Friday, December 24, 2010

Past Deadline: Lamenting the Ickies

This fall has been a bit of a nightmare when it comes to the ickies in our house. Is it just me or does it seem to be harder to shake colds anymore? Have you all had the version that comes with “The Cough” that won’t go away? For some of us it lasted for several weeks before disappearing. Others were lucky enough to have it turn into bronchitis or a wicked sinus infection.

At our house, despite washing our hands until they bled, we managed to contract that cold earlier in the fall. The coughing was deafening. Afterwards, just to be original, I felt compelled to follow it up with laryngitis, which made me sound a bit like Joan Rivers. It made delivering an hour-and-a-half lecture to one of my classes slightly difficult, albeit somewhat amusing.

The fun thing about laryngitis is the sympathy factor. I had it for several days, but I actually didn’t feel too bad during the worst of it. Nevertheless, as soon as I opened my mouth and croaked out whatever it was I had to say, I was immediately showered with concern and sympathy. It gave me the warm fuzzies.

Another fun ailment that showed up at our place this fall was pink eye. Conjunctivitis is rabidly contagious, of course, and was spreading through the kids’ school. Girlchild acquired it first. Just when we thought we had it licked, it showed up for a second time.

This time we all washed our hands to the bone, but Boychild succumbed as well. I kept looking at my own eyes suspiciously for a while, but determined they were merely bloodshot from lack of sleep.

After that round of ickies swept through the house, we all took deep breaths, washed our hands until they disappeared, and ventured out into the world once more, only to return with some sort of gastro thingy that, apparently, is also making the rounds at the kids’ school.

My favourite. Sigh.

There appeared to be two different manifestations of this ailment, and I am desperately hoping that they are the same bug. I won’t get into the details except to say that Girlchild and the adults were afflicted with the tidier version, whilst Boychild’s was less contained and required a much greater level of clean up, especially in the middle of the night. (This means I still look as if I have pink eye.)

This particular icky also seemed to be super contagious, and I lived in fear. I was scheduled to take a bus trip to Ottawa for a press conference on Parliament Hill on Thursday, and I spent the days prior dodging bullets. I washed my arms off (which made it really difficult to work), sprayed myself with Lysol and wrapped myself in bubble wrap to prevent ickies from infiltrating.

I put my colleagues on alert: my house was under siege by germs and although I was desperately hopeful to avoid them, it appeared to be a somewhat majorly virulent strain that was showing no mercy.

Cell phone numbers were exchanged in the event of my last-minute, unavoidable absence. Somehow I figured they would want to see me about as much as I would want to see them if I succumbed to the ickies.

On the morning of the bus trip, Boychild declared in a very visual way that he was still unwell. Groom-boy also stayed home that day, as his version of the ickies returned. Somehow Girlchild and I managed to get out of the house unscathed. I felt that it was only through some sort of miraculous intervention that I was able to get to the bus and get through the day.

As I write this it would appear (I sincerely hope) that we have cleared that particular hurdle and now we are bracing for whatever nasty pestilence awaits. After all, it’s not even winter yet, and already it has been a particularly sickly season.

I would like to believe we’re just getting through the worst of it early, but I’m sceptical. Now please excuse me while I cover the children in bubble wrap and put a plastic sheet over the house.
Published in The Perth Courier, Dec. 16/10

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