Monday, September 19, 2011

The Blessing of Sickness

Last Wednesday Megan came into the kitchen and said, "I'm cold and my head hurts!" Sure enough, she had a fever. More troubling was that she had a mild rash on her feet. The next morning, it was covering her stomach. My immediate thought was "hand, foot and mouth disease" which has frequent outbreaks in China, and which had been traveling around the community here. To my knowledge, Megan didn't have any contact with the kids I know who've had it, but apparently you can be a carrier and not know, and we had 5 families at our house on Monday night so it could have been any of them.

Unfortunately, Thursday was a co-op day, and the day when our kids' very close friends returned from a 3 month absence. Being restricted from those activities was torture for Megan, even more so than the high fever or spread of the rash across her body.

When I first called the doctor and described her symptoms, he told me it wasn't HFM but just a viral rash. By the next day, I knew he was wrong (and so did he, when he called to check on her) because ugly blisters had formed on her feet, hands, and in and around her mouth.

By Saturday night, Ethan came in and said, "I'm really tired" with that look feverish kids have. By the morning his throat hurt and he had sores in his mouth. Then last night, I thought, "Wow, my head really hurts!" I don't know that I have HFM because I've been coughing a lot and my nose is getting stuffed up which are not symptoms, but I'm obviously sick.

So what to do? This thing is crazy contagious, like chicken pox contagious. We've cancelled all activities this week and I called my helper to tell her to stay away this week (though unfortunately she was here Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday before I realized what Megan really had). She actually told me that if she came and someone from her son's school found out, he would have to stay away from school for 2 weeks!

So at least for the next week, we can't see anyone or go anywhere. I'm a little baffled as to how we are going to get groceries, but aside from that I am actually a little excited about this. Having such an open schedule means we can do all those things that normally get squeezed out - reading for hours, doing crafts (we've already attempted to make a bowl out of tissue paper stuck to a balloon), science experiments, baking, whatever. I'm sure they'll be a certain amount of disinfecting the house and watching Netflix to pass the time thrown in there.

What's most exciting though is that we realized this is the perfect time to get our promised dog! As soon as I feel up to it, there's a little guy at the market we've had our eye on for a couple weeks. Last night I ordered some essentials for him off the internet and they should come within 48 hours. So probably some of today will involve preparing for that.

There's something of a blessing in this I think, if we look at it that way. I think it might be kind of fun (ask me again in about 5 days if I still think that). :)

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