It’s been a rough week at our house. Just as I was getting over my month-long cold, my daughters got sick. It started last Friday with a bad case of conjunctivitis in my two-year old’s left eye. The next day my four-year old’s right eye was red and swollen, and by that evening they had both spiked fevers. My husband flew across the country on a business trip the following afternoon.
We spent the next thirty-six hours almost entirely cooped up in our tiny house. We did go for a walk on Monday morning; it was a beautiful day and the girls rode in the stroller, bundled in soft brown blankets and equipped with sippy cups and extra tissues. Nonetheless, they were fussy and crying by the time we got home half an hour later. We made towers out of blocks and necklaces out of beads, we read books and drew pictures. It was all fun enough, but by Tuesday afternoon, I was exhausted and grumpy, desperate for space and silence. I put the girls in front of the TV and went to take a shower.
This blog has been quiet for a few days, as I have been sick. I’ve had a head and chest cold for almost 4 weeks, and it got bad enough to land me in urgent care yesterday. One chest x-ray and a blood test later, it was determined that while I don’t have pneumonia, my asthma has been triggered for the first time in years. I came home with prescriptions for some heavy duty meds, including prednisone (an oral steroid), two inhalers, and cough medicine with codeine.
The good news is that my cough disappeared pretty quickly. The bad news is that the prednisone kept me up all night long. As I lay in bed, trying to sleep, I meditated, first by following my breaths, then by counting backwards from 100—anything to keep my concentration focused and my mind from wandering to the past and worrying about the future, which is where it naturally wants to go. (For the record, I never got lower than 75 before my thoughts got the better of me, and often I wouldn’t even make it to 95. But the point of mindfulness practice isn’t to get right, it’s just to keep coming back.)
After almost an hour of that, I got to thinking. I’ve been sick for quite awhile now. For the past 3 weekends, my husband has had to take on the bulk of the parenting while I rested. I’ve had to cancel plans, and I certainly haven’t been able to be fully present or available for my family and friends. My body is clearly trying to tell me something, and it’s not good news. Yes, I’ve been meditating somewhat regularly, and working out a few times a week, but clearly that’s not enough. Something else needs to change.