Monday, November 5, 2007

Fourth Floor Nurse's Station

One of the distinct disadvantages to having a large family is when illness strikes.

We have two bugs going around our house right now. One is a nasty tummy bug that gets worse, then better, then worse, get the idea. I've had it for 12 days, my personal cut-off time for allowing myself to get better before calling in the guns. Hubby's had it for about seven days and Blair for about two. Seeing a pattern here? Like a 5-day incubation period?

The other bug is like a cold, but not so much with the sniffles and sneezing, and big time with the cough. Rosie caught it first, today is her ninth day. She was better yesterday and I let her go outside for some fresh air and sunshine. But you can't keep a seven-year-old sitting down in fresh air and sunshine, so she was up and playing a lot. Too much. She's having quite the rebound today after not sleeping well last night for all her coughing.

Kate is in her sixth day of the coughing fits. She is pretty perky and healthy-looking during the day, but at night she keeps us all (and herself) awake with the hacking. And poor hubby's allergies have been making him crazy at night, with his head packing in after being laid down for 30 minutes or so.

Of course, they all sleep better with their heads slightly elevated, which means they all sleep in the living room. And the insomniacs make them crazy with their trips to the bathroom and kitchen until 2AM when Blair finally zonks out and starting again at 4AM when John gets up for the day!

Rosie finally gave up and crawled in bed with me this morning for a little peace and quiet. Bless her heart. She's a snuggler, though, and breathed all those lovely germs right into my face until I managed to drag myself out of bed.

In a large family, you have two sickness scenarios:

Everyone gets sick at once. That works fine if Mama stays healthy and can fetch and carry. But in 27 years mama-ing, that has only happened to me once. I find it's much more likely for Mama to get sick right along with everyone all at once. The upside to that would be everyone convalescing together, watching movies and eating soup together and no one hollering about how badly THEY need to go to the library. The downside? This Mama tends to get illnesses rather heavily, so while the children are sniffly, I come down with bronchitis and pneumonia. And do the cooking and cleaning and tending, not resting and napping, which makes the bug hold on all the longer.

Everyone gets sick, one at a time. Ah, the nickel-and-dime-you-to-death scenario. If you assume 10 days from first sniffle to last cough, times seven people in the house, you're talking a whopping two months of care-taking without a single trip to church, the movie house, or the mall. Then consider there are two "cold and flu seasons" in a year and suddenly a twelve-month year becomes one-third shorter and less efficient!

Homeschooling helps. Our public-school-attending friends are sick much more of the time than we are.

Back, five or six years ago, I took a phenomenal herbal medicine course. I learned how to make tinctures and elixirs, syrups and teas, how to grow herbs to make medicines, how to diagnose and dose, the whole nine yards. And the knowledge has served me well. I still use that information frequently. But I'm beginning to see that I need a different approach.

I am currently studying nutrition as a disease preventative. Good to know the remedies for illness, but I'd rather avoid the illness to begin with. And I'm sure it helps quite a bit, as shown by our only two small bugs a year. Oh, but I'd so like to avoid those two bugs as well.

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