Thursday, June 3, 2010

Something I have discovered about myself in the past few months is this: I really hate being ill. Feeling weak from anemia and in terrible pain after Archer's birth was horrible for me. Recently I also had a lovely gastrointestinal visitor which resulted in much vomiting and diarrhea for the better part of a day. Then almost one week later I developed mastitis in one of my breasts which gave me flu-like symptoms and lethargy, not to mention intense pain. I realize that I don't usually get sick very often, and in the past I didn't really mind. I would feel silly calling in sick to work, but sometimes it has to be done, especially if what I had was contagious. But these days I hate being sick because I have two little ones, and they need me.

:: cozy-time with both boys on the couch - rare because the Sparrow doesn't 
usually fall asleep out of bed ::

The weekend before my parents came to visit, and before I started going back to work, I woke up after Spencer had gone to work with a terrible stomach ache. As an aside, Spencer now works in town full-time (!) with a new company, and no longer has to leave the Island for three days a week to support us, and neither does he have to work on-call in town the rest of the week. He just has one normal job, which is Monday to Friday, and every other Saturday for a few hours in the early morning. This is amazing for our whole family, and I'll write more about it later.

:: my boys ♥ ::

So it was one of those Saturdays when he had to work, and I was expecting him home around 10:30 or 11:00 am. I had nursed Archer when Spencer got up to go to work around 5:00 am, and he went back to sleeping peacefully beside me, and I could tell from the sound of Liam's snoring in the other room that he was hours from waking up. I went back to sleep with Archer after Spencer left for work. 

At around 8:00 am Spencer called me with a wake-up call, and I told him I really didn't feel well, but he felt fine. After we chatted, I knew I was going to be sick so I went to the washroom and was as quiet about it as possible so as not to wake the boys. I made it back into bed after brushing my teeth and called Spencer to let him know that I was sick, actually really sick, and to find out when he thought he would be home. 

:: hippie ::

It was the worst possible day for me to be sick. He had just had an accident with his work truck, which is a giant cardboard and garbage truck which lifts the big dumpsters. He thought that the truck was on fire, but it turns out that it was actually leaking hundreds of liters of hydraulic fluid all over Courtenay's main road. Since it was Saturday, and the one man who runs the street-sweeper was "at a barbeque" according to the City, Spencer was going to have to cover all the spilled hydraulic fluid with kitty litter (it absorbs the fluid) and then sweep it up by hand. So he safely parked the truck, got out the traffic cones, and when his boss arrived with another employee they started shoveling out the kitty litter in sections, working around the traffic the whole time. They swept each section by hand, and by the time the whole mess was cleaned up, they had used an entire dumpster full of kitty litter and swept it back up again. Needless to say, this took over eight hours to do, so what was supposed to be a few hours of work turned into a full day away from home and his sick-as-a-dog wife. I didn't want him to lose his new job, so I had no choice but to stick it out with the boys at home.

I spent all day in bed, alternately sweating and shaking with chills, and getting up a few times an hour to vomit into the bath tub while sitting on the toilet for my other end. When Liam woke up I just managed to get him onto his potty, get him some fishy crackers, cocoa and a banana for breakfast, and turn on Sleeping Beauty for him. Then it was back to the bathroom for me! Archer was still sleeping. I crawled back to bed and was in and out of a dozy sleep while Liam watched the three good fairies. I recall that it actually played twice, and he sat on his potty the whole time. 

:: night-night time with Papa, sharing stories ::

Archer woke up, and I changed his diaper in bed and fed him again, and as he ate his weight pressed on my stomach and intensified my feelings of nausea. I waited as long as I could, because he seemed sleepy and I thought he might fall asleep again, but finally I had to pull him off to run to the bathroom again. I had waited too long, and didn't make it to the bathroom; I vomited all over the bedroom floor. Luckily by this point there wasn't much left in me except all the water I was trying to drink to hydrate myself. I was really worried about getting dehydrated and my milk diminishing. What would happen if my milk ran out and Archer was hungry? I was all alone and not in any state to drive anywhere.

I cleaned up and crawled back into bed, and spent the next few hours in the same way - peeking in on Liam from the bed to make sure he was okay, nursing Archer when he woke up, vomiting when I had to, and sleeping the rest of the time. I tried to drink water but it just kept coming back up. Miraculously, Archer slept all morning and afternoon, only waking to eat and get a fresh diaper. And Liam was totally happy to watch movies by himself all day, and I later moved him into the living room on the couch. 

