Saturday, February 17, 2018

January: the scourge and the plague

WARNING: this post is about being sick. If you're squeamish, skip this one and come back later this week when I'm hoping to post about a bunch of things that I've been loving recently. If you're not too squeamish and enjoy bitter diatribes, here you go.

January was the WORST for me/us this year. I'm not a winter-hater, so it wasn't the worst because it was cold or anything (I loathe spring allergies and being hot/sweaty, so I legit prefer fall and winter to spring and summer. Very few people understand this philosophy, but so it is.). It was the worst because, apparently, my immune system gave out completely and handed me over to the Illness Demons. I'm just now barely crawling out from the misery that was January. And frankly, guys, I blame much of my illness on all the people who return to society (or send their kids back) before they are no longer contagious. This is a real problem, folks. STAY HOME until you are WELL.

We got back from Christmas travels and poor Brad was sick with a sinus infection and ear infection. He got started on antibiotics a couple days after we got home, but everything just lingered and clung on, bless him. He very sweetly moved into the guest room so that he wasn't sharing his germs with me in our room. I started loading everyone up with Emergen-C (thanks, Costco, for running a great sale!) and requiring excessive hand washing. NOTE: we all got flu shots. We always do. 

But then I went to Bible study.

I'm a small group leader, so you know...I needed to be there. Unfortunately, several people showed up who had literally had flu symptoms 48 hours before. Actual flu. And several folks took their flu-ish children to the nursery (with my children). At that point, all was lost. I started symptoms the very next day, although, I assumed I was showing sinus infection symptoms. Not flu. By Sunday, though, the aches had set in and my coughing was OUT OF CONTROL. I actually pulled a rib muscle, thanks to that wretched cough. By the time I talked to one of the midwives, it was already too late to start Tamiflu, and I was stuck with "comfort treatment." Guess what. Pregnant gals can take basically nothing when they're sick. Nothing effective, anyway. Robitussin DM did absolutely nothing for my cough (though this didn't deter me from going through nearly 2 bottles in a desperate search for relief). I used essential oils. I used nose sprays and saline. I used 4 different heating apparati for aches and pains. I slathered on Vick's and showered with Johnson and Johnson's vapor relief body wash. There was no relief.

It took well over a week before I could really get out of bed. And truthfully, I'm still dealing with sinuses. Yes. A MONTH later. Partway through my week of flu, both girls started getting sick (even though I quarantined myself), and my heart sank. We kept Claire home from school, and Brad took them to the doctor. No flu! Colds + ear infection (for Lily), though. I was sad to tell Claire that she was going to have to miss school, but providentially, the snow came, and school was canceled anyway. I'm kind of thinking the Lord sent the snow/canceled classes so that everyone who was "sorta sick" was forced to stay home. Like a reset on the spread of illness at school.

Well, we were almost all well when we traveled to Tennessee for Papaw's funeral. We were mostly well while we were there. The day after we got home, Lily woke up from her nap, crying, which is very unusual. When I went in to get her, I realized there were two piles of vomit in her crib. She was extremely upset about the mess and acted out for us what happened, so that we would understand the trauma she had endured. Brad and I were simultaneously so sorry for her and CRACKED UP at her reenactment. She threw up again at supper that night and was generally not feeling well. I also moved into my obsessive rehydrating routine. I'm unbelievably fixated on hydration when everyone is healthy, so when anyone has been sick, I hover so bad trying to get electrolytes down everyone's throats. I blame it on my time in Senegal. 

On Tuesday evening (the next day), Claire started throwing up (Lily was no longer vomiting but her diapers were frightening). It was at this point I felt doom and despair. I knew we were all going down. A few hours later, I started (can I remind everyone that I had a stomach virus a mere 2 months ago? How is this fair? On top of all the vomiting I've done this pregnancy...I HAVE PUT IN MY TIME.). For about 6 hours, Claire and I were in the throes of it together. I gave Claire a towel and vomit bowl in her bed, but she was insistent on throwing up in the toilet, so I was hustling her to the toilet every time (I had sent Brad to sleep in the guest room and told him to let me deal with Claire, in hopes that he could escape it. Spoiler: he did not.). At one point, I was helping Claire be sick in her toilet and realized that I had to be sick, too. So...we were simultaneously vomiting in the same toilet. Claire has been scarred for life, guys. 

