My friend Jenn and I are holding each other to some blog goals for the month of November. She's writing every day, I'm getting away with just twice a week, but the first week ends in a few hours so I've got some work to do.
November welcomed us with a nice case of "The Flu Which Shall Not Be Named," or so two doctors tell us. So, with the exception of trips to the clinic, the ER, the drug store, and the university (just twice, to teach my class), we've been under a self-imposed quarantine all week.
I did make a quick trip to the library midweek, but that was a mistake. Olivia wanted a couple of DVD's and I had an election yard sign to return. It was actually our first ever election yard sign-- for a library levy. When I'd initially picked it up, the person handing them out had asked that I return it to the library after November 3rd, when the election was over. Being quarantined, I've really had no concept of days, so I pulled the sign out of our yard ON election day and then walked into the library, practically waving it and completely oblivious to the fact that I'd just walked into a voting area holding my large campaign sign. An election official kindly asked me to return the sign to my car, as I had certainly stepped well into the "no campaigning" zone. I was happy to oblige and even happier to get back to the safety of my germ-infested home.
I wish I could say I got stir crazy this past week. There were certainly times, but what the week actually did was make me want to stay home even more. I think I've become a very content home body. I love our home, even when it's wild and crazy with two sick little girls hopped up on meds. It's comfortable, it's cozy, its got some good views, and lots of live entertainment. It feels safe. After the fevers broke, I decided to give each girl 24 hours before letting them re-enter the world. Then I decided they probably could do with 24 more hours after that. Finally last night, we ventured out to a playground and then a Subway for dinner. But there was lots of sanitizing throughout the evening and a number of choppy reminders, "Liv, don't lean on the glass case- it has other people's germs."
We might venture to church tomorrow, Olivia will probably go to preschool on Monday, but each excursion will be with hesitation on my part. I don't want another afternoon spent holding my fevered child in my lap while she coughs behind a flimsy face mask, a mask that came from the same box as the 12 other face masks being adorned by sick people in the waiting room. I don't want another morning spent rocking my lethargic baby who isn't sleeping, but doesn't have the energy to open her eyes. She would have cried except that the coughing and the crying hurt her throat too much. So the warm tears from the closed eyes would just trickle onto my shirt sleeve. I don't want anything out "there" to inflict this kind of pain on my daughters ever again. I could make a fairly convincing argument that everything they need can be given to them in this house, by me and my husband, and that it's my parental duty to protect them from all those contaminants out there. It's very tempting, this kind of control, this kind of power.
But we're sick too. They probably got this most recent bug from us. We're coughing and inhaling the same germs they are. Extended isolation is a bad idea. A lot happened out there this week, and we missed it. There were elections, there was a world series, some birthdays and battles, some conflicts and conversations, lots and lots of sickness, but lots and lots of healing as well. So we've got to chance it. We have to put them out there to mingle with the world, to spread and share "germs". I'm convinced that, in the long run, they'll be healthier for it. But no doubt I'll always fight, and not always resist, the urge to impose another quarantine every now and then.