3,652 Days Ago.

I haven’t felt like participating in a Writer’s Workshop lately, but I am finding myself a bit dry in the inspiration department. I don’t have much to say right now that hasn’t already been said. My kid had a gross, blistery rash which she so generously shared and contaminated her father with, my mom is still dead, I’m still working, etc.

SO, I turned to Mama Kat once more for ideas. This is the prompt I chose.

Mama’s Losin’ ItTen years ago on this day, I was eighteen years old and living with a man 9 years my senior. I cannot be more specific, because save for special dates and memorable occasions who the hell remembers exactly what they were doing on any given day ten years in the past? I tried turning to my old LiveJournal to see if I’d written an entry detailing my day, but all I came up with was some WHAT COLOR FLOWER ARE YOU? quiz or some shit like that. I took a lot of those.

Ten years ago, I was working at a movie theater for $5.15 an hour. I know, right? I thought it was the greatest job ever, because I got to see free movies and eat free popcorn whenever I wanted. I also got to wear a rad vest and bowtie.

Ten years ago, I had been in Chattanooga less than a year. Ten years ago on this day I can confidently tell you that I was thinner. Ten years ago on this day, I had never given birth. I had never had a miscarriage. On this day ten years ago, I hadn’t ever had to make the decision to put my mother into hospice care, and then watch as her body ceased to function as she died. On this day ten years ago, the thought that people went through that kind of thing every day wasn’t something that entered my head even for a fleeting moment.

Ten years ago on this day, I hadn’t yet met the woman who is now my best friend. I had no idea that she and I would become friends, lose touch for a while and then have daughters two weeks (to the day) apart. I had no idea that we’d work together for a second time and become almost like sisters.

Ten years ago on this day I thought I had everything figured out. I was in love with my boyfriend; I was content with my little job, with my little life. I was honestly just glad to not be living in the overwhelming, dark presence of my crazy, manic mother anymore.

On this day ten years ago, I was oblivious as to what the next 3,652 days held in store for me. A break-up. A marriage. A miscarriage first; then giving birth to a daughter. Weight loss. The death of my crazy, manic mother.

On this day ten years ago, I was a completely different person. A girl. I think that if I went back and visited that girl that existed all those years ago, I would not recognize her. I would cock my head and observe her curiously, watch her go about her life as if I were watching the life of a stranger. Would I advise her to do anything differently? Probably not. The actions of that girl molded and shaped her into the woman that she ultimately became; a woman who is now married to a wonderful man, who has an amazing daughter, who has seen and suffered heartbreaking losses and has come through stronger and wiser.

3,652 days is an awfully long time, and an instant all at once. If you blink, you might miss it. I can’t help but smile and wonder what the next 3,652 days have in store.

Toddler Quarantine

Last Sunday, Nellie started running a fever of about 102. She was burning up all night and into the morning, so Josh stayed home with her. We kept her out of school on Tuesday as well and that evening, I noticed that she had developed some sort of rash on her arms.

And her legs.

And her back.

And her face.

You get the point. It was everywhere. Most of it was little, red bumps but a few were large and almost blister-like. Panicked that she had the measles, I uploaded  pictures to Twitter and Facebook asking for advice as to what it could be. Measles? Pox? SARS? Ebola? Plague? I got a variety of responses, most people thinking it was an allergic reaction or Roseola. I knew I couldn’t drop her back off at daycare with an unidentified rash (have fun Nellie! Don’t lick anyone!) so I took her in to see her pediatrician on Wednesday. Her fever had gone away by then, but the rashes were still blazing on her little knees and body.

Her doctor inspected her, taking care to look at her hands, feet, and mouth. He took a peek inside and nodded.
“She has some sores in her throat. I’m sending her back for a strep test, but I’m almost positive it’s not strep.”
Nellie tolerated her strep swab well, and charmed the lab technician with various animal impressions. After the test came back negative, the doctor gave his diagnosis:

Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease.

Luckily, I have heard of HFM before as I have friends whose children have contracted it. It’s an extremely common childhood ailment, has a duration of about a week during which the affected child has to be quarantined from other children as it’s a very contagious virus. The doctor informed us that we were to keep Nellie away from other kids until the rashes were gone, regardless of whether the fever was still present or not. Rash = no contact with children. When I relayed the diagnosis to my husband he squawked, “WHAT THE HELL IS THAT?!” My mother in law had a similar reaction.

I stayed home with her all day Wednesday, and all day Thursday because on Thursday, Josh developed a fever and a migraine. By Thursday, Nellie had already been confined to our apartment for four days and was getting very whiny. She still wasn’t feeling great, and add that to the fact that it’d been so long since she had been out of the apartment and that made for one unhappy little girl, and one verge-of-going-crazy mama.

Once daddy began feeling better, we decided to take Nellie out for some fresh air. It was a beautiful day on Thursday; about 65 degrees and sunny. We took her to our local Greenway so she could have some space and not risk licking/touching/sneezing on any other children. She enjoyed throwing some pebbles and playing in the creek there.

Just because you’re highly contagious and have gross rashes on your butt doesn’t mean you can’t have a little fun at the creek.

While we were on our way home, Nellie started coughing and a second later we heard the unmistakable sound of vomit hitting the backseat of the car (Nellie is still rear-facing). And then we heard it again. And again. And then one more time. Nellie started wailing, I pulled over, and winced at the sight of my toddler covered in throw-up. Luckily it wasn’t too much farther to home, so I handed our dripping child off to Josh and took care of cleaning the inside of the car. These are the magical moments of parenting everyone always waxes poetic about, folks.

We think that the sores in her throat are causing her gag reflex to be a little sensitive, thus the coughing resulting in vomit. She is still covered in rashes, but is fever-free. We hope that the HFM will clear up over the weekend and our girl will be able to be released from her solitude and integrated back into society. We could all use the return to our normal routine.