This has been a month of sickness at Casa Rebecca. It began on April 1, when we were supposed to go to Kentucky to see my sister, should-be sister-in-law, and nephew, who were at my parents' house. Jeff was too under the weather to go along, so I took Vinny up there for a 24-hour visit, because I had to get back home to fly out early Sunday morning for a conference. We were stopped on the interstate in the middle of nowhere because there had been an accident, when Vinny started screaming about his eyes hurting. Two hours later, my bonus mom looked at his eyes and declared that he had pinkeye.
I felt like the world's best aunt: bringing my contagious child to expose my nephew to disease at the very beginning of an epic two-month cross-country trip. But I took Vinny to an urgent treatment center on Saturday morning to get him medicated, and then we devised ways that the boys could play together without spreading infection.
Treating Vinny for the pinkeye was not so fun. He was really scared of the drops and I would just hold him down and put them in, but I didn't know how Jeff was going to handle that after I was away. But luckily, Jeff had a stroke of genius and let Vinny put allergy eyedrops into Jeff's eyes. After it became a mutual eye-dropping process, there was no longer an issue.
On Sunday I traveled to San Francisco for a conference. I was staying at a beautiful hotel at the top of Nob Hill. On Monday I was abnormally tired -- beyond the usual fatigue of sleep deprivation, jet lag, etc. Monday night I woke up with severe chills -- I suffered through them all night because I had not thought to pack any medicine. In the morning, I had a choice: walk three blocks straight downhill to a pharmacy, and then try to hike the three blocks straight back up, or pay $10 for some gold-plated tylenol from the hotel. I paid the $10. They even delivered it to me. I spent most of Tuesday lying around in my room.
I found out that a friend of mine was going to be on the same flights as me on the way home, and on Wednesday morning we left San Francisco. For the connection I had requested assistance to get between the gates, so I got to ride one of those people movers for the first time, which was fun. But the landings of my flights were incredibly painful to my ears, which were apparently congested (I had no idea until I flew). I understand why babies cry when the plane is landing. I was tugging at my ear lobes in the hopes that something would help. When I got home, my ears were so clogged that the outside world sounded like it does when I wear earplugs.
The next morning, I went to the medical center at work, where they gave me some antibiotics for my ear infection, and then I stayed home for two days. I was feeling enough improved to go to work on Monday, especially because I wanted to avoid the paperwork.* But I did go to my regular doctor on Wednesday, because my ears were still incredibly painful.
I am a good and sharing wife, and I passed whatever I had over to Jeff. I had blamed him for my illness, and it may be that he did give it to me and then I gave it back to him in mutated form (with earache). So he went to the doctor this past Tuesday because he was feeling so lousy.
On Tuesday I hosted an interviewee. Normally I am polite and shake people's hands, but I did not shake his because I had noticed that my eyes were feeling grainy and painful and were getting kind of pink. The next day I went to the doctor and she confirmed that I had pinkeye. And yesterday it seemed like Jeff was coming down with it too. We have washed all the towels and sheets in hot water and are now using them only once before throwing them back in the wash again, until the infection subsides. We are also watching Vinny's eyes to make sure that he doesn't get it again. He has been dispensing the drops into my eyes for me, and takes the whole process, including hand-washing, very seriously.
We had invited my dad and bonus mom down for the weekend, but they uninvited themselves after finding out about all the germs in our household. "We'll come another time," they said. We've been sick for nearly 4 weeks in this household, but surely it's got to end!
* My workplace has a strange policy that if you are absent from work for more than 4 days in a row with the same condition, you are placed on short-term disability. Weekends count against the number of days, probably to discourage people from using sick days for vacation. This is not the first time I have dragged myself in to work in order to avoid the arduous paperwork process. All you have to do is survive a half day and the counter gets reset.