It was at this point that I realized I should just put her in bed with me so I didn't have to keep hustling across the hall every time she needed to vomit. This was a good idea, as it was about 45 minutes until the next round. :/ This time, she got the toilet, and I ended up with the sink. I've Lysol-ed since, so it's ok, guys. She was done at this point, but she was so excited to be sleeping in my bed with me that she wouldn't go to sleep and kept jiggling the bed, triggering my sickness several more times. After a few hours of this (and hearing Brad start his own journey with the virus in one bathroom while I was being sick in another- PRAISE JESUS FOR SEVERAL BATHROOMS), I decided Claire was probably done and could move back into her bed so that I might have a chance at being still for a while. It sort of worked...but not entirely. I was sick approximately twice as many times as everyone else. Again. How is this fair?

The next morning was just pitiful. Everyone was lethargic and miserable. Lily was very dehydrated, and it took every last ounce of energy I could muster up to get her to suck on ice chips. It took hours to get her back to a remotely hydrated state. We basically let the girls watch movies all day while Brad and I traded off taking naps. 

We all missed school, Bible study, and social engagements for the next few days. And then I insisted on keeping the children home from church on Sunday because I wanted to make sure that we didn't share anything OR catch anything with our compromised immune systems. I am not playing around with staying healthy. I am OVER being sick.

I went for an OB appointment a week after the stomach virus, and I felt ridiculous trying to explain about ALL the January illnesses and that all my fasting glucose numbers were jacked up because of being sick all night every night. Thankfully, they took that into consideration and didn't start changing up my treatment after such a nutty month. Thankfully, we've all been able to get reasonable rest over the past week and are hopefully on a good trajectory now. 

Although, the weather keeps swinging, so I'm not entirely optimistic about our sinus situations... Pray for us, friends. It's like trench warfare around here.

Monday, February 12, 2018

Celebration of Papaw

In January, Brad's Papaw passed away. It was both expected and unexpected, in that he'd been ill for a while but had been fairly stable-ish around the time that he passed away. It was a sad reason for a trip to Tennessee, but we had a really sweet visit with a lot of Boswell family.

Due to tricky scheduling, we North Carolinian Boswells got to the funeral home with about 4 minutes to spare, pre-funeral. My mom very kindly came up for the services and graciously took Lily to walk to the halls. The service started just shortly before the girls' usual bedtime and came right on the heels of a 4.5 hour trip, so Lily was not exactly suited for sitting quietly in a memorial service. Claire did amazingly well, and I was so so proud of her. The service was a very nice time of remembering Brad's kind, funny, and godly Papaw. He will be missed.

We were able to stay for a 4-day visit, allowing us to visit with family and to spend time reminiscing and remembering. They girls were great at keeping spirits up and generally entertaining the crowds. Which can be helpful during hard times, ya know?

The girls were so good at the graveside. Claire took her job of passing out roses to anyone who wanted one verrry seriously.

Lily's real rose matched the roses on her coat.

After the graveside, we were able to gather (probably 20 or so of us) at Brad's aunt's and uncle's for a meal and a good visit.

I cannot even handle Lily's face in this picture. Believe it or not, she was saying "cheese."

A few more Lily Antics:

Always with the climbing, y'all.

And thinking.

Kidding! Just wearing some reading glasses and sitting in the most comfortable spot.

"I can start that fire for you."

A little early morning cartoon watching.

One fun little element to this visit was getting to spend some time with Brad's aunt and uncle who are stationed with the Army in Arizona (i.e. we hardly ever see them). They had previously spent very little time with the girls, and everyone enjoyed getting to know each other a bit!

Brad, his Mamaw, his dad, his aunt (Bill's sister)

Grandpa helping Lily on her balance bike.

Lily bonded with Uncle Chris...especially when he helped her pull her feet off the ground so she could actually "ride."


We were really glad that we brought the girls' bikes with us. It was a lot of fun to watch/play with them.

At least Barbara was cooperating for both of these pictures...

Coloring with Ray Ray at Sunday lunch.

