in sickness and in hell

Overall I’m a pretty healthy person. Lots of it is just dumb luck, really. I wash my hands, I try to remember to use antibacterial gel when I leave stores (because OMG GROSS) and I take my vitamins. But now and then, no matter what we do, we ALL get sick. It’s inevitable (even moreso once you have kids in your house who bring home fun germs from daycare and preschool!)

For the past three weeks, our house has been filled with the sounds of coughing, hacking, sniffling, and general whining. Dan was first, then me and the girls. The main complaint has been this awful, nagging cough that will just NOT. GO. AWAY. Dan’s is finally just about gone. Mine turned into a sinus/upper respiratory infection that required 5 days of antibiotics to clear my head. At one point during one night when Audrey woke up, I was so dizzy from my stuffy head, I ran into a wall. And for a while, my coughing was so bad that my ribs and ab muscles were ACHING. During one coughing fit, I felt something POP in my neck/throat. I just… I never knew the human body could produce so much phlegm. I mean REALLY. (You are welcome for the TMI, by the way.) And I almost DIED choking on a cough drop in the middle of the night.


I think Audrey got away without anything too awful- a cough and some sniffles for a week or so. She’s quite the trooper, I gotta say. Maggie still has the cough and just last night and today is complaining about ear pain and she’s got ‘yuckies’ in her nose. I scheduled a doctor’s appointment for tomorrow. It’s been over 2 weeks for her and enough is enough.

(This is where I point out that she is almost 4 and a half and I think this is only her 2nd ear infection ever. Pretty darn impressive considering she’s been in daycare part time since she was 10 weeks old. Also: formula fed from 6 weeks on. Ahem.)

Aaaaaaanyway, through this whole coughing thing, we’ve been going about our daily lives because really, it hasn’t knocked us out so much that we can’t function. I’ve been sending the girls to daycare because let’s be realistic, I cannot keep them home for three weeks! That’s just not practical. Momma’s gotta work. But what really sucks? IT IS SUMMER. We should not be this sick in the summer. Being sick sucks. Being sick in the summer? Double sucks. I think we can all agree on that.

This whole fun experience got me thinking about all the times I’ve been sick (not counting when I was 10 and had kidney surgery– that wasn’t just your average germfest) and I started ranking them. Because apparently coughing your brains out for days and days and days makes you very contemplative about illness.

1. Mono. I was 16. I missed a couple of weeks of school and then I think I went half days for a couple of weeks. And it took me MONTHS to feel normal again. All I could do was go to school and then come home and take a nap. Which is not normal for a 16 year girl. My throat and glands were so swollen I remember the secretary in our school office commenting on how large my neck looked because apparently it was VISIBLE from the outside. EW. I was a hot mess, man. Not recommended. Definitely ranks at the top.

2. Shingles. This one wasn’t so much awful as it was WEIRD. I was 17. There was a theory that it was all tied to the mono I’d had the previous year, weakening my immune system and giving me shingles. Old people get shingles! I missed some school, mostly because I had to be careful who I exposed to the virus (in case you aren’t aware, it’s related to the chicken pox) I had a rashy thing on my side/back where the virus had infected a nerve. And maybe a fever? I remember a headache and a backache. Bizarre.

3. Bronchitis. I’ve had it twice REALLY bad. Once in college. I was sitting in an evening lecture and I could actually FEEL my body giving in to The Sick. Within 20 minutes, I swear, I was sweating and shivering and coughing. I stumbled my way back to my dorm in the swirling snow (FREEEEEZING temperatures, middle of January? I think?) and collapsed in my bed for like three days. The next time was the year after we got married, New Years Eve. I remember ringing in 2003 by coughing so hard on the couch that I seriously thought I was going to see blood coming up. HAPPY NEW YEAR, HONEY!

4. Stomach flu. I am not a puker. I went twelve years without puking. (WHERE’S MY MEDAL??) Two pregnancies, VERY strong nausea. No puking. I hate it and I will fight it SO. HARD. But there are times when… yeah. It’s just not possible. My streak ended a few years ago (pre-Maggie) when I caught some nasty thing around my birthday. Then when Maggie was around two, Dan and I BOTH caught something (from her, of course. She likes to share!) Both parents, down for the count, with a now-healthy-toddler running around the house? Not ideal, my friends. The last time was in April after we got home from Vegas. Apparently my punishment for having a fun trip is fever and the shakes and puking for two days. Lesson learned!

5. This Cough Thing. Yup. It makes the cut. Not so much for the severity of it or that it incapacitated me for days like some of the other illnesses. But because it is FREAKING ANNOYING. And anytime you are sick with ANYTHING for ANY length of time with two kids to chase after? Sucks.

