I am sick. I have been sick for what feels like forever, but actually, if we're being completely technical, it's been about 2 weeks of misery. I was prescribed antibiotics. They did not help. My head aches, my body aches, my nose and sinuses are congested, my chest feels heavy and painful.
I can't sleep at night. It's hard to get better when you can't sleep. My baby is sick. He's had back-to-back ear infections for the past couple months. Yeah, months. You read that right.
I have no Christmas spirit. I'm trudging along, trying to do these fun activities and Christmas crafts with my kids, and I'm feigning a smile, but inside I'm screaming, "I WANT A DECEMBER DO-OVER! I'm cold! My body aches! My head hurts! I'm exhausted! I hate this! I don't want to make snowman handprint ornaments. I don't care about watching Prep & Landing. I don't give a shit about a Christmas Eve menu. I want to sleep and sleep and wake up on January 10, when someone has put my house back together again and my head is clear and my kids are well."
I'm not depressed.
I'm a crabby, raging bitch. There's a really big difference.
In the middle of the night, when I am not sleeping and my baby writhes on my chest, I try to remember that these moments are fleeting and one day, my baby will be a big boy who won't need me, and I should cherish these times, misery and all. But what I am secretly thinking is: "How am I going to go to work tomorrow and function? Why can't I breathe? I don't care if it's 2 a.m., I should really call up ____, Ms. Breastfeeding Proponent Extraordinaire and drill her on why my sweet, happy baby boy, who has never had so much as an OUNCE of formula in all 10 of his earthly months, is, and has been sicker, than his brother, who, by this time was on to formula exclusively. Oh, Client X? I should call him up and tell him how ridiculous he's being and that I'm sick of dealing with his stupid antics! I should call my Dad and tell him how I annoyed I am at him for not calling me and asking me how I'm doing."
Today I called the doctor's office to set up an appointment with an ENT specialist. And the receptionist informed me that the first available appointment was January 14. And I just completely lost it. I started crying an ugly, wracking sobs sort of cry, and I went on a diatribe about how I knew it wasn't her fault, but I'm desperate, and exhausted, and miserable and I need help! Please! Get me in before that! Please. Please. Please!
[She called me back later, and said I could come in tomorrow over lunch.]
An hour or so later, I called my husband to ask how our baby's umpteenth doctor appointment went. He STILL has double ear infections. He was prescribed his fourth antibiotic. He has some new drops. He has a referral for an appointment with an ENT specialist on December 27th.
After that, I called my mom. And I complained about how Scroogey/Grinchey I feel. About how I see Christmas lights and all I can think is how abnormal my behavior is this season. I don't feel any of the warm fuzzies I usually feel about the approaching holidays. I feel cold. And sad. And mad. And desperate.
After I hung up the phone with my mom, I started to cry. In my office. With my door shut. While I silently raged about head congestion and never-ending ear infections.
GET IT TOGETHER, I told myself. You're pathetic! People's kids have cancer, and you're in your office crying about ear infections.
So I sniffled a little. And thought of my new December mantra, "WHY ME?! WHY?! WHY IS THIS HAPPENING TO ME?!"
And then I just happened to open an email from a client.
A client who has it way worse than I do.
I instantly felt guilty for feeling bad for myself. "Why you? Really, Stephanie?!" I thought. "Why NOT you?"
I am writing this...
... not because I want to pretend that my outlook has magically changed in the last 45 minutes. (I'm still sick and I still think odds are that tonight is going to be another miserable, sleepless night in a string of miserable sleepless nights.)
... not because I want to sugarcoat everything and pretend I can see the silver lining in anything I'm dealt (Some things suck... no way around it.)
I am writing this because, in 45 minutes, when I start thinking "Why me?" again, I can remind myself to try to remember that...
... I am not some extra special snowflake who doesn't deserve sickness. I'm no Mother Theresa. I'm just a regular person and sometimes regular people and their regular kids get sick. It sucks. Get over it.
....I have a support network to commiserate with me. I have my mom, my friends, my sisters, my husband, and my colleagues to vent to and commiserate with. No, it doesn't clear head congestion. My chest feels the same when the rants are over. None of my complaining has drained the fluid from Owen's ears, BUT these people care about me, and I know, if I asked them, they'd help me/us with whatever we need.
... I have a husband who loves me and even though we've been snapping at each other because we.are.both.exhausted, he still reminds me every.night.when.I.lament.the.lack.of.sleep that "we are on the same team" and "we are in this together."
... I have a good job with job security, and even though I feel like I'm barely keeping my head up these days, I have colleagues who will help me if I ask, and I have the ability to take time off if I need to be home.
... I have health insurance that allows my kids to receive great medical care from pediatricians who know and care about our family and want to help us get healthy.
... I have a house, albeit a germ-ridden one currently, that we are not in danger of losing, where we can all lay in misery on the couch together watching Christmas movies.
We're sick. We're crabby. We're tired. We're whiny. We're clingy. We're one tiny setback away from having a meltdown in the middle of the Walgreens Pharmacy (oh wait, that was last week), but we are (I know this, I believe this, I say this without one iota of sarcasm) BLESSED.
Really and truly, if there was a time to throw out a #firstworldproblems... this would be it. This too shall pass.
I just needed this little reminder.
Oh damnit, I kinda feel a little Christmasy all of the sudden...