November 23, 2022

BRIEFLY pre-turkey day update: a germ sharing fiasco

I had a post ready for today, but realizing that many of you might be stuffing your birds and baking your pies, I switched gears with a very brief update. Not my strong suit, but I'm gonna try. 

Mini had classes Monday and Tuesday. With MANY students from our area heading home from South Bend for Thanksgiving, I told her to try to sort something out. I had to babysat Tuesday. 

Mini:  Dad can't take the day off?

Someone must've been crowned a princess since she left home. Um, have you met your father? Days off are about as common as people hoisting Gumby atop their cars at tailgates. 


Mini went back to her room Saturday before halftime of the ND game. She was INSANELY cold. Thought she'd never be warm again. A few hours later:  chills. Sunday morning:  miserable. Sore throat. Congestion. Fever. Some terrible virus was going around the school. 

I hadn't slept much Sat night and feared I'd be too tired to drive and get her, but she was in no shape for her M/Tu classes. 

Honestly, I was an emotional wreck Sunday. It's Lad. Coach and I are beside ourselves with worry. Over the weekend we'd sat him down. Shared our concerns. 

In Coach's words:  Well, that could not have gone worse. 

Everything is basically fine. He's living here. He's upset with us. It's unpleasant. Beyond that - I vote for tough love. Let him move out. Hit rock bottom. Seek help. Coach worries he'll harm himself. He hasn't given us any indication that he'd do this, but one never knows. How would we live with ourselves? 


(In my mind, I'm saying:  BRIEF, BRIEF,  . . . I'm trying)

Anyway, no one wanted Mini to bring her germs home. Then my sister, Marie, texted:  I can bring Mini home when I pick up 'cousin.' 

I called Mini:  You'll need to lay low at school and wait till Tuesday when Aunt Marie can bring you home. 

Mini threw up a few times due to
 coughing. Have you heard
 of this? The ER people
 recommended it. I was
 glad to have it on hand.
My mind was muddled and I wasn't sure I was thinking straight. Mini sobbed. Then I sobbed after I'd just stopped sobbing about Lad.

Me (to Coach):  I'm going to get her. 

Coach:  You're being irrational. 

I agreed, but I was powerless to my emotions and I needed something to feel right. Leaving her in a dorm felt awful. I swapped my contact lenses for glasses and drove with puffy eyes. Mini sat in the back of the minivan. Both of us masked. 

Curly moved out of their room and slept in Tank's vacant bed (he was due home Tuesday). We ordered Mini to stay in her room and barred the other kids from using that bathroom. 

Will it surprise anyone that Mini
couldn't find a kleenex box behind
 the laundry room door? There
 were 5 boxes on top of this stack,
 but I brought them to the first floor
 to replenish. How does one
 miss that? Maybe the fever
 is impacting her vision.
Ed cooked an amazing dinner Monday. Curly had a small plate before her game. She planned to have more afterwards, so she left her plate out. *this is a thing here, if you're having more in a bit - set your plate aside* We all went to her game. Ed brought a plate up to the patient before we left. 

After the game, Ed and I drove to the grocery store. He'd done all of my shopping on Sunday, then went back Monday when he decided to cook. No one had noticed how low we were on fruit. Ed came home Thursday night - he eats a lot of fruit. I ran in and bought fruit. 

Curly had 4 tests the next day, so Coach wisked her home in his car to study. When I got home, she was eating more dinner. Her plate, that I'd told her to put in front of Violet's picture on the island was still there. A minute later we put two and two together. Coach had grabbed a plate next to the kitchen sink, believing it was Curly's. 


Fingers crossed this worked.

Curly sobbed after realizing she'd eaten a plate full of food mixed with Mini's leftover bits of rice and veggies. The HORROR. Curly sobbed. We had her drink a packet of Emergen-C. 

Not as brief as I'd envisioned, sorry. Mini's still a mess. She could NOT have gotten into Marie's car Tuesday. Can you imagine? 

Did the microwave kill off any germs? Thankfully, the retired Curly doesn't Irish dance this weekend. 

Hope you have a wonderful, non-germy Thanksgiving, or regular weekend if you aren't from the States . . . if you've learned nothing else here, remember to keep track of your plate.

Thankful for all of you. 


Nicole said...

I hope Curly doesn't get it! Poor Mini. It sucks to be sick on a holiday. Everyone in my house - except me, knock wood - has had what sounds like that same virus. Two weeks later my older son is still coughing. There is something nasty making the rounds.

I'm sorry about your hard time with Lad. It's so hard when the kids struggle. Hugs.

Ally Bean said...

Excellent advice about keeping track of your plate. Especially in light of Thanksgiving Day. It sounds like profound wisdom that could be interpreted in a variety of situations, but I know it was just common sense. I hope Curly doesn't get sick.