What are your worst sicknesses? Also: go wash your hands.икони на светци


  1. Laura

    August 8, 2011 10:14 pm

    I have one: chicken pox. I was relatively older (4th grade) and I had the worst case ever in existence and was sick for a week straight. I still have tons of ugly scars, and not only that, but my brother caught it from me – the 2nd time in his life he had it – and since he was MUCH older (21 I believe) he had it even WORSE, internal pox, etc – NO BUENO. I would give Andrew a thousand vaccinations if it means he could avoid that (and hopefully he will).

    Also, I am super thankful that’s all I have to list.

    • Jen

      August 8, 2011 10:29 pm

      oh YES. Chicken pox. Forgot about that one. I had it pretty bad as well- not so much the spots, but I remember having a really high fever and feeling so awful. I was older too, 4th grade!

  2. tristina

    August 8, 2011 11:02 pm

    worst ever? acute, severe viral bronchitis and, if that wasn’t enough, pink eye in BOTH eyes. all at the same time! wheeeeee!

  3. Andrea

    August 8, 2011 11:11 pm

    Does recovery from a c-section count? ’cause I couldn’t laugh for a month.

    How about hangovers? ’cause I’ve had a few doosies.

    Then I’d have to go with headaches. I wouldn’t say they’re migraines, but occasionally I get severe headaches that last days. No fun.

    I’ve had the coughing so hard my abs huuurt before. That Sickness sucks! :(

    I aldso had chicken pox as a little kid, but don’t remember it b/c I was younger…

  4. Melissa

    August 8, 2011 11:27 pm

    I rarely get sick for more than 24hrs–if there’s anything my body is good at, it’s got a strong immune system. But there WAS a time that George and I both had a horrible throat/cough/fever thing for 3 days DURING MIDTERMS WEEK (of course!) in the spring of our 2nd year of college. I even had 3 tests on one particular day, so I went to one professor and begged in a breaking, barely-whispering voice to reschedule it, and thankfully she did. I went to the clinic on campus and my throat culture was negative for strep, so it was just viral–but due to my fever and the stress of the timing during midterms, I also developed little fever blisters all over the inside of my mouth that hurt so bad they made me cry. Studying through all that was hell. And then after my last midterm I just went home and SLEPT for like 2 days straight, lol.

  5. Ashley

    August 9, 2011 2:23 am

    awe man. We got sick april 4th of this year as soon as it started getting warm, we passed it around for a month me catching it TWO different times and getting an ear infection that lasted a month on it’s own.

    Got sick again the week of 4th of july.

    being sick sucks… but when it’s hot outside even more so.

  6. Jessica

    August 9, 2011 4:58 am

    When my daughter was 9 months, she brought home a nasty illness that basically caused our whole heads to be infected. We both had double ear infections, a sinus infection, and pink eye in both eyes. Plus your standard sore throat/stuffy nose. And it kept coming back! Both of us took multiple courses of antibiotics because our ears or eyes would clear up, then get reinfected. She was nursing, so I had to do the bulk of caring for her even though i was sick and my husband wasn’t. Most miserable month of my life.

  7. Jessica

    August 9, 2011 5:00 am

    Oops, messed up the email and URL.

  8. tehamy

    August 9, 2011 8:02 am

    Two illnesses come to mind. The first wasn’t that bad, just really bad timing. The second was bad timing but I was SO sick.

    I got the chicken pox on Valentine’s Day 1987. I was nine years old. And it was my grandparents 50th Wedding Anniversary. We were getting ready to drive 4ish hours for a huge surprise anniversary party for my grandparents. My whole family missed it because of me.

    The second was when Xander was just about 4 months old. Jack had brought home a horrid stomach bug and spent the better part of 3 days sick as heck. Once he started to recover, my husband and I started to get sick. I was so sick. I couldn’t stand up without feeling nauseous. I was incredibly dizzy. So dizzy that I didn’t trust myself to hold Xander. (Oh, and I had my 1st period after having Xander) Thankfully, my SIL canceled her weekend plans and took the baby for the night. After some much needed sleep, I was doing much better. Of course then our hot water tank died, but that’s a whole other story.

  9. K

    August 9, 2011 10:09 am

    When T and I started dating, I once got the flu so, so badly. Crazy aches (in my back which was horrible), raging fever, couldn’t even climb the stairs. It was bad news bears.

    A year or so later I then got double ear infections, a head cold and bronchitis all at once. It was bleak and felt like death was imminent.

    I haven’t been THAT sick since–minus the 24 hour bug or a head cold here and there. Having kids has given me a constitution of STEEL.

