Tuesday, December 17, 2013

optimism at its finest

Today I realized that Christmas is next Wednesday.


Where did the past month go?!

Let's do a quick recap….

I flew to Italy on a Saturday, November 16 and returned on Friday, November 22.  On that Saturday, the 16th, Carolyn was not feeling well. By Monday, she was diagnosed with strep throat.

By Tuesday, Elizabeth was diagnosed with strep throat.


On Monday afternoon, November 25, my mother and Jim arrived to visit us for Thanksgiving. One hour before their arrival, William was diagnosed with strep throat.

On Tuesday morning, my sister Eileen and her husband, Clark and four of their five children came to visit.  The next day, on Wednesday morning, Henry was diagnosed with strep throat.

By that weekend, two of our eight house guests had strep throat. Another way to say it is that 6 of the 14 people sleeping under one roof, were on antibiotics.

(Interjection: our Thanksgiving was the best Thanksgiving ever and I will write about it, hopefully before Easter, but unlikely before Christmas.) 

The following week, I was on a business trip to New Jersey and our children were all feeling better, at least until they stopped their antibiotics. By Friday, December 6th Carolyn had another sore throat.  On Saturday, December 7th she was diagnosed with strep and started antibiotics. Again.  

We put up our Christmas tree on Sunday, December 8th, the day before I left for Puerto Rico. It was the most picturesque day imaginable! Outside, the snow was falling; inside we had a raging fire, hot chocolate, and Christmas carols. Everyone was merry! 

I left for Puerto Rico at 4:45 AM on Monday, December 9th.  Charlie took William, Elizabeth and Henry to the doctor that morning, in the midst of an ice storm, because overnight, they had developed sore throats, too.  All three were diagnosed with another case of strep and placed back on antibiotics.

On Thursday, December 12 - while I'm enjoying a warm week in Puerto Rico, I start to sense that my throat hurts.  By Friday, December 13, I couldn't swallow. Suspecting that I'm the next strep victim, I call my doctor's office and beg that they please call in a prescription for antibiotics because I'm in Puerto Rico and my plane leaves soon and I just know that I have strep, too.

The doctor I spoke to wouldn't call in the prescription without a positive diagnosis and explained to me that antibiotics can actually cause diarrhea and a host of other issues, and I really shouldn't start them unless it's confirmed that I do, indeed, have strep. Also, he wasn't sure that he could call in a prescription to Puerto Rico since it was outside of the United States. I tried to explain that Puerto Rico is actually a US Territory and he most certainly could call in a prescription, but he was more focused on talking about how terrible it would be to have diarrhea on a plane.  His words gave me a headache. So I called back four times until I reached MY doctor who is much more understanding and she indicated that she'd absolutely call in a prescription for me so I could start it before I left the island.

Unfortunately, when they contacted me to let me know my prescription was finally ready in San Juan … I was sitting in the Miami airport, 1000 miles away. 

And so it was I endured what was undoubtedly the most excruciatingly painful flight in my history of flying.  Not only did I have strep, I had intense sinus pressure and the only thing that made me feel any better was crying, hence the reason I cried nearly the whole time we were in the air.  Looking back, the only time I didn't cry was when we were sitting on the tarmac, prior to lift off, before I could morph in to a sickly recluse wearing noise canceling headphones. During that brief moment of time when my ears were exposed to people talking to me, the young woman sitting next to me introduced herself (by name!) and during the course of small talk, explained that she was in Puerto Rico for a movie shoot because she is a stunt double in Hollywood. Turns out she was a stunt double for Ashley Judd. And Jennifer Lawrence. (Which, if you know me in person, was a very funny coincidence.)

When I finally arrived home on Friday night, I chugged pink liquid amoxicillin from my children's bottles, after I spoke with my pharmacist sister, Beth, and she told me the appropriate dosage. (Not to worry, the kids actually have an extra bottle of the stuff, so I didn't rob them of their truly precious medication.) 

My Puerto Rican prescription was successfully routed to Virginia and I was finally able to start my "grown-up" antibiotics on Saturday afternoon. By Sunday, I was feeling 50% better. By Monday, just in time for a full week of meetings, this week, with colleagues that are visiting me from Texas and Africa, I was feeling 100% better.  On Monday, however, Carolyn - who had been off her most recent round of antibiotics for the past what? two days?? …complained that she had a sore throat again.



It is suspected that I reinfected her, when I came home sick over the weekend. Or perhaps, she never really got over it the first (or second) time and was susceptible.  William, Elizabeth and Henry (and me) all have one more day on antibiotics. Whereas Carolyn will now be on them for the next five days, because with this third relapse in as many weeks, they've shifted up the prescription.   I'm just hoping that we've now got adequate antibiotic coverage and we're done with strep … at least for this year.

In other news, I have six shopping days left until Christmas. Despite my best intuitions to unwind during the month of December and really savor advent, and not say wait until the last minute to do any Christmas preparations ... it appears that is once again precisely what has happened. I tell Charlie that THIS, this lack of time and feeling of overwhelmed is EXACTLY why I feel like I'm on the verge of collapse.  And Charlie tells me not to lose faith - we're well oiled machines at pulling things together when the heat is on and in a short span of time. He's certain everything will be awesome.  


Uh-huh. Notice the wine glass…

Around here, the absolutely impossible becomes totally possible with a cabernet.