When Life Goes A Little Different Than Planned

We made it through Thanksgiving with no illness! It was wonderful – we visited with my sister from out-of-state, we had snuggles with our new niece, the kids played with all their cousins on my side, we ate so much delicious homemade food. Such a great weekend!

Then came last week. Iris was complaining her throat still hurt when she yawned (a symptom she had the week BEFORE Thanksgiving, which led to antibiotics for what the Urgent Care doctor thought would be strep but never returned a positive result). I was starting to worry that she did for sure have strep but that it never went away. I called our family doctor’s nurse and spoke with her about whether or not to make an appointment. Our doctor was packed with appointments but another doctor in the practice (that we really like) was available. So, we went in that afternoon; she checked Iris over and said she wanted to re-test for Strep and Mono. I was more worried about the Mono! But, she came back negative for that. She came back positive for Strep! Ugh. I thought we were done with this. 😦 So, she started on a 10 day round of antibiotics last Wednesday. She had to miss her Bible quiz practice as well as her AWANA club that night at church. Iris was very bummed. The nice doctor said if anyone else develops any symptoms, just schedule a nurse visit to swab for Strep rather than set up a whole appointment to meet with the doctor; she really understood the struggle getting five kids in and waiting to see the doctor!

On Friday, Ethan had a fever. I immediately called and set up a nurse visit. He was swabbed but was negative on the rapid test for Strep. I noticed he had some swollen gums, and I assumed it was just teething. (The 48 hour culture, we found out Monday, did indeed say negative. So, definitely not Strep.) But he seemed very out of sorts, too.

Sunday morning, Lily had a little bit of a tummy ache. She felt warm, but no fever or any other symptoms. She sat with me in church, while the other kids went to their Sunday School classes. When we got home….her temperature was 101. She didn’t have any more tummy issues and no new complaints. I gave her some fever meds and had her rest. That night was to be the Christmas celebration for Lily, Addy, and Buddy in their AWANA groups. Buddy was so excited to shake the jingle bells and sing songs. I had to call and say we wouldn’t be there (I am one of the leaders, and my husband was working late.). The kids were so bummed they were missing their Christmas party!! We did drop Iris off (now symptom-free and on meds for 4 days) for her choir practice; she was able to deliver our Christmas gifts to kids/teachers in AWANA.

Next, on Monday morning, Lily continued to have a fever. Then I noticed Buddy’s eyes were a little glassy. Sure enough…he had a fever too. Their fevers came down with medicine but creeped back up to 101-102 in between doses. I was starting to worry they caught Iris’ strep. But they had no other symptoms, so I let it go. Wednesday, they still had fevers on and off. So, we made a doctor appointment. She looked them over and saw one of Buddy’s ears was red inside – he might have an ear infection, she said. She prescribed an antibiotic. Lily’s ears were fine but her one tonsil seemed quite red. She might have strep, but the rapid test in the office screwed up and was “inconclusive.” So, she swabbed again for the 48 hour culture. Knowing Iris was finishing up her meds, she prescribed Lily some too to get started.

Iris was all good to go to her Christmas celebration at her AWANA club that night, so we picked up meds and dropped her off. I picked her up afterward, and she was so happy to have gone. We took two of her girlfriends home, and she chatted and giggled all the way home.

THE NEXT MORNING (yesterday), Iris came into our room crying that her head hurt so bad. She couldn’t lie down or sit up or close her eyes without it pounding. It was about 4:30 AM; Arthur was out running without his phone. I had Ethan in bed with me because he decided 4:00 was a good time to get up. I JUST WANTED TO SLEEP! Poor Iris was miserable, though. Got her some ibuprofen for the headache but worried, as usual. (I hate hearing that kids have headaches; it really freaks me out that something is wrong.)

Dad came home and Iris’ stomach was now hurting, too. She was crying and in pain. So, at 5:30 AM, Dad took Iris to Urgent Care. I had a suspicion of what it was, but I was REALLY hoping I was wrong. But….my worries were confirmed. She tested positive for Influenza A. 😦

Yes, we got our flu shots. No, I don’t want to argue about their effectiveness or their poison. I do it because we have two little boys that struggle when they have respiratory illnesses, and I want to avoid the harshness of the flu on their respiratory systems.

THANKFULLY, Iris’ symptoms were mild. Headache and tummy ache. No problem. Got her in bed. Got her some water and her Kindle. She was all set to stay quarantined for the day. No fever or cough or chills or body aches or stuffiness……until a few hours later. Her body hurt, she was freezing, she was to cover up with a million blankets. She developed a fever and a stuffy nose out of nowhere. Then she had a runny nose. The nurse said this would happen and that she would be contagious as long as she had the fever, sneezing, or a cough.

