I am starting the long road to recovery after a nasty bout of food poisoning. Never in my life have I wished myself dead except when I am worshipping the great porcelain god in my bathroom. But I actually don't want to write about being sick. You've all been sick before. You know how it feels. When you feel like you've been picked up and wrung out. When you've thrown up and everything else (I don't want to mention what "everything else" is, but you know what I mean) for so long you are sure that you are as empty as Lindsay Lohan's bank account. I mean sick. What I want to write about is what it's like when there is only one parent and that parent is down.
As you know, my husband Matt is deployed in the Middle East. So when I get sick, or break a bone, or have major surgery (all these things have happened) while he's gone things get interesting around here. This latest bout with illness wasn't that bad. I was really only down for about 18 hours. Well, not really down. I was actually up. But I was busy. Let's just say there was a lot of knocking on my door and asking if I was okay and if I was going to come out. Most of the time I responded with a shaky "I'm okay honey. I'll be out in a minute." That was usually followed with the sound of the dry heaves. I know. I said I wasn't going to talk about being sick. It just keeps sneaking in.
One of the worst things about Matt being gone is I have no back up. There is no one to run to the store for ginger ale. There is no one to get up and get the kids ready for school. Or to drive them to school. Or to sign their notes. Or make them dinner. Yes, I do have great friends and neighbors that when it gets really bad I can call. But my three closest neighbors were down too. The first had a fever and hacking cough. The second just broke her wrist. And the third has five small children (having five small children makes you down all the time). I was on my own.
My children actually were pretty good. Ashlenne got herself up and then woke up her brothers. She made breakfast for everybody. She did the dishes. Alexander and Aidan helped out too. But there was no way I was going to ask any of them to run to the store. Alexander volunteered reminding me of the time his dad let him drive in a church parking lot. I told him that my car had enough dents on it from just me driving it. It didn't need anymore. I pulled on my weird knit hat and big coat (same thing I wore to the post office to send Matt his pillow) and dragged myself to Target.
Why Target? Target is the closest store to my house that sells anything that resemble groceries. As I walked through the doors I could feel eyes on me. I knew I was white as a ghost with purple circles under my eyes. I was moving like I was made of glass. Don't touch me! I might break or throw up on you. I selected a few items to purchase and made my way to the cashier. I bought Sprite, ginger ale, Imodium, anti-nausea medication, applesauce, and ibuprofen. She knew exactly what was going on.
But that was yesterday. Today is a new day. I feel pretty good. I may even eat today.
Day to day life on its own is pretty hard with Matt gone. He is missed a lot. Christmas and birthdays especially. But he is more than missed on other days. He is needed. I needed him yesterday. He offered his support over the phone and I knew he felt bad. But what do you do? You power through, alone. You get better, alone. You hope that whatever it is that you have doesn't get passed on to the kids because there is nothing worse than being sick and then having to take care of them, alone. And even though he was needed yesterday, you know that you can manage with him gone. That somehow things will work out. They always do.