Yesterday morning, Mark asked me to get him some cold medicine when I went to the store. And when I picked up Annalyn from school the other day, she told me she had a sore throat. To top it all off, Adrienne has developed a seriously runny nose over the past few days. Obviously I have begun panicking.
As I’ve mentioned before, I am a terrible nurse. TERRIBLE. I have very little patience and any nurturing tendency I might normally have flies out the window at the first sign of sniffles. And don’t even get me started on my bedside manner following injuries!
Last week, though – as the signs all pointed to SICK in this house – I began wondering if I could teach myself a little compassion toward my ailing family members. Is it possible I could learn to be a better nurse? Probably. After all, I’m not heartless. Despite the fact that mercy shows up at the very bottom of every spiritual gift assessment I’ve taken, I do have compassion. I do! I just need to channel it for the good of my family – you know, THE PEOPLE I LOVE THE MOST AND TO WHOM I SHOULD BE THE NICEST?! Yes, them.
Since being a good nurse and a sweet comforter doesn’t come easily or naturally to me, I turned to the internet for ideas. I’m happy to report that once I read a couple articles about taking care of sick kids, my imagination (and common sense) took over. Here are 10 things I am going to try the next time one of my favorite people is under the weather.
- Double sheet the beds and cover the floor with towels. This one is purely to help me keep my sanity and patience, so I’m able to be nice in the first place!
- Offer a special blanket, fuzzy socks or soft, comfy clothes. I actually thought it might be nice to keep on hand a “soft and fuzzy” set of clothes for each family member, just for sick days.
- Break out the popsicles (perfect for sore throats)!
- Fix their favorite, bland (or soft) foods. Adrienne loves pasta, so mac and cheese is always a hit. And Annalyn loves mashed potatoes – the ultimate bland food that won’t irritate a sore throat. This is also a good time to break my no juice (or Gatorade) rule, especially for kiddos who need nutrients or are in danger of dehydration.
- Warm up blankes, towels or other lovies in the dryer. Obviously not the best fit for patients burning up with fever, but those who have chills or just need some extra pampering will love this!
- Sing a special song. I’m not saying you have to go all Big Bang Theory and do Soft Kitty; any tune that comforts your people will do.
- Enforce mandatory nap time. Whether you’re trying to multitask and work from home while you care for your patience or just need a little break, nap time is the rest BOTH of you need!
- Break out some quiet toys. Since we went on vacation last summer, I’ve kept a box of quiet, containable toys – and they would be perfect for bored, bedridden kids. Magnets on a cookie sheet, play dough, coloring pages, and I Spy books would all be great options. So would photo albums or their baby books!
- Watch a movie together or (if looking at a screen hurts) listen to an audiobook. While I normally try to keep daily screen time to a reasonable amount for my kids (if not myself, AHEM), sick days are always an exception.
- Run a warm bath. Maybe even add bubbles.
I think even I can manage these things! (Especially with that nap time to look forward to!)
Are you a good nurse? How do you comfort or care for your family when they’re sick?
Part of my panic when my kids and husband started complaining of various symptoms was the fear that they could have the flu. This winter, as many as 20 percent of Americans will get the flu. Thankfully, our local children’s hospital – Children’s Mercy – has great information on telling the difference between cold and flu.
To figure it out, ask these three questions:
- Did it come on fast?
- Is there congestion?
- Is there a high fever?
Unlike a regular cold, the flu typically develops very quickly (even overnight) and shows up with a high fever (over 101 for kids or 100 for infants). And while colds bring on nasty congestion, flu often does not. For more information about the flu, Children’s Mercy has a great site full of helpful info and tips here.
It’s not too late to get the flu vaccine either, by the way. After this recent scare in my house, I’ve bumped that to the top of my to-do list! (I know, I know, we should have gotten them well before now! But like I just said, IT’S NOT TOO LATE – for you or for me.)
And, local friends, if your kids do get sick and popsicles and Soft Kitty aren’t enough to get them back on their feet, you can always visit Children’s Mercy Urgent Care. We’ve gone to the Northland location several times and had great service and care there. (You can also visit Children’s Mercy Urgent Care locations in Independence and Blue Valley.)
Stay healthy, friends! (Idea number 11 is enlisting all recovered or healthy family members to help me sanitize the house and get rid of the germs!)
I’m excited to partner with Children’s Mercy as one of the #CMHmoms. As always, all opinions are honest and my own.