew just how horrible the flu can be, but let me tell you, it isn’t fun.  As a parent though, I have a responsibility to two little girls and this hasn’t been easy on them either.

There is just no way to take care of kids when you are sick, which I found out the hard way when my husband couldn’t take off from work.  I’m lucky that this week is Spring Break, because as a Howard County school teacher my husband is off all week, allowing me the “luxury” of actually getting some sleep and time to recover.

When you’re sick as a kid, there is no denying it.  You feel awful, someone cares for you, and you have no responsibilities except to get better. 

As a parent, there are a few more phases to illness that I’ve explored in recent days.

Phase 1:  Denial.  There is no way I can be sick.  I can’t afford to be sick.  I don’t have the time, and I have to look after the kids.  If I just forget it and move forward like I’m fine, I will be. Sometimes this even works.

Phase 2:  Stupidity.  No seriously, I’m fine.  I’ll bring the kids to school and activities and get germs all over people.  Because I AM FINE.

Phase 3:  More Denial.  Ok, maybe I need a little nap.  That’s all it is.  I’ll just sleep while they watch Finding Nemo again.

Phase 4:  Panic.  I’m totally sick.  I need help. It’s kind of not cool that I had to crawl across the kitchen floor and couldn’t stand up while I tried to make that grilled cheese. 

If you’re lucky you have a spouse, family member or good friend who can help you at this point…because the flu can be lengthy and can seriously put you out of commission.  It certainly has for me.

According to the CDC, flu activity this season really peaked in February and is way down right now, but there are still plenty of cases in our area.  Check out the CDC’s “FluView” at http://www.cdc.gov/flu/weekly/index.htm for weekly updates.  Also read www.flu.gov for information on the flu and how to deal with it.

The flu causes plenty of hospitalizations and deaths each year, so don’t take it lightly.  If you’re sick, see your doctor and be sure to stay as hydrated as you possibly can.

The hardest part of this past week for me has been trying to keep away from my kids, and to keep them away from me.  The first couple of days, when I was sickest, their visits were frequent. 

They missed me and were worried.  They brought be presents of their prized possessions.  They made me pictures and cookies.  I could barely take a sip of water but I ate that heart-shaped chocolate peanut butter cookie that my 5-year-old lovingly presented me.  It nearly killed me, but I ate every crumb.

I think everyone is over me being sick now.  My friends have stopped e-mailing me to see how I am, my husband didn’t bring me water until almost noon and my mom has only called once so far today.  The 2-year-old told me, “Mommy, you stay upstairs; don’t come down with me,” this morning after I got her dressed and started to slink back to my room. 

And I know for sure my husband is WAY over sleeping on the couch.

And yes, before you ask, I did get the flu shot (as did my kids). 

Now please excuse me while I get the Lysol for the keyboard....

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