:: matching jammies from Nana ::

I was on the phone with my business partner Teneille, and called a few other local friends to see if anyone Liam is comfortable with could come over and look after him, and bring me some Gatorade to re-hydrate. Nobody was available. Dee-dee (Liam's favourite Uncle) was in Victoria, and everybody else Liam knows was working. Thankfully Teneille got ahold of our friend Alice, who brought me two big bottles of Gatorade. I had decided to give my stomach a bit of a break before she came over, and that orange drink tasted so good to my dehydrated self. I really think it saved me, and the vomiting stopped after I started drinking it so it actually did me a lot of good. Thank the gods for my angel Alice!

Spencer came home just after 4:00 pm, and I hadn't thrown up for a few hours and was feeling better, although still terribly weak, something I have come to hate. He made dinner and took care of us, and Liam and I were really happy to see him. Archer woke up around 2:00 pm, right around when I stopped vomiting. I don't know what I would have done if he hadn't slept all day, because I needed to sleep too. 

:: This was taken back in April, but I didn't find it until recently ::

A week later my parents arrived from Kelowna, and we had a really lovely, if brief, visit over the May long weekend. I had been back to work the previous week, which went much better than I expected. Things just suddenly got easier - Liam stopped hating everything so much, and Archer can be put down for longer periods so I can get ready for work. Liam really likes the routine of going to work most days, including nap time, and Archer spends his day at work with Mummy in the Beco.

Liam loved having Nana and Papa here, and we did some tooting around town, watched movies and cuddled on Jabba the Couch, and even went out for dinner! Nana brought the boys new pajamas as always (so appreciated!) and Papa detailed my van! His home business is detailing vehicles, and he brought all his equipment and cleaners with him and spent all day Monday making my van look brand new! It doesn't have that funny smell any more, and it is a much lighter grey inside than Spencer and I knew ;) It looks amazing and now I'm super anal about the floors and keep a towel in the van to wipe up footprints on the rubber mats.

:: tummy time at almost three months old ::

On Monday I started having flu-like symptoms, with chills, fever and hot flashes. I was worried that I was coming down with something, as my parents were leaving the next day and I had to work, too. But my left breast was very sore, and Archer had a long stretch of sleep the night before without nursing, which left a suspicion in my mind that my symptoms might be mastitis. On Tuesday morning my symptoms hadn't gone away, and my fever was at almost 103°F. I called my girlfriend who had mastitis recently and had been on antibiotics, and she said her symptoms were the same, but with a lump where the blocked ducts were. 

I managed to get a doctor's appointment for that afternoon, and lucky for me the doctor I saw had first-hand experience with mastitis and told me how to get rid of it. My chest was red and streaky and very painful, and she could feel the "ropiness", but she said that my mastitis hadn't turned into an abscess yet, and that I could still massage it out and not have to take antibiotics. I really didn't want to have to take them, as they can lead to yeast infections and then thrush for me and Archer, which she said would require another doctor's visit to treat.
:: this one's also from April - flying with Dada! ::

She said to get into a hot shower or bath, and rub the mastitis out towards the nipple as hard as I could. She actually said I had to do it so hard that I would feel like throwing up, because it is very painful. I had to go to work straight after my appointment, where I sat in the back room (luckily it wasn't a very busy day) and massaged away at my breast. Boy, did it hurt, but I kept at it, an continued to nurse Archer because that helps as well. 

As soon as I got home I had Dada watch the boys and I got into a hot shower, and tried to rub the mastitis out. I felt some relief from the tightness after my shower, but still felt feverish and achy all over. I showered again before bed, after the boys were asleep, and felt more relief from the pain but wasn't sure it had worked. The doctor had said if it wasn't gone that night that I'd need to fill the antibiotic Rx she had given me the next morning.

:: after bath time with Mummy ::

Sometime in the night I remember waking, drenched in sweat. When I woke up at five with Spencer when his alarm went off, I realized my fever was gone, and had broken in the night! When it was my turn to wake up for work, I didn't feel achy or feverish anymore, and my temperature was normal. However, I didn't know if I was out of the clear because my breast was still so sore. When I looked in the mirror, I realized that the reason for the lingering soreness was that I had actually bruised my poor breast getting the mastitis out! The bruises didn't actually last that long, and barely hurt at all after another day. I'm so glad that I got the doctor I did that day, and that she gave me such excellent advice which I followed. Hopefully I can pass on this info to other women, and maybe save someone else the pain of an abscess and the horrible side-effects which can result from antibiotics.

I am spending a little time each day now feeling grateful for my usual well-health. It truly is something to be thankful for, especially with two little guys who really need me.

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