Thankfully, I am back in the land of the living.
A complication of my pneumonia was coming down with Whopping Cough,
which made my illness much worse.
Olivia also has it, and we are continuing care for her.
There is no treatment for Pertussis.
Studies have shown that complete rest will shorten the illness, but there is nothing to comfort the terrible racking cough that takes your breathe away.
There is nothing to help lessen the coughing.
A mother of 9 getting complete rest meant that I had to go to bed and stay there.
By the time I was diagnosed, I was more than willing.
My dear mother came to help hold down the fort,
our daughter Anna was a huge help, and continues to be,
and my wonderful husband has put in more than his fair share of household help and child care.
Hopefully you will never have to deal with Pertussis, but if you do,
there maybe a few things that will help.
Laying down seams to make the coughing more abundant.
Therefore, with Olivia, I am sleeping sitting up, with her on my chest.
This way she sleeps less fitfully and I can support her when she has a fit of coughing,
as well as make sure she can draw breath after the coughing fit, be there if she vomits (common with the coughing spells)or begins to seizure, and just be of comfort.
Since I had it too, I was glad to sit up to sleep.
At times, it has been extremely difficult to draw breath, in which case a dose of Epinephrin helped. You can purchase it in Primatene Mist at Rite Aid or some such store,
but only until December of this year, when it will become outlawed to sell over the counter.
With a baby, dehydration is a key factor, so making sure Olivia stays hydrated can keep her from having to go to the hospital. The other reason to hospitalize an infant is to be able to sedate them,
in hopes of lessening the coughing fits.
Although there is a vaccine for Pertussis, it wears off over time,
and may not be effective at all in some people. Small babies are especially prone to catching pertussis if they are too young to have gotten the vaccine and all the boosters.
If you have wondered what Whooping cough is,
you can go to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and listen to it.
I thought that the cough made a specific sound, hence the name,
but now understand that the whoop is after the coughing fit,
when you are trying to force air back into your lungs.
It is rather terrifying, not being able to breath, or listening to someone trying desperately to draw breath without much success.
That, however, was not the big learning curve.
The big lessons were on a spiritual level.
With a long illness, it is pretty easy to become discouraged.
I think this is probably totally normal.
I was not content either.
Looking at it now, the two actually go together, first discontent with my circumstances,
and then discouragement of the situation that I could not change.
-The house was not the way I keep it,
-the children were not cared for the way I would do it, and so on...
and I had no choice but to relinquish control.
OK, so I probably have a little control idol in my closet.
And I probably did not think it was much of an issue,
but God, I think with a bit of a smirk, let me know otherwise.
Because He loves me, He saw this as the perfect opportunity for me to think about control...
what it looked like in my life....and since I had nothing better to do,
I could have all the time in the world to deal with it.
So what I am learning on my convalesces is to be content with the day at hand.
I still am not totally well or functioning at my normal level,
and therefore I must fight against frustration and live in gentleness.
My daily battle is to live quietly while I am still awaiting the ability to manage my household,
being grateful for all things, embracing the difficult and responding with grace.
This is tough stuff for me.
I haven't done as well as I would have liked.
Thankfully, God hasn't given up on me...He is still molding and shaping.
He still loves me even though I may resemble the tomatoes in our garden.
They have gotten frosted three times this summer.
They look bedraggled, wilted, and compeletly pathetic.
I was so ashamed of them, that I was ready to toss them out,
when my husband pointed out that they do actually have tiny little tomatoes set on.
Fruit, despite the trying conditions.
Late for the season, yes, but we can nurture them along, hopefully as the fruit ripens.
That is me, late for the season, bedraggled, wilty. Hopefully there will be fruit set on from this long ordeal that will grow and ripen one day to glorify my Heavenly Father.
Trials and difficulty are often for our good, for our growth and maturity.
Where would we be if everything always came easily and pleasantly?
We would be like a milk fed baby, not an enduring and fruit producing plant.
Whooping Cough was not the way I had envisioned my summer going.
But God has bigger and better things in mind than I do,
and His ways are perfect.
These things I am trying to keep in focus as I wait until I am well, till the household is well.
I do want to thank each of you who sent notes and emails, who prayed for our recovery...it means so very much to me, each word an encouragement to my soul in a needy time.
Today Olivia seems a bit better than yesterday,
so I hope and pray this is the beginning of her healing.
I will keep ya all posted.