Friday, January 23, 2015

Blessed... Even in Illness

Our family had a wonderful Christmas surrounded by family and friends. It was Leah's third and Samuel's first, and our first in this house.

On Boxing Day, we were packing and preparing to leave for a cottage we had rented for a winter family holiday... when sickness hit. Hard. 

I started feeling feverish that night, and Joel - who had already been battling a cold - woke up with an awful cough the next morning. We ended up postponing our holiday. I was devastated.

It ended up being a good decision though, because we just got worse and worse. I had a fever and chills and was so weak I could barely walk up stairs. Joel's cough lingered on and on, and then just as we thought we were getting better, the kids got sick. It was awful. Leah would cough until she got sick and Samuel just didn't seem right. On New Year's Eve we took the kids to a walk in clinic for fear if we didn't we would end up in the Emergency Room the next day. 

All four of us left with prescriptions! Joel for bronchitis, me strep, Leah a sinus infection and ear infections and for Samuel "just in case."

He got worse that night so we started him on it, and made New Year's Resolutions of getting healthy!

The next day Samuel just got even worse. He didn't look right and was coughing pretty much constantly. He started wheezing so we called telehealth, and when the nurse heard him in the background she advised us to head to the ER right away.

Joel stayed with Leah and I took him. We were taken in right away and he had a chest x-ray but the doctor didn't see much. He was given a diagnosis of bronchiolitis, most likely from RSV, and we were told to come back and see a paediatrician in the morning to discuss course of treatment.

I went home to a very sick little girl and barely slept before heading to the hospital again. While checking in at the ER reception, the triage nurse heard his cough and stopped what she was doing with the patient in front of us, and rushed us right back. The paediatrician saw us right away and agreed with the bronchiolitis diagnosis. He was given oxygen and sent home with a puffer, and we were advised to come back if he got any worse.

Then the doctor called and said the radiologist saw pneumonia on his x-ray but not to worry about it unless he got a fever. Of course, he got a fever.

Back in we went, and were seen right away, and given a higher dose of antibiotics. 

The following Monday we were able to see our family doctor. Samuel was still very sick and given another puffer. Leah still had a bad cough and was given a puffer as well.

Two sick kids sleeping on sick mom
He saw us later in the week just to make sure we were doing better, and I thought we were! We were all done our antibiotics except for Samuel, and things were looking up... until he checked Leah's ears to find that she still had a double ear infection, and checked my throat to find that I still had strep.

Leah and I each started a second round of antibiotics and FINALLY everyone got better.

It was rough. Really rough.

At first it was just awful that I was so ill I could barely take care of my kids, and then so awful to see the kids suffering. It's the most helpless feeling when you're doing everything you can for them, and they're still so sick and sad. As this illness dragged on for all of us, I almost started feeling a loss of hope. I felt that it would never end and I almost started missing my child-free former life where I could just lay in bed when I was sick and not have to worry about anyone else but myself.

I even a couple of times thought to myself - and may have even mentioned to others! - that we were in "sickness hell." 

Looking back now, it was hard. For sure it was hard. Awful? Yes definitely. But it wasn't that bad. 

We weren't even that ill. Yes, with Samuel being only 3 months old it was scary and could have been bad. But even that was temporary, and I knew we'd recover. 

There are other families dealing with illness, both in parents and children, that they will not recover from. We were sick, but we were still healthy in general, and that is certainly nothing to complain about. 

With a change in attitude I'm able to see so much blessing in this experience and I'm so thankful for everything in my life. We didn't get to go on our vacation but we sure did spend a lot of time together as a family!

It's also easy to be selfish and think about how 'great' things were before kids when times are rough, but the reality is that although I had a wonderful life before them, there was something missing. I always wanted to be a mom. I'm so thankful for my precious blessings and I would be missing out on so much joy without them. 

This summer, Joel and I started watching a new show called The Leftovers.  In the show, 2% of the world's population mysteriously disappears one day, and everyone else, the so-called 'leftovers,' must pick up the pieces and move on with their lives. Most people lost someone that they know or love, but one unlucky woman lost her whole family: her husband, son and daughter.

She gives a speech early in the show where she says she wishes for any day with them back. Even a day where they were all sick in bed; a day she initially thought was awful, but now realizes was precious, as they were all together and it was perfect. 

Parenting is hard. Parenting through sickness is even harder. And sometimes life in general can just be hard! 

But it's so worth it. With all of the struggle comes so much joy and I am so blessed beyond measure, and it's important not to forget that! 


  1. This is so beautiful, Jennifer, and so true. Thank you so much for sharing this reminder with me today!

  2. This is so beautiful, Jennifer, and so true. Thank you so much for sharing this reminder with me today!