Lily stayed focused despite the distractions.

And then everyone said "cheese." Bless it.


"Turn your head to the camera, Gran!"

"You smile for Mom's picture. I'll keep coloring."

We're really thankful that we were able to go and visit for a few days. And, a HUGE thank you to my mom for coming up and helping us so much with the girls. It would have been so much more complicated to wrangle the girls otherwise. We're sad to say goodbye to Papaw, but we're thankful for the hope we have of reuniting with him again. 

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Our big snow!

I pray every year that we'll have at least one real snow. It's not that I just hanker for the snow myself (although, it does give me happy little fuzzy memories of Ukraine), but Claire LOVES a good snow. So, I always ask the Lord to send her one good snow. I didn't think it was going to happen this year, but y'all. I was WRONG.

About early mid-January, the forecast started showing that we might have some snow the next week. A few days later, the meteorologists started talking about it and mentioned that we might get upwards of 6 inches. That's a good-sized snow for North Carolina, but I was suuuuper skeptical, given that the temps were in the 50's when this news started popping up. 

The night before our snow was supposed to come, I got a migraine. Now, this pregnancy has caused MANY, MANY migraines, so a migraine in and of itself is not all that interesting. However. This migraine was a very specific type- one I learned to recognize while living in Ukraine. One of my migraine triggers is barometric pressure changes, so I can often tell when the weather is shifting or a storm is coming, but having lived all of my life in the southeast United States before moving to Ukraine, I had almost no experience with a really big snow and what that might mean on the migraine front. On the eve of my very first really big snow in Ukraine, I got a migraine that made me think I was about to meet Jesus. It was a very specific, very unfamiliar kind of pressure/pain/nausea that was similar to my regular migraines but not exactly the same. But it was awful. And, I became very familiar with that brand of migraine (Ukraine gets a lot of snow) and could predict with 100% accuracy when we were going to get a lot of snow.

All that to say, I got one of those migraines this January. 

And guys, we didn't get 6 inches of snow. We got 13 inches of snow. In North Carolina.


The beginning.

The first outing!

The timing of the snow was somewhat unfortunate, given that we were all rather sick. I had been in bed for almost a week with the flu (yes, I got the flu shot) and could barely move because of a pulled rib muscle (all the coughing), Brad had been battling a sinus infection + ear infection for several weeks, the girls had just come down with colds, and Lily had just started antibiotics for an ear infection. Needless to say, we were in fine form. I had reservations about letting them go outside being so sick, but we don't get this kind of snow often, so we bundled them up really well and limited their time outside to short intervals here and there. They weren't so sick that they couldn't enjoy it, but they were sick enough that they were ready when it was time to come in.

Thankfully, we actually had snowsuits the right size for each girl. We don't, however, have gloves or boots made for snow (we just don't need them enough to justify buying some each year/each size). So, we put sandwich bags under Lily's mittens and latex gloves over Claire's. This worked marvelously well. We tied grocery sacks around both girls' feet, put Claire in her rain boots, and just put Lily's non-snow-resistant boots on, trusting the bag and double layer of socks to do their jobs. Which they did. Everyone stayed quite dry.

My happy snow bear.

Snowman building.

Finished product. He never got decorated because everyone was ready to come in. Full disclosure, I put on all the layers and snow gear and went outside, but I only lasted about 5 minutes because I felt so bad. Brad snapped several pictures for me, though.

Lamp post. I'm sure Narnia was just waiting for us.

The stretch of yard that runs behind the row of houses we're a part of.

Piling higher and deeper. The girls' tricycle in barely sticking up out of it.

Mini snowman she made all by herself!

Snapped this the next morning. Claire was trying to rescue the tricycle.

Our "backyard" again.

The sun came out the next morning, and it wasn't nearly so cold. We all got out to try some sledding (we do, in fact, have a sled).

Front yard. That's the van. One day, I'd like to have a garage...

That's slightly over 13 inches. That is legit snow.

And this is how we spent most of our days trapped at home. We watched a LOT of movies. As you should when granted snow days. :)

Thank you, Lord, for a good snow for the girls! And thank you, also, that we didn't have to live in it for too, too long.