That Time Christmas Break “Flu” By

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If fun could be measured in dirty kleenex and cough drop wrappers, our vacation has been a real blast. Look no further than our overflowing trash receptacles. While everyone else was watching the ball drop on New Year’s eve, we watched the thermometer rise. It all started the day after Christmas. My husband was the first to fall. When he coughed, his whole torso shook sending reverberations across our home’s creaky floor boards. 

“Was that an earthquake?” “No. Daddy’s just a little sick, kids.” 

He retreated to the bedroom where he remained for two days sheathed in several blankets. Alarmingly, each time I peeked in on him, his pallor went a whole shade lighter, eerily reminiscent of those antique tin-type photos that fade away over time. My husband was disappearing too. He wore the same ghostly stiff, pained expression I remember from those aged photos. That’s what I glimpsed when I delivered a glass of water to him, which he greedily gulped down. Then he began to shake as if he’d been tagged with an electric cattle prod. This was not looking good. 

I recall feeling “a bit under the weather” at this point. And for two valiant days and nights, I fought the good fight, keeping kids occupied, doing dishes and trying to get ahead of the laundry. Then, I too succumbed. After a night of no less than six disturbances from sick kids, I woke up aching so bad my hair hurt. Once I administered a temp check and dosed all the ailing patients with ibuprofen, the reality that I was sunk overwhelmed me. I crawled into bed and promptly began to sob. The next couple days are a blur of fever, chills and the scent of Vick’s Vapor Rub. I do recall looking in the mirror during one of my trips to the bathroom and being shocked to see two lifeless, sunken-in, dark rings staring back at me. 

My one consolation during all of this was that at least I wasn’t pregnant. Because the last time I had the flu I had been pregnant with baby # 2. The only thing I could take was Tylenol. As my temperature inched upward, I remember being filled with anxiety for my little one. Was I cooking my developing baby? Thankfully, I didn’t have that concern this time around. It helped me frame my perspective when I desperately wanted a big ol’ pity party because it felt like we were living in a TB ward.

Needless to say, we watched a LOT of TV. The kids became Netflix zombies in between spoonfuls of Motrin.

I re-watched a couple of interesting documentaries that I think are definitely worth viewing. They’re both not suitable for kids, not because of any graphic sex or violence, but merely due to the subject matter. They both tell the stories of various men and women who are same-sex attracted. It follows their stories as they grew up with the realization they were gay and their incredible journeys back to the Church. Both docs offer fascinating stories and insight. I applaud these brave individuals for detailing their painful walks. I love that these wonderful films open up to discussion a topic that often gets dismissed and swept under the rug among our Church communities. But when we cover our eyes and ears, we end up allowing the world to shape our understanding of these challenging topics. But both films open up a wider picture as to the greater understanding of God’s design for all of us, gay or straight, as provided by the comprehensive and beautiful teaching of our Church. I consider these to be must-sees for anyone with children and teenagers. More importantly, though, do you know our Church’s teaching on homosexuality? If you only know that we consider it wrong, you are wrong. There’s a whole lot more to it. As Fulton Sheen so perfectly stated, “There are not over a hundred people in the United States who hate the Catholic Church. There are millions, however, who hate what they wrongly believe to be the Catholic Church — which is, of course, quite a different thing.” I challenge you to learn what our Church really teaches. You don’t need a subscription to any service to see either of them. They are both available on the internet. I watched both on my phone during my more lucid, ibuprofen-fueled stretches. Maybe they’re even more enjoyable sans the flu!

I watched them in this order.

1.) The Third Way

and

2.) Desire of the Everlasting Hills

Lastly, I was the recipient of a corporal work of mercy that felt like a ray of sunshine on a Cleveland winter day. A friend showed up on my doorstep to literally visit the sick. She brought goodies for my kids, a meal for my whole family and a bounty of kindness. Thank you to my dear friend who became the hands and feet of Jesus for me, braving the cold to come to my aid. 

I am still coughing like a chain smoker with asthma… but I am truly blessed.

Happy, HEALTHY 2018!

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