Disillusioned Disinfecting

Sometimes I drive myself completely insane. Take last week. It started on Sunday. We were finally going to the activity complex where we had my daughter’s last birthday. Since her birthday party, she’s asked to go to the place roughly twice a day, every day.

I felt good that we were finally doing something fun over the weekend, instead of our usual fabulous trip to Home Depot. I felt a little bit of a stomach twinge on our way to KFC for lunch. I was hungry and the fried smells didn’t bother me, so I ate lunch with no problem. We headed to the fun complex afterwards, and I felt a heaviness in my stomach, but nothing major. I was fine watching my daughter and husband drive a go-cart and use the batting cages. I had an injury and couldn’t bat, but I did play air hockey with my daughter and we all played some serious skee-ball.

As we stood in line to cash in the prize tickets we’d accumulated, I had to run to the bathroom. The queasiness was getting stronger and lunch felt like a brick in my stomach. I held it together in the ladies’ room, but when we got home, I had to lie down. It took an hour but I got sick. I spent the rest of the day in bed and my hub handled the kids and even fed them dinner. He even stayed home the next day, without even asking. I was grateful. I felt better but I still wasn’t in any shape to take care of the kids.  I spent the day washing my hands a million times and making sure the kids didn’t touch anything I touched. I didn’t want anyone else to get my bug. So that was Monday.

My husband went to work on Tuesday. I had a bit of a relapse, but there was nothing I could do. I had to take care of the kids. On the way home from camp, my daughter got sick while we were at the bank’s drive-through window. I should have known something was wrong when she said she didn’t want the lollipop the bank gives out. Honestly I don’t think she’s ever puked anywhere other than her car seat. I pulled over, cleaned her up the best I could and we headed home. She laid down on the couch and we argued over what she could and could not drink. I’d had a bad experience with water so I didn’t want to pass it along to her. We settled on a Pedialyte pop.

She got her energy back a few hours later, and that’s when I lost my freakin’ mind. I didn’t want my son to get the virus so I followed my daughter around with disinfecting wipes, cleaning every single thing she touched, and having my son wash his hands immediately if he touched any of my daughter’s toys.  I super-disinfected for about four hours, until the kids went to bed. It was exhausting, but I figured it was worth it if it kept my son and my husband safe.

The next day, my daughter stayed home with me and I disinfected everything again. I don’t know how I did it. The day after that, my husband took the kids because I had a writers’ conference. That was Thursday. The conference continued Friday, and we went out to dinner when I got home. My husband wanted chicken wings. We considered Buffalo Wild Wings, but the place was too loud for me. We went next door to another family chain, where my husband got his wings.

I woke up at 5:30 a.m. to the sound of sickness in the master bathroom. I knocked on the door, asked my husband if he needed help. Let’s just say he told me he was very sick. His symptoms were different than ours, so we concluded that he had food poisoning. I stayed home with the kids the next two days while he slept. I missed the rest of my conference, including an opportunity to pitch one of my books to a literary agent. I also missed my annual opportunity to be around grownups for four days. That was the worst part.

So despite my best efforts, my daughter AND my husband got sick. It feels like a big karmic joke. I don’t know what I’m supposed to learn from this, but  what I did learn was that I can make myself crazy and I don’t have to. One of my friends advised me to stop disinfecting things and just wash everybody’s hands a lot. I think that’s what I’ll do next time. The other thing I learned is that, no matter how hard I try, I can’t control everything.

Everybody’s recovered now and we’re back to our routine. And I had nothing to do with it.