Fighting Back Against Family Sick Days
Quiet rasping snores from my five year old at the table caught my attention. His yogurt sat untouched beside him, blonde tousled head resting on a green-striped right arm, while his feet curled into chair rungs below him. A moment later, his body startled awake and I carried him, protesting, to bed.
For two days, our family has slouched glassy-eyed on the couch, watching reruns of The Cosby Show and Phineas and Ferb. Fevers and hacking coughs have united us. We fill each others’ water bottles, sanitize and hand off the thermometer, and apportion the couch syrup between us. Taking turns, we make quick easy food or see to other needs, before returning weakly to the couch. My five year old has become a junkie, asking me for the “blue stuff” every few hours, his chewable grape-flavored fever-buster. A flushed camaraderie grows between the four of us as we layer legs across blankets on the couch, and click from one episode to the next.
John calls us from college, his voice a matching gravel to ours, and we compare symptoms, calculating potential end dates for him. “I’m drinking lots of water, Mom, and trying to sleep a lot,” he says raspy over the phone.
I woke up this morning feeling better than the past few days, and kicked into gear. After two days of paltry buttered bread slices, raisins, and yogurt, we were ready for something else. Topping off Morgan’s water bottle, giving Mark a chance to nap, and snuggling with Daniel, I swigged from my own green water bottle, and scoured the fridge and cupboards for meal ideas for the day.
What helps on family sick days? Wanting an assortment of easy, healthy food in reach is always our biggest lament when everyone is weak on the couch. Knowing my energy supply might be fleeting, I quickly sliced an array of carrots, purple cabbage, celery, green pepper, and mushrooms, and set the platter on the couch next to my two kids. (I know. Those aren’t necessarily our first choices either, but it was all that was left in the fridge. The apples, bananas, and oranges had been eaten earlier in the week.) Selecting the rapid button on our white box, I whirred the bread machine to a start. Fresh bread would make lunch easier, I reasoned.
As cartoons streamed from the living room tv nearby, I watched my kids nibble vegetables, and peeled and diced gnarled-limb garden parsnips, a wrinkled but still sweet rutabaga, and added them to minced garlic and onion for a slow cooked meat stew for supper. Sprinkling in oregano, rosemary, and two bay leaves, I cinched on the lid, wiped off counters, and added to my compost bucket, excited about next year’s dirt I was making.
I’m thankful to be feeling much better and see the end in sight for us all. There are fewer of us on the couch now, and more times when we head off on temporary tasks or adventures around the house. Blue pill junkie? He’s cracking jokes, beating me in Uno, and downstairs playing video games now. Daughter has picked up her art sketch pad again, and Mark is relaxing with a game now too. The fragrance of hot fresh bread wafts through the house as I type to you. Have a great week!
Has illness hit your home this month? What helps your family through it?