Addy started getting a fever before lunch, too. I decided to put the girls on their beds with something to do/play and keep the boys far from them. Then I started to wonder….could we have had this Flu last week and not even known? Online it says that sometimes ear infections in kids are a symptom or side effect of the flu. Could Buddy have had it?

Did Lily have it on Sunday and we didn’t know? They didn’t swab her for the flu on Wednesday, so she could have been walking around with it infecting other people! I started to feel really bad that we might have given this to others.

Then, we realized….Iris’ big Christmas Concert for choir is on Sunday, with a practice on Saturday. She was going to have to miss it all. 😦 Another thing we are missing. Another Christmas celebration we cannot attend.

I admit, I was getting pretty aggravated yesterday. Yes, I am so thankful we had Thanksgiving with my family. But, we have missed AWANA Christmas celebrations, Buddy missed his singing for the moms and dads, Iris is missing her big Christmas program for choir. We cannot even attend to see the orchestra or adult choir. We don’t get to see our Grandmas and Grandpas that planned to come watch Iris. We cannot go anywhere or do anything. And the kids are frustrated with the fevers and being so cold but not being able to cover up.

I wanted to be so much more involved with church, but it seems like everything we want to do gets shot down! Christmas Caroling is next Wednesday at church, but I am afraid to even want to plan to go….because we might have picked up some other illness by then!

I had big plans to work on my Melaleuca business the first half of this month (I mean, the membership is only $1!!! I wanted to be making calls and planning appointments to let people know!), but that got shot down because kids are crying or needing meds or not sleeping or fighting. I can’t meet with anyone because who knows what I’m carrying!

There are a lot of I‘s at the beginning of those sentences above. I realize that. This is not about me….I have realized that. These poor kids’ bodies are fighting illnesses. We are trying to be smart about the meds – not filling the Tamiflu prescription because we didn’t feel it did much last year for us and didn’t want unnecessary meds ruining our immune system more. I am pumping these kids full of vitamins and fresh foods and smoothies with homemade yogurt (great probiotic to counteract the antibiotics’ effects on the gut!). We are drinking lots of water and broth. We are sanitizing with Melaleuca’s Sol-U-Guard (as effective as Lysol in killing influenza on surfaces…but without the toxins).

Just feeling a little defeated here with all our December plans and nothing really working out. 😦

I did not get yesterday’s post up for the Organized Home series. My plans to schedule that post were ruined also (not that the posts are all that important compared to my kids’ health and comfort). I am missing a cookie exchange tonight in the neighborhood, too!

This post doesn’t have much of a point. Just typing out my frustrations. I am tired. The kids are bored, feverish, not wanting to do school work. Laundry is starting to pile up because instead of washing clothes yesterday, I washed linens…and linens…and more linens!!

Ok, now that I got all the frustration out….I do have TWO things from yesterday that absolutely made my day:

1. The boys are not ill, so I kept them downstairs with me all day. Buddy and I got all the Christmas decorations up together! (yes, I realize we are very late in doing this…) I don’t think we would have set aside time to decorate at all if we hadn’t been stuck home yesterday. He got so excited finding spots for everything and helping me set up our village! It really was so fun being able to have one-on-one time with him and share in his excitement. We usually have the girls around when we do things together, so he doesn’t get the attention he got yesterday. I think he and I both really loved the bonding!!

2. I have LOTS of crochet time. Because we don’t have appointments or shopping or classes to be at, and the girls are all stuck in bed – I have been able to fill crochet orders! I received 3 more this week to finish up before Christmas, in addition to the 2 orders I had from last week! So, I am extremely thankful for that extra money this month.

I really want to be better about seeing the positive when things don’t go MY way. Sure, we are missing all kinds of Christmas parties and whatnot, but we are together at least. We have wonderful insurance that allows us to just run to Urgent Care at 5AM when we need to. We have access to healthy foods and local foods (been using LOTS of our local honey this week!!) to help boost our immune systems while we are taking medications. No one’s illness has been serious in any way. I know lots of kids struggle with the Influenza symptoms, but we have had it easy. So, I really shouldn’t complain.

Life just doesn’t go as we had planned sometimes. Makes me think of that verse: “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11) I know the Lord has bigger plans, and maybe He is trying to teach us to just enjoy being with each other. Or maybe He is keeping us from other, more serious, illnesses by missing out on those parties. Or maybe teaching me not to be so selfish. (nah!) 🙂

Another thing I thought of is that quote going around on Facebook – “If you knew the size of the blessing coming, you’d understand the magnitude of the battle you’re fighting.” I know our battle isn’t terribly huge, at all. I know there is a blessing here. Just gotta redirect my focus to see it.

Happy Friday everyone! Enjoy your health and your family!!

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