Posted by: Hannah | 02/18/2014

my plague, illustrated

On Wednesday morning last week, I started to feel unwell. Slightly feverish. Terrible body aches, especially along my spine and in my hips. Tickle in the throat.

Oh well, I thought, I guess I’m getting a cold. Dammit. I’m overdue for one, I guess.

By Wednesday evening I was feeling distinctly rotten. Stuffy nose. The throat tickle had graduated to a scratch. Michael took the older boys to swimming lessons and I struggled through the bath / bed routine with George. By the time they got home, I was bundled up on the couch in flannel pajamas, two pairs of socks, wooly slippers, my fuzzy bathrobe, two blankets, and a cup of tea… and I was still cold.

My blankets weren’t purple, but otherwise, this is pretty much it. Note the sad eyes. SO SAD.

Around 10PM the body aches got really severe, and migrated to my chest. The pain was so bad I was in tears.  I gulped down two extra-strength ibuprofen and hoped like hell I wouldn’t need to drive myself to the ER.

I drifted off into a fitful sleep for an hour or so, and when I woke up, I was drenched in sweat but the pain was completely gone. Huh, I thought, that was weird. Oh well! At least the fever broke! I should get some sleep. Tomorrow will be a busy day!

Thursday I did my usual frantic routine; preschool drop-off, followed by taking Daisy & George to the craft store, because Valentine’s Day was also a PD day at the boys’ school so I was staring down the barrel of seven kids for ten hours and needed supplies. A old friend from out of town was coming for dinner and an evening visit. Shit needed to get done, is what I’m saying.

At naptime I cleaned the bathroom. I noticed I had to keep sitting down to rest. I had no appetite. And I was coughing a lot. But denial is not just a river in Egypt, folks. I refused to give up. All of my clients had taken sick time of their own in the past couple of weeks, and I was very hesitant to make them take more.

I started humming the chorus Les Miserables’ One Day More on a continuous loop. I COULD DO THIS.

We had a pleasant visit on Thursday evening, although I did spend most of it under blankets with a box of tissues at hand.

Woke up Friday morning to a rain-soaked hellscape.

It being February of the coldest, stormiest winter in a decade, I hadn’t bargained on rain. Rain turned all the lovely snow to ice, slush, and mud. My fenced backyard was a morass of half-melted dog turds, mud puddles, and toys forgotten in the fall. I couldn’t put the kids outdoors to play.

I had developed a raging case of laryngitis overnight. I could barely speak above a whisper, never mind loud enough to be heard over the cacophony of seven children inexplicably excited over Valentine’s Day. To add insult to injury, I was sleep-deprived, as George had been up yelling for me several times in the night, scared of shadows and big bad wolves.

I am not a good caregiver when I’m tired and sick. It ends up looking kind of like this:

Only I ain’t picking anyone up because my arms are too weak and I’m afraid I’ll drop them.

By mid-afternoon I’d started running to the bathroom every few minutes in a mad panic, scattering children like bowling pins. I have never been so glad to see naptime. The big boys, however, had other ideas. I COULD NOT GET THEM TO BE QUIET. Nothing worked. Nothing. Cooped up indoors all day long, they were well-nigh insane with pent-up energy, and my whispered pleas, requests, and threats rolled off them without even slowing down.

All four littles were up again by 2:30 – a full hour earlier than they should have been, thanks to the continuous noise from the bigs. In a rage I didn’t have the voice to express, I made Harry – the worst culprit and also the Mayhem-Instigator – call Michael at work to get a lecture.

I didn’t eat dinner.

By 2AM I was huddled in the bathroom with a blanket. There were simply too many steps from my bedroom to the toilet. I just… stayed awake. I was afraid to go to sleep.

And that’s how it was. Every time I tried to ingest anything – clear liquids! flat ginger ale! chicken broth! PLAIN WATER FOR THE LOVE OF HEAVEN!! – I ended up in the bathroom twenty minutes later, wondering if it was actually possible that I’d contracted dysentery somehow.

Michael did his best, caring for the boys while I tried my best to take care of myself. I am not a good patient, ever; I always push myself too hard to try and get back on my feet, but this… I couldn’t shout it down, will it away, or force myself to get better faster. I just had to wait until it ran its course.

Sunday morning I woke up feeling kind of OK. I was getting pretty dehydrated, though. My lips were cracked and sore. I decided to try a popsicle, reasoning that it would take enough time to eat that maybe it wouldn’t cause my system to rebel. I didn’t feel well after I ate it, but it stuck around for a while, so I thought I’d try a glass of water.

That’s when I said “EFF THIS NOISE!” and emailed all my clients to tell them I’d be closed on Monday.


I’m feeling 100% better today, but I can honestly say I’ve never been that sick in my life. I spent Monday sitting cuddled on the couch with George, watching cartoons and reading. I got a solid seven hours sleep last night and woke today refreshed. 



  1. Ugh, ugh, ugh. So sorry.

  2. You poor poor thing. I do hope you are feeling a lot better.

  3. Aww feel better! Sounds terrible 😦

  4. BLERGH. That is NOT awesomesauce. Drama llama is RIGHT.

  5. You have my sympathy, friend. Been varying degrees of sick since last Saturday and on the slow way to recovery, but nowhere near as sick as you’ve been from the sound of it. I can also relate to the whole feeling-guilty-about-taking-a-sick-day thing, as whenever I call in sick all my classes have to be rescheduled as there’s no one else here who can teach them for me. Hope your WELL-DESERVED sick day was helpful and that you’re feeling better!

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