Be it the flu or swine flu or maybe the black death – a plague has befallen our house! Or, well, yes, still my in-laws house as we are STILL living there. My Mother in law got sick about a week ago with cold symptoms. She was very nervous about getting the baby sick and therefore completely quarantined herself to her room for several days. We changed up our work schedules for childcare and it all seemed OK. Until my husband came home with a cold on Friday morning. He’d worked 24 with his fever spiking at 102.5 in the middle. He’s not one to go to the doctor or admit illness readily, so either he was really worried about infecting the baby or he was really really sick. His flu test came back negative, but, as the test apparently has a high false negative, the doctor diagnosed flu based on his symptoms. (I later learned that all flu currently diagnosed is assumed to be swine flu because we’re not seeing seasonal flu yet and apparently the test isn’t sensitive enough to distinguish.) As the munchkin had been a bit stuffy for a couple of days, we decided she needed a trip to the pediatrician – just to be safe.
Our normal practice on taking her to the doctor is that one of us sits in the car with her while the other waits in the waiting room. When we’re called, we all come in. That way she doesn’t sit in the petrie dish that is a pediatrician’s waiting room. I know this may sound overly paranoid, but our daughter was born in February – smack dab in flu season. I’d had the flu the year before and wound up with quite a bad case (throat so sore the doctor prescribed vicadin for the pain (OK, so even I thought that was extreme), no voice for almost a week, throwing up, IV liquids – all that fun). We didn’t want to risk exposing our 4 day old at her first doctor visit, so the doctor actually suggested this procedure. As it worked and seemed like a good idea, we’ve stuck with it. Anyway, as my husband was sick, he couldn’t come along, so my mother in law took car duty instead and therefore came in to the appointment.
The doctor took one look at my laughing, squealing daughter and looked at me like – lady, you are completely crazy to bring this obviously perfectly healthy child in for fear that she has the flu. I explained that I didn’t really think she had the flu, but she did have cold symptoms and had definitely been exposed to the flu (which is, of course, very dangerous for someone her age). I know, I know! I’m a paranoid first time Mom! But still! Anyway, I was very glad to hear that she just had a mild upper respiratory infection and it was no big deal.
So now we just wait for the rest of the house to recover. My mother in law is beyond any contagion stage (apparently her doctor said that she had the flu, but not the swine flu), so she’s watching the little monkey while I work, but still trying to get extra rest when I’m home. My husband is mostly feeling better (mostly), but still not allowed near her. So he’s been sheepishly observing what he’s referred to as my ‘single parenting’ the last few days as he avoids coming near the baby. And, I have to admit – it’s been exhausting. Even when he does a shift of 24, I’m often left to wonder – how do single parents do it? There are so many things going on at once! Those moments when the baby is dirty and hungry and needs me, but the dog also needs to go out and I’d really like to make it to the bathroom and maybe have some breakfast myself – but I’m trying to pump before I get the baby so we have enough supply! There enough to drive you over the edge – and make me very grateful that that is not my every day.