Nothing says summer like a highly contagious illness. Some families take vacations to the beach, but we just get sick. This usually ends up saving us a lot of money (as long as no one lands in the ER). Last year in June we went to the ER three times, so that was not as cost-effective as I'd like. Pink P was introduced to the wonderful world of asthma (and by wonderful, I mean totally crappy), and my gall bladder decided to move to Mexico. It sucked and we were hoping for a much quieter summer this year.
And at first, this summer vacation seemed better. The kids various life-long ailments were under control, I was no longer spending every waking hour on my dissertation, and Ren's back was on the mend. For a brief, shining moment, all was well.
My first-sign we were in trouble should have been Ren's back (and technically the trouble started before we realized it, so there was really no brief, shining moment--you can let a girl fantasize, though, can't you?). The day before my defense, he "re-irritated" it. (BTW, "re-irritated" is my denial word for "he completely screwed it up again"). In his defense, he didn't do anything he wasn't supposed to be doing. His back is just bad. Very, very bad. We are moving headlong toward another, much bigger, surgery. (But, I don't want to talk about it right now. I'm in denial.)
That thing I am denying is a pretty good sign our summer plans are shattered. But just in case I had delusions of salvaging even the tiniest shard of hope for a "normal" summer, the boys came down with Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease. (I love that just the mention of HFM makes people feel phantom pains and start to see spots. Just like saying "pink eye" causes people rub their eyes. Oh, and CHICKEN POX!)
Anyway, where was I? Oh, right. Stow and Pink P went to a birthday party for a friend, and it turned out that the birthday girl had HFM. Sigh. I'm totally not one of those parents who gets worked up when someone's sick kid hangs with mine. They are all little petri dishes and the world is full of germs, so I've accepted the fact they're going to get sick. Oh, but I wish Sky and Stow didn't get HFM.
First of all, Sky couldn't get over how someone could possibly do such a thing to him. He ended up missing most of his week at hiking day camp and lamented his plight daily by recapping (quite dramatically, I might add) how his brother and sister had so callously brought such awful germs home to him. Sky's week of quarantine was especially rough on Ren.
But the worst part was poor Stow. The HFM virus caught up with him when he was already battling a double ear infection, so he got the worst case of HFM I've ever seen (granted, I've only seen it a couple of other times in other people's kids, but still...). His hands, feet, mouth, arms, legs, buttocks, elbows, knees, neck, and ears had red spots that became little blisters that turned into ginormous blisters that that then erupted into angry-looking red sores which eventually scabbed over.
(Stop reading here if you have a weak stomach or are particularly sensitive to rash pictures--though I guess that last sentence might have done some of you in already. Wimps.)
Awww, what a sweet sleeping bab....
Wait! Agh! What's that?
Hurry up! Do something! The aliens are trying to get out!!
You get the picture. It was ugly. It was painful. And it lasted a long, long time. We couldn't take him anywhere because even when he was no longer contagious, no one would believe it.
I mean, look at him:
So, two weeks into summer vacation, and I am pretty sure it will not go as planned. Not even a little.