Warning, this is a #self care PSA. So far this week, I’ve been diagnosed with a sinus infection for the third time this year and bonus – a STAPH infection. Oh, and both kids have runny noses and are transitioning their naps for one fewer than they’d been doing. For the love of sweet baby Jesus, can we just be done already with all the sickness? It’s almost mid-August and I want to start thinking about fall decor and pumpkin spice lattes as we enjoy these last weeks of official summer. I don’t want to be mired in sickness. I can be sick in the winter when being relegated inside is part of the “being a New England resident” bylaws.
PLEASE do me a solid and just take a second to GOOGLE “staph infection” and educate yourself because I wrongly always assumed this was only something you got accidentally after being in a hospital and not scrubbing your hands.
I’ve been so fortunately healthy for so many years of my life that this endless sickness since we had kids is totally new territory. Growing up and even into my twenties, a salt water gargle for the occasional canker or sore throat was the extent of my woes. Maybe throw some homemade chicken stock soup at a cold if one cropped up. The end. I only started getting a flu shot with my second baby!
But back to the staph infection. I thought I just had a bunch of very itchy mosquito bites from being out in the garden so much. They may have started out that way, but thanks to a lot of time at the local pool and a lot of humid walks with the kids, those bites got irritated and itched to death and apparently became infected. I’m just grateful I blurted it out to my doctor as the door almost hit him on the ass after he handed me my prescription when I went in about my sinus issue because I’d thought absolutely nothing of the non-stop itchiness for weeks; meanwhile, I’d actually caused an infection on my own body without realizing.
I know self-care is an eye-rolling-worthy buzzword lately, but really, I’ve started to feel like I’m completely falling apart healthwise. Please take the time to check some doctors appointments off your list and stop delaying all the proactive measures you know you should be taking in order to stay healthy that have fallen to the wayside. You can’t take your health for granted; don’t make my mistake and only appreciate it once it takes a leave of absence.
And the sinus infection thing… well. For years, I rolled my eyes too anytime someone used the word sinus infection. Like, GET OVER YOURSELF. Your nose is congested. Then after I had kids, my body just wasn’t as cared for and attended to as it once was. I used to eat vegetables. I used to go to yoga and manage my stress levels. I USED TO SLEEP! That sort of thing.
But honestly, after kids, I suddenly became severely affected by seasonal allergies and what I’ve now come to realize is that my intense denial that my health isn’t as steady and reliable as I’d once enjoyed has resulted in some INTENSE suffering.
It is my personal understanding that a sinus infection is basically a head cold that was never dealt with that goes on to infect your whole face, centralizing around your T-Zone. Imagine a circle right through your eyes with your nose as the central point. A sinus “infection” centralizes right there and feels like the most impossible pressure and pain. The only relief I feel is when I pinch my nose and blow out, popping my ears the way you might on an airplane when the pressure became too much. Or by standing in the shower inhaling steam. Or sipping tea. All things you just don’t have the luxury of doing when you’re a busy parent. I find that I toss and turn all night trying to find a comfortable position to sleep and only alight on it as the sun rises. Then, I begin to settle in, finally comfortable. Then the kids wake!
Based on my experience, attention, and research, I’ve realized that a sinus infection is the price I end up paying when I don’t correctly deal with my allergies (or a simple cold) when they first hit. I drag my feet and claim I just have a touch of a cold because I’m a MOM. I can’t lounge in bed and recover with sleep and soup. I have a non-stop, starring roll to play in the lives of a one and three year old, from the moment my husband leaves for work at 7:30 each morning, until the kids heads hit their pillows each night, usually by 8:30 PM. The days are L-O-N-G.
But now? I have a neti pot. And this spectacularly gross/amazing YouTube video of a father helping his daughter neti pot a sinus infection out. SO GROSS BUT I CAN’T LOOK AWAY. It also just might perfectly demonstrate exactly what being a parent is all about. I have a stockpile of distilled water and eucalyptus essential oil at the ready for my humidifier which I regularly douse with vinegar to keep mold and germ at bay. I have an air purifier that travels with me through the house and will slowly add to our collection until we have them throughout the house. (*I’ll share details below – I LOVE ours.) I also will take the time to keep chicken stock at the ready in the freezer so making soup isn’t an impossible feat and I have it when sickness strikes. And finally, I will keep regular appointments with my primary care doctor and work on being more proactive about my health, instead of waiting for disaster to strike and then just trying to keep my little ship from capsizing.
Encouraging moms everywhere to do the same and prioritize just this one thing. It doesn’t have to be a grand sweeping thing, just take small steps.
*We have the Honeywell AirGenius 5 Air Purifier/Odor Reducer and I absolutely LOVE it. I wanted something with a reusable (easy to clean) filter. It’s quiet and the air feels so crisp and clean now when I run it regularly. If I could do the Oprah “gifts” thing, I would give every person in my life one of these things because they are fantastic. Seriously. Get one. You’ll become obsessed with clean air in your home.