Saturday, December 29, 2007

I Can See the Sun Again!

The sun is shining again. Okay, it's not, actually, but I feel like it is. I've come out of a four-week bout of whooping cough (pertussis), and suffice to say that it got worse before it got better. The only thing remaining is a bit of a headache at night and in the morning, along with a light cold. I'll take that any day!

I sent no Christmas cards or Christmas letters this year. I was too busy surviving, and I almost didn't get out to buy gifts for the children. But Santa miraculously found the Wii they wanted, so I was covered.

I'm excited about the coming new year. Yes, it's an author's dream: a fresh, clean page to write on! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Monday, December 10, 2007

I Hate Snow

I hate snow. I really do. I didn’t used to hate it as a child. It was only mildly annoying because I’d have to put on shoes and a coat (though that was nice because I didn’t have to comb my hair). Yes, snow is fun to play in and beautiful at times to behold. Problem is that no matter how you dress up, it’s cold, and I don’t like being cold. I’ve never liked being cold. Give me heat any time!

Heat brings to mind sandy beaches, romance, and a stack of new books waiting for me to read. Cold is hands too frozen to unzip my coat. With toes that resemble chunks of ice. Snow is big puffy coats and gloves that make us look like the rotund Michelin tire mascot or the giant Stay Puft Marshmallow Man, the nemesis in the movie Ghostbusters. (Of course, marshmallows remind me of hot chocolate, which I love, but I’d rather sip hot chocolate from a mug at a beach condo than from a thermos at the ski resort any day.)

As a parent of teens, my dislike of snow has now evolved into open animosity. Some days I can be seen shaking my fist at the falling flakes as I stand freezing on the porch. Why? I’ll give you one hint: driving and teens. Have you ever waited up wondering if your child was going to make it home from work or school through the storm? Have you ever passed your son booking carelessly down a hill that is so slippery for your car can’t even make it to the top. Have you ever driven with a daughter who seems to have no consciousness of the speed limit? If so, you’ll hate snow too—at least until they’re all grown up and gone from home. If you have six children like me, that’ll be right about the time you’ll start worrying about slipping on the ice and breaking a hip.

You've Got To Be Kidding!

You won't believe this. I didn't. I've been diagnosed with pertussis, commonly called whooping cough. Apparently the immunization I had as a child is no longer doing its job! Fortunately, I caught the disease during the early stages and took a specific antibiotic which not only makes it so I can’t pass it on to others, it may considerably lessen the recovery period. Normally, pertussis takes from four to eight weeks to run its entire course. The disease starts with cold-like symptoms, and usually by the time you suspect that something is seriously wrong, it’s too late to do much about it.

The day before I started feeling symptoms, the family I got it from called me and told me they suspected they had pertussis because they’d been sick for weeks and a family in their neighborhood, who had contact with their children, had been positively diagnosed with the disease. Still, I wasn’t at all worried. After all, I’d had my share of illness recently (see previous entry). Whooping cough was definitely not on my agenda.

The next day I started feel achy and stuffy, and after another day I went into the doctor and told him I’d been exposed to whooping cough, mostly because the mother of that family was feeling so worried and guilty. I began taking the antibiotic, even though I’d be finished with it before the blood test came back. I’ve never been a big believer in fixing what isn’t broken, but the threat of eight weeks recovery helped me make the choice!

Good thing I did. The tests came back positive. I was stunned. My cold symptoms had slowly become a bit better, and I hadn’t started coughing horribly. I was weak and tired, but that’s normal for a cold. Yikes! Since then the coughing has stepped up more, but at least I’m not contagious. I’m praying my children and husband don’t get this. If any of them start to feel achy with a cold, I’m taking them in. Meanwhile, I’ll just sit here and cough for a few more weeks.