I've been out of commission for the past few days. I got sick a little over a week ago and tried to fight through it but by last Thursday, it was clear I was going downhill fast.
1) I completely lost my voice which makes it impossible to do anything, especially parenting.
2) I had a dry cough so constant and excrutiating, it was more annoying for the people around me than it was for me.
No, that's total crap. It was 1000X worse for me, but you'd never know it, what with Mike's aggravated bed shifting every time I had a coughing fit in the middle of the night.
At some point last week, it got so bad that I couldn't even lie down. Lying down instigated more coughing. The only thing that soothed my cough was drinking hot water with honey, so that's what I did. ALL NIGHT LONG.
I did not sleep a wink in three days.
Three nights of constant coughing with no sleep meant my ears started to feel hot and clogged and my head felt like it was going to explode.
Plus, my coughing fits were turning into scary weezing attacks where I thought I couldn't breathe. At one point, I was in a car and made the driver pull over because I thought I was going to die. Then I stood on the side of the road in the freezing cold until I caught my breath.
I am not a hypochondriac and I hate sympathy, so please trust me when I say—it was awful.
The doctor said it was a shitstorm of acid reflux, post nasal drip and especially sensitive vocal chords. She might have said "perfect storm" but I think "shitstorm" seems more representative. She also thought I was having anxiety attacks when I thought I couldn't breathe which was making everything worse.
In addition to doubling up the crapload of medication I was already taking, she told me I had to stop speaking and ordered me to "go home and rest".
"That's hilarious. You're aware I have two children, right? A one-year-old and a four-year-old?"
"I know it's not easy, but that's what you need to do."
I asked her how long she thought it would take to get better and she said, "Honestly? It depends on how seriously you take my advice to rest and not speak".
I told Mike what the doctor said and he agreed, "It's time for you to take a break". Except I knew when he said "take a break", he meant from work.
Has anybody ever tried to "take a break" at home with small children present? Even if a caregiver or a spouse is in the house?
Especially in a two bedroom apartment, where every fit and tantrum is happening directly outside your door.
I told Mike that if I really was going to "take a break", it needed to be from the kids too.
"I must ignore my children. My health depends on it."
Because Mike was away from work, my mother came Thursday night to sleep over, our nanny came Friday during the day and then Mike was on single dad duty from the second he walked in the door Friday evening.
For the first time, since I had Mazzy four years ago— I rested in my own home.
I slept. I watched the final season of Fringe. I caught up on the new season of Girls. I did not blog. I did not answer emails. I did not work on any business related stuff. And I ignored the crap out of my children.
There were tantrums. There was crying that went unattended. But I did not rise to see if I could put an end to it quicker than whoever was dealing with them on the other side of my bedroom door.
There was also lots of laughter and compelling things happening on the other side of that door, but I did not rise for those either.
And I tried my best not to feel guilty about missing both the good and the bad.
I even waited for everyone to leave the apartment before I emerged from my hole and fixed myself some soup.
And yes, I appreciate that I am very lucky to have the people in place to make this happen. If I were a stay-at-home mom without nearby family, I imagine this scenario would be way way harder.
On Sunday, I woke up after two full days of dropping out and realized my doctor was right. Rest is truly the best medicine. My head was clear, my cough was subsiding and my voice was clearly on the mend.
I wish I could say the same for Mike.
Poor thing went to bed with the beginnings of a Man Cold last night.