Last Friday we traveled home from Northern Ireland. We left at around seven Friday morning and arrived home at about 1230 Saturday morning. It was a long day. Somewhere along the line, most probably on the ferry, my littlest caught Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease. As the symptoms take 3-5 days to appear, we were not aware anything was wrong until Monday when she was complaining of feeling unwell. When the very very itchy rash appeared on her hand on Wednesday we were certain something wasn’t right. Because the itching was almost more than she could bear we went to the doctors. She gave us an antihistamine which could be taken with Piriton (another antihistamine). This was supposed to stop the itching and knock her out so she was able to sleep.
We knew almost from the start of the night that it was going to be a loooooong one. B5 did not stay in bed for longer than ten minute stretches. The medicine had neither stopped the itching or helped her to sleep! In the end she spent the night in bed with me, whilst Gary slept uninterrupted on the sofa (he had to be in work at 6 the next morning). She was awake the whole night scratching. We tried everything from bowls of cold water, cotton gloves, Sudo crem and calamine lotion. Nothing worked. By the morning her feet were also itching.
And as I lay there with her, gently rubbing her hands to relieve her itching without breaking the skin, and watching each hour pass by, I reflected over just how blessed I was. Yes, I was losing sleep but it didn’t really matter for I would be able to rest the next day. I did not have to get up for work. I did not need to find someone to child-mind my daughter for me. In fact, I did not have to worry about anything but being with my sick daughter. And Gary, who needed to be up so early, was able to have the rest he needed.
The next morning, groggy from a terrible night of trying but failing to help my youngest cope with her itching, my eight year old clambered into bed with me. Her newly sick body hurting and incredibly hot. Yes, it seemed she was coming down with it too. No spots yet, and no itchiness, but it was clear she felt very unwell. And again I reflected on just how good life was. I thanked God that I could be here snuggled up to my two girls, with nothing more important in my life needing my time or attention.
My older twin took control, making me a coffee (yay!!) and making little cocoons in the living room for her younger sisters. Both twins covered all the chores without complaint whilst Thomas went shopping for Ribena and fizzy water for the sore throats and Calamine lotion for the itching.
There is sickness in this house but there is something much bigger than that. Team work; selflessness; a focus on caring for those who are sick; and between it all a little bit of school work for the older ones and some review writing for me. Very soon I will be making some nourishing homemade soup and tucking myself and my little ones into bed for a nap. Yes, we are utterly blessed. There is no rushing, no worrying, just lots and lots of nurturing love.