Proudly Supporting all Military Families with a Special Needs Dependent
There’s nothing like a flu virus sprinkled with a little pneumonia to really put Mama’s long list of jobs into perspective. Over three weeks ago, I came down with Influenza Type A. Fever, chills, headache and body aches. The hair on my head hurt. All I knew is that I felt like I was dying.
Just because Mama is sick doesn’t mean the world stops turning. School days off, tantrums, grocery shopping, therapies, deployment, and diaper changes all still happen. I was forced to rely on my own self-sufficient, weak, fever-filled Mommy Warrior skills to make sure I took my meds, drank enough fluids, and refrained from spreading my sickness around.
I called in for reinforcements. Since my husband was deployed (isn’t this called Murphy’s Law of Deployment?), I begged my neighbors to take my oldest daughter. I made promises like “Nope, she hasn’t even been exposed” and “Nah, she’s fine.” I added some pure bribing to get her out of the house for a few precious hours each day. I called my other daughter’s nurse and threatened termination if she didn’t come over and take care of her. Seriously, I felt so horrible and my fever was so high, I would have done pretty much anything to be able to rest.
During my fever-filled nap on that first day, I thought, “what am I going to do after the nurse leaves?’ Who’s going to feed the kids? Who’s going to help with homework? Who’s going to pay attention and be ‘the mom?’” “YOU ARE,” said the high-on-Advil inner voice of mine. It was time to suck it up and be Mom.
I couldn’t do more than pour cereal into bowls for about a week. Helping with homework resulted in lots of nods, a calculator, and Google. Entertainment was provided by a ton of Disney movies. I’m not sure if their outfits matched or their hair looked brushed, but that’s all the energy I had to give.
Fast forward 3 weeks, I am still weak and still coughing. I don’t feel a whole lot better, but the fever is gone, the chills have subsided, and I can somewhat function. The house is a disaster, there hasn’t been a homemade meal in this house in a long, long time, but the kids are alive and not sick. Mission Accomplished!
Do I have the immune system of a champ? Probably not. Will I get sick in the future? Definitely. Will it happen when the hubby is deployed? Always. But, I learned a valuable lesson! This Mama needs a backup plan for the next time I get sick. I need to:
I narrowly escaped this illness with my sanity and home still intact. Next time, (since I know there will be a next time), I will have a plan in place so that I can spend what little energy I have left taking care of me, rather than worrying about how I am going to get the kids to school or what they are going to eat for dinner.
Wendy Kruse is a military spouse, mother to two beautiful girls, and the CEO of the Military Special Needs Network. She became an advocate in 2006 when her youngest daughter was diagnosed with severe neurological and developmental delays. Having experienced the overwhelming feelings that confront parents after receiving a devastating diagnosis, Wendy knows how challenging it can be to navigate the world of special needs in the military and the myriad of decisions that we are faced with. Contact Wendy via email at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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