    • Jen

      August 11, 2011 11:48 am

      Every time I feel something coming on, as a mom, I’m all: NO. NO. NOOOOO. Sometimes I think my sheer force of will makes the germs go away. They’re scared of me! heh

  10. PinkieBling

    August 9, 2011 11:18 am

    MONO!!!!! I caught it when I was some ridiculous age like 25 or 26. I was diagnosed with it about a week before I left for a cruise. I had strep at the same time. Straight MISERABLE. The worst part is that it kept flaring up over the following years. That, or it turned into Epstein-Barr.

    I had an earache last fall that was unreal. I don’t think I’d had one since I was a kid. I hit up the InstaCare and was dancing in line at Walgreen’s, holding my ear, because I couldn’t keep still while they filled my prescriptions. I have possibly never loved Lortab more than when it kicked in later that night.

    Hope you’re all fixed up SOON! Summer sickness is a cruel joke.

  11. jesser

    August 9, 2011 11:36 am

    OK So first I have to say how glad I am to hear about another daycare going, mostly formula fed baby (mine were half and half for about 5 mos) that isn’t sickly! There are tons, I swear, but you just don’t hear about them and then you get snide asses at the doctor’s office who ask you if you’re still breast feeding when baby has her (only, I might add) ear infection at 9 mos and you say you made it to 5 and she says, “6 would have been better.”

    That aside, I had a WICKED bad flu one Christmas break during college. I was down for the count and I had to beg my mom to go get me drugs because she was so insane about Christmas she didn’t want to take the time. That makes my mom sound awful, but really she’s awesome … she just gets a bit nuts sometimes.

    Also, while birthin my first baby, I spiked a 104 fever, shook really really badly and threw up all of my ice chips thanks to an infection. It didn’t last long but it was pretty scary at the time.

    I have the same damn cough thing and it sucks. Had it this spring too. WTF? Hope you feel better soon.

    • Jen

      August 11, 2011 11:49 am

      I will admit, I do get a sense of satisfaction when I see how healthy Maggie is (and Audrey too, so far) ;) Most of it is just luck, I’m sure. But still.

  12. Dentist West LA

    August 9, 2011 2:12 pm

    Being sick in a family home is HORRIBLE because it just goes around and around and around – I remember one time my dad, my mom, my sister and me *all* got the same cold twice because once one person got better, another got sick, and so on, until we finally all just went on antibiotics and kicked it for good. I hope you feel better! My worst sicknesses are both on your list – bronchitis and the stomach flu. I’ve had both on more than one occasion and they are awful.


  13. Judi

    August 9, 2011 3:52 pm

    Be careful with the cough. One time I coughed so hard I separated the cartilage from the ribs on both sides. Talk about pain. Doctor: Nothing we can do about it.

  14. Liz

    August 9, 2011 4:56 pm

    I have that same cough/cold thing going on right now. While 7 months pregnant. It is awful and just won’t go away. The thing is though, that I don’t feel so awful that I should go into the doctor. So I’ve just been living with it, hoping it’ll go away. I have a checkup on Thursday though, so I’ll find out then if it’s anything to be concerned about.

    I did my childhood/teenage illnesses in reverse and had mono the summer between 4th & 5th grade. Seriously, went home from school sick the very last day of school and spent my summer in bed, doing nothing. Then I had chicken pox in high school. I don’t think it’s supposed to happen that way.

  15. Tracy

    August 9, 2011 10:37 pm

    My worst would be when I got knocked up 3 times and threw up from week 6 on (even during labor…thank you very much) with each pregnancy, followed by when I had mono my freshman year of college. These 4 things were the worst months ever….and only the pregnancies came out with something cute and cuddly! Lastly would be each time I get strep throat (especially when you get scarlet fever) it hurts so bad and just is plain nasty. I used to rarely get sick. Then. I. had. Kids. In. Daycare. The. End.

  16. Erica

    August 10, 2011 4:01 pm

    Shingles at 17 – wow, ugh.

  17. Pris

    August 10, 2011 8:55 pm

    I got the chicken pox when I was 16 or 17. It was terrible…..on the outside and I had them in my throat. I couldn’t eat for days and I felt horrible. My parents considered taking me to the hospital because they were so bad. I looked so bad too. I watched the 4th of July parade from the porch, covered in a blanket so no one would see how hideous I looked!
    I remember Chuck coming to my house and even though I know he was disgusted by the way I looked, he sat there and fed me mashed up bananas since I couldn’t eat much.

    • Jen

      August 11, 2011 11:51 am

      The image of a 17 year old Chuck feeding you bananas while you were so sick is the most adorable thing EVER. What a keeper!!!!

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