The day before Halloween I was diagnosed with pneumonia. The good news was it could be managed with medication and rest. The bad news was I was contagious until 12 hours after my fever broke and I was not to do anything stressful or exert any energy for several weeks to prevent relapse. As a full time working mother with two energetic toddlers I thought, “You’ve got to be kidding me! Mommy does not get sick and if she does, she still mothers on.” Not this time.
My reality was I had no choice but to stop Mom mode and start Recovery mode. This meant packing up and shipping the kids off to Grammy and Papa’s, ignoring all the household chores, logging out from work, becoming one with my jammies and bed, and basically, shutting down.
Initially, this was extremely difficult and upsetting. Halloween is a huge deal with young kids and they had events I was looking forward to attending. I had to accept that I didn’t get to dress them in their costumes or watch them parade around their school or Trick or Treat through the neighborhood.
As the weekend wore on, I tried my best to relax and just enjoy the solitude. While my husband was around to keep me company, he definitely kept his distance and it wasn’t like I was a fun companion anyway. I went from bed to bathroom to couch and back bemoaning my existence and missing my life and kids terribly.
And yet, on the flip side, I can honestly say I’m truly thankful for pneumonia. It was not a pleasure physically and I don’t wish it on anyone, but it did make me thankful for the many blessings in my life.
- Family and friends: it truly does take a village to raise children. My husband left work to take me to the doctor, picked up my meds and provided food while policing my activity. My folks cared for the kiddos on short notice and jumped right in with the Halloween festivities. Friends posted pictures, sent me texts and made me feel a part of the action.
My children: They missed me and I missed them and I mean we truly missed each other. It is one thing to be separated by distance and to have distractions to keep you company, but in those four days we were separated, I realized how quiet and drab the house is without them. I wondered what I ever did with my days before they arrived. When I did see them from a safe distance they seemed genuinely confused and concerned. They always asked if I was feeling better, if they could give me a hug and when can they come home? Oh, how much I missed them – even the crazy, frustrating toddler pieces of them. And when they did come home and those toddler nuances came with them, I had to remain calm, and yet, I found I had a new peace. I wasn’t so rushed, so crazed, so frustrated. I could let things play out and not force things. I still had to walk away from time to time or play the Daddy card, but overall, I had a greater appreciation for everything toddler. (Yeah, I’m thinking this probably won’t last long.)
- Social media: Thank goodness for Facebook and Instagram as well as iPhones and text/email. It isn’t the same as being there, but it’s better than just hearing about the event from others and you can be a part of it while it is happening rather than hours later.
Nature: When you have limited lung capacity and your head feels like there’s a vice clamped on it, there are very few forms of entertainment to keep you occupied. When not sleeping, I would amble out to the backyard and lie on the chaise and just enjoy the scenery. My crazy dog kept me entertained with his antics, the weather was cool and sunny and I had not a care in the world. I was able to just shut down and embrace nature, poop scent and all.
- My health: This episode was two weeks of my life, but there are those that suffer from chronic or terminal illnesses who have no clear end to their suffering. I truly appreciate that I am healthy and strong and was only slowed down for a brief period of time.
So, as odd as it sounds, I am so very thankful for having pneumonia. It provided the opportunity for this crazed, always on-the-go mom to take a breather and really appreciate my many blessings.
Have you experienced a similar challenge? What did it teach you? What are you most thankful for this season?