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The Morgan family knows all about sick days.
Do you know what immunocompromised means? I thought I did, but it wasn’t really explained to me until a couple of years ago when I kept dragging Eva to the doctor and I accused them of missing some underlying virus or infection because she never had a break from being sick. Until then, I thought immunocompromised meant that those people got more sick from the same illnesses than “normal” people. That’s true sometimes, but what it really means is that something has happened to your immune system that makes it not as effective at treating bugs.
Everyone is immunocompromised when they’re sick because your immune system is all tied up fighting one thing, making it a little too tired/busy to fight something else, but when you’re like Eva and you have asthma you start out at a deficit all the time. She is more likely to get sick because of her asthma (and her asthma medication, strangely enough) and once she’s sick she’s more likely to get sick again and that’s likely to aggravate her asthma which makes it harder for her to get well and so on and so on.
Anyway, yes, we are familiar with sick days.
I have a couple of tricks up my sleeve for when someone is down and out with a virus, including blending chicken soup up so they can sip it from a Thermos while they watch a movie or sticking the kids in steam baths with a little Eucalyptus oil when they get wheezy. One of the things the kids look forward to, though, are the game tournaments we put together when someone needs to stay put and rest.
The key to these tournaments is not the games, it’s the prizes! I have a little box of small toys and surprises that I pull out to give to the kids when they win (Calvin gets prizes for being “on Eva’s team”).
The kids make their own prizes in case I win. I only win one out of every ten games because the kids cheat like crazy, but they’re sweet enough to give me participation prizes for trying. Most of the time the prizes are small drawings but the kids also make pipe cleaner jewelry and Calvin likes to sneak unfinished snacks into the prize hat. Nothing like “winning” one-third of a morning bagel in the late afternoon!
I really think making the prizes is the best part for Eva. She gets so excited about it and forgets for a while that she doesn’t feel good. It’s sort of a treat, too, since I don’t usually let her do art projects in bed.
The games we play are simple and don’t have a lot of pieces that could get lost in the bed. We used to pull out Candy Land but it’s hard to play a board game in bed unless you’re using a travel edition. Now we mostly stick to card games that are kept in the medicine drawer so they only come out when the kids are sick. That way, it’s another distracting treat that they can look forward to despite the sniffles.
The tough thing is when the kids feel so miserable that they don’t even want to play. Then they’re just in bed being whiny and thinking about how sick they are, which is why I’m glad they’re good about taking medicine like Children’s Advil. It brings the fever down and gives them some relief so their sick day doesn’t have to be all about feeling so sick.
We keep two different flavors because the kids have their favorites and I do not need to be listening to a plea for grape when I only have bubble gum on hand. There are six different flavors available and Calvin is all about the dye-free White Grape while Eva prefers the dye-free Berry. You can find all of the flavors in the cold medicine aisle at Walgreens.
Any sick day tips for me? Winter is coming!!
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