The cleaning was innocent at first and then became something of an obsession. I attacked every surface with bleach and more bleach. Then I made buckets of chicken soup. I fed the baby. We were both living in a petri-dish of flu and there was nowhere to go and no one to help us. We were the last two people standing.
On the third day my sister called cheerfully from Minnesota. “Oh wow. So sorry we didn’t make it this year!” And then she quickly hung up just in case the flu germs could travel over the phone lines.
Days went by. It was a flu of epic proportions. Soup. Crackers. Checking foreheads. Cleaning. Washing soiled laundry. It was all me. IT. WAS. ALL. ME.
My family began to slowly re-emerge. My son continued to have high fevers so I took him into urgent care on that Saturday. We sat for hours. He had a ruptured ear drum so they gave him antibiotics.
My mom started to have a cough that sounded bad and was keeping her awake all night. I took her to urgent care on that Sunday. We sat for hours. She had bronchitis and was put on antibiotics.
My son had a reaction to the antibiotics and began to puke and anything that came out the other end burnt his skin raw and red. I placed him in the shower to wash him off and was completely freaked out when I saw how skinny he looked. I took him back to urgent care.
At urgent care, I was told by a nurse that me and another nurse would need to help hold my son down while they gave him an antibiotic shot in his butt because it was going to be really painful. My poor, skinny, dehydrated little boy cried so hard from that needle that he ended up getting a bloody nose. He was the most pitiful creature I had ever seen and I think at that point I might have promised him a pony.
Finally! Everyone began to recover. After 10 days (and only 3 days left of vacation) my son ATE FOOD. And he was able to go outside. And so we took him to the zoo. And the park. And he was able to see some freaking palm trees.
When he got back to kindergarten, he was told to write a story about what he did over Christmas vacation and this is what he wrote:
Translation: This Christmas I got sick and I had to get a needle in my butt. It was this big————–. And I had a lady lay on me.