As for Lad, no idea how I'd handle this situation. I know when I've had a few friends who never grew up, I dropped them BUT not the same thing with a child who is being difficult.

ccr in MA said...

Ah, Ernie, so sorry to hear about the germ incursion! I hope everyone else dodges the bullet, and that your Thanksgiving is a good one anyway.

Pat Birnie said...

Loved your Princess comment - a light note. I hope Mini feels better soon and no one else catches the plague. I wish I had advice for Lad - all I can say is I know what you are going through to some extent. I have a son that has struggled with mental health issues, depression & anger on & off for over a decade. When he is good he’s wonderful but you never know. Hugs to you & Coach

Kara said...

There is a plague going around the dorm that my daughter is living in. She sounds awful. To the point that her Resident Advisor texted her last night to make sure she was alive. I'm getting her this morning. Theraflu is the magic stuff at our house. Which reminds me, I need to get more on the way to get the kid today.

I hope everyone feels better and survives the Turkey Day weekend.

Bibliomama said...

Oh no. OH NO.
I would have gone to get her too. Being sick away from home is terrible. Two of Eve's housemates are sick right now and she's pretty nervous about getting it, although we're pretty grateful she hasn't gotten sick before now with the flu season we're having.
I'm sorry you're having difficulties with Lad again. My sister in law once said that thing about 'you're only as happy as you're saddest child', and damn if that isn't the truest thing ever. I hope things improve soon.

Nance said...

I remember the first time I was sick at college. It was sad and felt so unfair. I hope you can contain the plague, but it will take some extremely good luck.

The situation with Lad is heartrending. I've been there, and it's so many emotions: resentment, anger, fear, love, concern. It can be paralyzing. We did opt for tough love. It was the hardest thing we ever did in our lives; we were fortunate that it was exactly what he needed, but it was tough, indeed.

Kari said...

Oh, my goodness, friend. I wish I could say something to make it better. When I get to the comments section, I feel like everyone has already said far better things. So listen to the people above me. 😂

I wish you all emotional and physical healing.

Ernie said...

Nicole - Poor Curly. We are at 48 hours since the eating of her sister's food. So far, Curly is still symptom free. Mini is feeling a bit better. We wonder if taking an antibiotic is helping. The doc called it a sinus infection, but he says that for everything so who knows.

Thanks. It really is exhausting. Never could I have imagined what we have going on. It's still hard to wrap my brain around.

Ernie said...

Ally - Yes, with Thanksgiving coming 'keep an eye on your plate' is good advice.

Lad's mental illness struggles have needed to be addressed for awhile. It's hard for us to push him towards getting help without pushing him away. The dog does make him less mobile. I feel like we are unwittingly enabling him in the process.

Ernie said...

ccr - So far, Mini's the only one. Mini said her high school friends are laughing that she had to stay up in her room for three days. Ed delivered her food: HEY PRISONER, YOUR FOOD IS HERE.

Ernie said...

Pat - The crown comment - it made me chuckle too. I told my folks that she wondered if her dad would take the day off and they laughed so hard.

I so appreciate your supportive comments. I'm sorry you've had to deal with your son's issues too. It's a very challenging situation. So heartbreaking for a parent to go through this.

Ernie said...

Kara - The plague. Indeed. Mini was so sick. She's starting to get a bit better, but the draining of the nose. Glad that your daughter's rector checked up on her. Hope everyone in your house steers clear of it.

Ernie said...

Ali - It must be nerve wracking to live in close quarters with people and fear getting what they have, because how do you study while dealing with that? Mini missed two days of classes, but that wasn't too bad because she'd just had midterms.

I didn't hear that saying about only feeling as happy as your saddest child until a few years ago. It really is so true. We are begging Lad to seek help. I told him that I can't concentrate on anything. I pointed out how hard it was when Mini was struggling to adjust to college life, but that was temporary. I'm hoping that got his attention. Like how is this impacting the people around you.

Ernie said...

Nance - I had pnuemonia when I was a freshman in college. I stayed in the infirmiry for close to a week. That was the pits. I was only 2 hours away from home, but I don't think it occurred to my folks to come get me.

Oh, gosh. Thanks for sharing this. I do think this is the hardest thing. I feel so frustrated, fearful, concerned, and angry. We keep telling him that we love him and that we are here for him. The tough love approach might be in our near future.

Ernie said...

Kari - Don't be silly. I apreicate your support. It's just an impossible situation. We hope that we get through to him. Thank you.

Cheryl said...

I'm glad you went and brought your daughter home. It's truly a Mom thing to do and we all want our Mom when we are sick, no matter how old we are.

