So it appears I've developed a case of severe paranoia when it comes to illnesses. And it's really annoying, because it makes me all panicky and even impacts how I'm feeling physically... psychosomatic, maybe? It's making me nuts. This time of year is especially bad, because everywhere I turn I'm hearing about sick people. Everyone's talking about their sick kids on Facebook, and just knowing the illnesses that Jacob's classmates come down with makes me downright nervous about it a good chunk of the time. When will the next illness strike, who will it strike, and who else will catch it?
Yesterday alone two friends on Facebook posted about their kids' stomach troubles, and one more had a kid with strep. One more popped up with a pukey kid today. So obviously the bugs are out there. I was so nervous in the days leading up to Christmas and New Year's that Jacob would get sick. I kept thinking that we were destined to have a repeat of last New Year's Day, when we spent most of the day catching Jacob's puke and then heading to the ER, and most of the rest of the week dealing with the other end. His little puking episode the Sunday before Christmas this year totally freaked me out and did nothing to calm my fears, even though he wasn't actually sick. Then when I felt crappy on New Year's Day, I was petrified again. Even when Jacob had his fever and no other symptoms, I was so concerned it would turn into more. Every time he coughed I held my breath and prayed it didn't have puke coming after it. How crazy is that? Am I so scarred from last year's experience that everything like that causes a little bit of panic in me?
Of course, I have a right to be concerned. That was a horrible week or so for all of us. Jacob puked for a day, Craig got sick 36 hours later, and I felt like crap for a whole week. I never puked but had one evening where I thought for sure it was coming. I got emptied out even without that, but suffice it to say that it was a truly awful period for all of us. Being sick is horrible, but as a parent it's even harder. How can you care for your child when you're so sick? I remember the insane fear I had when I had two separate episodes a month or two apart back when Jacob was only about nine months old. I think they both must have been food poisoning or something, but until I could surmise that, I was so scared to nurse him because I didn't want to pass along what I had to him via close contact. And both times Craig was working and I needed to call for help. To not be able to care for your own child is so hard. I live in constant fear of that, especially now that Craig's work has kicked into high gear and most of his weekends will be spent working and/or traveling. And it's hard to call people in. Happy as they are to help, there's got to be a nagging fear in the back of their minds that they'll get what you have. And I'd feel horribly guilty if they did.
There's just such a lack of control that happens when people around you are sick. One of the sick kids yesterday was the son of some friends of ours. He's four and they ended up taking him to the hospital with severe dehydration. I remember how scared we were of that with Jacob, and I can only imagine how they felt. Not only dealing with the sick child and the cleanup for a day and a half, but the pure fear of how sick he might be. All of it together is so much stress. And usually you're sleep deprived and that makes it even worse. And although this is a minor point, I always worry about some illness (mine or Jacob's) wiping out my sick days and leaving me defenseless next time an illness strikes. Then it starts digging into vacation days, and that's a bummer for an entirely different reason. But not having any control over how long someone is sick, how they feel, or in Jacob's case, where they deposit the results of their illness, is just misery for me.
So amidst all of this, last night Craig felt horrible when he came home. He had a terrible headache and his stomach was off. On top of that, Jacob was just whiny and cranky. He kept coming over to me and sitting on my lap, but then shoving off of me like he was uncomfortable. It was so odd. But after a day of hearing about sick people and coming home to the two of them, I suspected the worst. Even I started feeling less than great, though I'm not sure if something really was wrong or if any tiny little seed of a problem (like a little extra stomach activity) grew into more simply because I was stressed about what this might mean. As all of this was running through my head, I seriously panicked a bit. I just wanted to get up and run out the door, both out of fear of what it all might mean for the rest of our week, and a fear that I might catch something myself. I just couldn't handle it. Fortunately, Craig did eat some food and felt much better, and chalked it up to stress at work and exhaustion from a busy week of traveling and long days, and being up with Jacob the night before (another post for another day). Jacob seems to be fine, albeit a little off or cranky or something (again, part of that other future post). So it would appear that we dodged some sort of bullet for now. But just knowing the germs are out there freaks me out. I think I'm a little too lazy to become a true germaphobe, but maybe I should keep reminding myself how much being sick sucks and that laziness might disappear awfully quickly. Still, it's exhausting to think about. I know it's inevitable and I just shouldn't worry about it until it happens, but it's hard not to. But in the meantime, I think I might need hypnosis or something so I stop feeling like I'm the next victim every time I hear about a current one...