Wednesday, November 05, 2008

When Things Don't Go According To Plan

The conference was a wonderful success. Several agents were interested in seeing my manuscript and I came home ready to crank out a re-write and send the book off into the world.

And then I got sick.

At first I thought I had the flu. A 101.5 fever. Chills. Muscle aches. Joint Pain. But after about 4 days I started coughing. By day five, I was coughing so much I was vomiting. I still thought it was the flu. But all the vomiting worried Tom. He thought I was pregnant, because in 8 years together, I've only ever thrown up when I was pregnant. I decided I had to prove him wrong, so I did an internet search on coughing until you vomit. Webpage after webpage said that this would be caused by Pertussis, otherwise known as Whooping Cough. No big deal, I thought. Except the thing was, John wasn't completely vaccinated. He was at serious risk of contracting a bacterial infection that would hit him far harder than me. I immediately called the doctor.

It turns out that I have pertussis and pneumonia. And after several days of seeming under the weather, it turns out that Sam also has a double ear infection.

Why now when I was on such a roll? My book is on hold, my Nano aspirations have been shelved indefinetely, and I'm looking at a long, and possibly totally unproductive 6 week recovery.

I want to cry out of sheer frustration.

And as if that isn't enough, Tom has not been able to provide me with the help I so desperately need right now. For a solid week I took care of the boys despite my fever and general malaise. Yesterday, he finally took a half day off work to help me with the boys, but then ended up working until 3am to get everything run that he needed for a design review. I knew Sam was sick, and made an appointment for the boys at the pediatrician's today with the understanding that Tom would come home early from work and take them, but fifteen minutes before the appointment he still wasn't home. I was forced to take the boys to the doctor myself, despite the fact that I am still highly contagious and have absolutely no business being anywhere near a pediatrician's office right now.

I can't help but be angry at Tom. I feel like work is always a priority for him and that even when I'm seriously ill, I am not half as important as a stupid gas turbine. On the other hand, he is #2 in his department, has insane amounts of work to do and is horribly understaffed, and those stupid gas turbines put a roof over our head, food on the table, and pay for my very necessary medical care. I just have no idea how to feel about a world that won't allow a husband to take care of his sick wife.

To add to my frustration, there was no one else available to step in either. My aunt is close by, but she takes care of my grandmother, and neither of them needs to be around someone with Whooping Cough. My friends are all unprotected mothers caring for small, and highly succeptible, children. And my mom was half the world away in Boise.

This isn't exactly what I had in mind when I signed up for wife and mothering duties. I didn't think for a minute that I would ever be in a position where there was literally no one available to care for me, and not only that, but I couldn't even take a "sick day" from my life.

I suppose I am lucky that my mom's husband works for the airlines and my mother can easily and affordably fly anywhere in the world at a moment's notice. She has come for a few days to help out, but at the end of the week, she will leave and I will be on my own again....


  1. Wow. Brittany, this is awful. I don't know how you are surviving. Thank God your mother was able to help for a little bit--I hope you are getting as much TLC as possible.

  2. Anonymous7:00 PM

    Oh, Brittany. I am so, so sorry to hear about your illness. Please know that you are in my thoughts. I hope you feel better soon and can get some rest while your mom is around to help out.

  3. hey brittany, here's a little feel your pain moment from me. kenny has strep, late night dr run last night, shea is coughing a big cough. i'm getting pre-strep symptoms now, my mil has a sinus infection, and chloe has a little cough starting, too. think i'll go throw up now, like kenny. and andrew was up til 3am with a side job. oy.

    be well. i'll check in again on fb.

  4. OMG Cathy! How horrible! I almost died from strep when I was 17 (subcutaneous in my digestive tract) so it's nothing to mess with. You and your family need to bunker down and rest.

    On a happier note, I feel like I am returning to the land of the living. I'm still tired with a bad cough, but I no longer feel like the living dead and was able to run some errands this afternoon and not suffer for it.

  5. ya, brittany! glad you're on the mend.

    my family and i have a looooong history of strep, so i am well aware the dangers, but thanks anyway! what they don't say these days is that strep is the first stage of scarlet fever. if modern medicine keeps that in mind, we'd all be better off, better informed and quicker to get the culture. thank goodness kenny and iare so well-versed: that first popcorn kernal feeling in the side of our throats is usually a good indicator it's time to go to the dr.


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