when the dog bites
Life, as of late, has felt unusually random (much like I anticipate this particular rambling to be). But perhaps “random” isn’t the best word. Strange, maybe? It all started in May when I had a four week bout of mono accompanied with three rounds of strep throat. Around this same time, both boys caught fevers and our youngest came down with his first ear infection. It was splendid. We still managed somehow to get the entire minivan packed up and ready for our six week road trip to Texas (with antibiotics on board for all!).
Surprisingly enough, the family and I made it through just about our entire vacation in Texas without so much as a sniffle (except for that one night when Joe had to take Peter to the emergency room for high fevers and rapid breathing…but the point is that we almost made it through without one of us falling ill). Upon returning to Minneapolis, and feeling hopeful that our family might be on the mend, both feverish boys began crying and complaining of having very sore, blistery-like, red throats. So sore that Sam insisted on eating an entire box of popsicles in two days just to feel relief.
Joe would be leaving for two weeks very soon and our hope was that he would leave us all healthy and happy and in the company of my mother who was coming to help out with the boys while he was gone. And he did. The day he left, all three of us were feeling great. I had two days to prepare before my mom’s arrival and we were ready! Not one of us the slightest bit queasy.
That was a fun two days.
My mom arrived and within a few hours, Sam had managed to throw up all over his bedding and floor. I believe it was at least two loads of laundry and a twenty minute mopping job that followed. Sam was a bit “off” the rest of the week, throwing up a few more times here and there. On the days when he didn’t throw up, he would have no less than 15 false alarms for what he would describe his stomach as feeling “funny.”
I’ve always heard of families spreading the stomach bug around like rapid fire, but never really got it until now. The next day, it was my turn. And thankfully, if there’s one person in the world I would want by my side during the worst stomach bug of my life, it is my mother. She knew the drill, she’s been doing it for years. I throw up, she holds my hair. I throw up again, she wipes my face with a cold washcloth. I continue throwing up, she gets me a glass of 7-Up with a straw. I felt like a kid again.
And as the week progressed, it was Peter’s turn on day 5 and then Sam’s again on day 6. One night, I actually laid awake in bed considering whether or not I should buy some of this. I am still thanking God that my mom didn’t get it. Thirty years as an elementary school teacher and this woman has some serious immunities built up.
After our stomach bug seemed to have run its course, our first outing with my mom was a trip to Stillwater, MN. to celebrate her birthday. And in keeping with the strangeness of the times, we happened to be in line getting some ice cream when out of nowhere, I felt this excruciating pain in one of my fingers. I look down only to find a bee stinging me. I may or may not have screamed in line as I grabbed the bee and threw it off my finger. And I will leave it up to your imagination as to whether or not I ordered an Epipen when the man behind the counter asked which flavor of ice cream I wanted.
Instantly, the only thing going through my mind was a scene with Martin Short in the movie Pure Luck. Without a doubt, I just knew this was about to go down. It was my first time to be stung by a bee and the only way I can describe the pain, is that it felt like I was having major dental work done on my knuckle. It was throbbing. And swelling. And if you know me well, you know the last thing I need is for my hand to swell. My hands are plenty short and stubby as it is. Like a sexy mix between a Cabbage Patch Kid and an Oompa-Loompa. I could probably palm a golf ball if I really tried.
I was beginning to think that things really couldn’t get much weirder. But that sentiment quickly flew out the window when I got a phone call from Joe who was currently sitting in a hospital in Moscow, Idaho about to have an emergency appendectomy. “Uh, come again?” Apparently my husband came down with appendicitis during the last day of class and needed to have his appendix removed, making it impossible for him to fly home when scheduled.
At this point, I began to think about those giant signs that companies hang up in their factories to celebrate each day that passes without an on-the-job injury. It inspired me, to say the least.
As things currently stand, Joe is recovering well but still not allowed to lift anything over 20 pounds for a few more weeks. Both boys seem to be stomach bug, fever, and ear infection free (for the time being) and I have been spending my days overwhelmed with thankfulness to God for every day that I am given with my family. Each moment is truly a gift of mercy and I don’t take a single one for granted.
Happy to be feeling better for a bit, we pulled out all the finger paints today and I even told Sam that he could make a batch of cookies all by himself if he wanted (which he of course did). I let him measure, pour, crack eggs, stir, and scoop the cookie dough onto the pan all by himself with very little help from me.
And if these cookies are indicative at all of our future, I think things just might start looking up for the Rigneys.