Health Issues Affect the Whole Family
As I write this column, I am lying in my bed with my feet up. Such an indulgence on a work day, I hear you cry. But, really, it’s not. You see, I’ve contracted an infection in my leg, and my remaining on bed rest is an attempt to stay out of the hospital. (By the time this column goes live, I will know the verdict on that one.)
The girls find this “Mommy is in the bed” thing fascinating. They understand it to some extent, because they experienced something similar last summer when Michael had surgery. But for that whole experience they had forewarning. The girls had witnessed Michael’s symptoms that prompted the surgery, and we spent weeks preparing them for Michael going to the hospital. I even bought them a puzzle of the anatomy of the digestive system so they would understand what part of Michael would be affected by the surgery. This, however, is very different. I was fine on Sunday, playing with them, drawing in sidewalk chalk and blowing bubbles in the beautiful weather, and on Monday my leg hurt. I spent a good chunk of Monday evening resting or asleep as Michael took the girls to Rose Garden Park outside Coolidge Corner. And then yesterday my doctor put me on rather strict bed rest. (I get up to use the bathroom, and while I’m up I do one or two things, but otherwise I’m flat on my back.)
The girls’ reactions to my predicament have been mixed. Squeaker insisted that I put her shoes on yesterday even though — as she helpfully informed me — shoes don’t belong in the bed. I told her an exception could be made this one time, and she was OK with that. In fact, she didn’t ask again this morning. Muffin, on the other hand, seems to be taking this as a weird phenomenon that is a curiosity at best and an annoyance at worst. She doesn’t understand how or why this should affect her life. My illness should not be any sort of disruption to her plans.
Throughout this whole thing, Michael has been a real champion, making sure the girls have everything they need and making sure I have with me in the bed everything I might need. In fact, the only thing I’ve had to do while up was refresh consumables (in this case, actual consumables — snacks and water. And cell phone battery power). He has handled the girls’ issues, large and small, and as far as I know he hasn’t yet stumbled upon anything completely unexpected, things that are totally Mommy-centric.
I also have to give credit to our baby sitter, Maria. She has picked up tasks, such as grocery shopping, that I usually handle, and she has been sure to keep the girls away when I’m trying to rest. Also, since I’m trying to do my day job while laid up (I’m a technical writer; one of the perks of the job is the ability to write anywhere), she has kept the girls occupied, at the park or at home, while I’m dealing with work-related issues.
With luck, this will clear up quickly and I’ll be back to my normal routine soon, chasing the girls around and getting cranky when they climb on the bed with their shoes on. But for now, I am grateful they’re at an age that they can make at least some sense of what is going on.
(And a huge shout out has to go to modern technology. I have kept in touch with the world through phone, e-mail, and various forms of instant messaging. I wrote this column on my iPad on Google Drive and taking full advantage of autocorrect. And thanks also to modern medicine, because of antibiotics and painkillers.)
This week’s column is written by Nomi S. Burstein.
About this column: The adventures of two Brookline parents and their twin daughters, Muffin and Squeaker. Copyright 2014 by Michael and Nomi Burstein.