I get holding onto your plate if you are going to eat more later, but during this time of the year, I tell everyone to put the damn plates in the dishwasher and sanitize the hell out of 'em! lol!

I just don't know what to say about your son. Maybe you're right, tough love is the answer. It just seems the more you do, letting him come back home, accepting the dog, putting up with all the dog's antics, etc. he is taking advantage of you guys. What message is that sending to the rest of the kids? It's a hard call for sure. My Dad would say "enlist him in the military". Can you tell he was a hardcore Marine. lol.

Happy Thanksgiving! I hope it's a peaceful, relaxing, healthy day for all of you!

Charlie said...

Sorry that you are having issues with Lad again Ernie. I can imagine how tough it is and how tough love might be the best way forward but also the hardest. I did love the princess comment and plan on using that one with my own family. Happy thanksgiving to you all. I know you have a fabulous family and a lot to be grateful for. We’re obviously not celebrating here in the UK, but I for one am very thankful for your posts and your friendship from afar

Ernie said...

Cheryl - I'm so glad I went to get Mini. She was really sick. She said everyone on campus had this virus. Clearly they didn't all go home, but I think whatever she had was a bit beyond what had been going around. None of us got her plaque, so it was a good move. Kind of a bummer since I'd just found her a ride home on Tuesday.

The situation with Lad is pretty devastating. We've suspected that he had some issues that he refused to address. It was never a good time to confront him. Coach was out of town so many weeks in a row. Or we had an event coming up that we didn't want to ruin. I think we are ready to set boundaries. Cross the boundaries and choose to move out. It's not going to be easy.

If the military was a solution for mental illness, I'd encourage him to join. Unfortunately, that's not the answer.

Thanksgiving was very nice. Once my in laws left, we had some good laughs with my SIL and BIL and all of our kids.

Ernie said...

Charlie - Thanks. Really Lad has done OK living here. His earlier issues with anger and blame have not presented themselves. Still, we knew he needed to see a professional. The latest is something we've suspected, but we just confronted him about it. It's pretty disheartening, particularly because he doesn't think he needs help. Grateful that he's been living here, because otherwise we might not have figured it out.

It blew my mind when Mini took on the princess role with her SOMEONE TAKE THE DAY OFF AND COME PICK ME UP - when half of the student body drive in this direction. Then after all that, I went and got her anyway. It's less than 4 hours round trip, so not terrible.

I'm touched that you enjoy my posts. Sometimes I feel like I'm in a rut or just sharing the most mundane things that aren't all that funny. I value your friendship as well. Did you know that Tank is studying in Limerick starting in January? There might be an influx of our Shenanigan tribe heading over to visit him. ;)

Busy Bee Suz said...

Poor, poor Curly and poor Mini too. I hope she's remained healthy, and I pray that Curly feels better by now too.

The Lad situation is tricky; I agree with the tough love, but how tough can you get without him reeling? I'm sure there is a fine line.

My MIL Sue drinks EmergenC every morning and swears by it for keeping her healthy. She takes no other vitamins and is a healthy 76 years old. I've not heard of the liquid IV, but I'm gonna google it.

I hope you guys had a nice Thanksgiving; we're all thankful for your families stories. XO

Suzanne said...

Oh gosh Ernie, this all sounds SO stressful. And right before THANKSGIVING, JEEZ LOUISE. I hope that by now everyone is healthy and that you are feeling more positive about Lad. It sounds so hard. I'm sorry you and he are struggling. xoxo

Ernie said...

Suz - Curly managed to avoid the plague. Such a relief. Mini is still blowing her nose so much, plus she has a pesky dry cough. We finally let her out of her cave Wed night. Overall she feels better, but it took much longer than anyone she knew who had a virus at school.

We are making a plan to set boundaries with Lad and we hope that he chooses wisely. It's not going to be easy.

Liquid IV restores the important stuff one loses after puking. Hoping you don't need it anytime soon. :) I've never heard of anyone drinking EmergenC daily. I think of it as preventive only, but I suppose it it prevents stuff - daily would be a good approach.

Thanks much. Happy our goofiness can be entertaining.

Ernie said...

Suzanne- In great news - no one else got sick. Mini goes back to school today and she had better get that room into shape. It served as her cave for days, but it is time to restore it so Curly can live in there again.

The Lad situation is tough. We've suspected that he had an issue that is really hard to cope with and we recently had confirmation. Coach and I are gathering info and preparing to weather a difficult storm. We hope he agrees that it's time to address it.

Beth Cotell said...

I hope Mini is better now! I'm so sorry to hear that Lad is still struggling. I hope and pray you guys can figure out how to help him and that he is open to receiving help. Everything is such a struggle these days. 4 students have committed suicide at my son's school since the beginning of the semester. FOUR. My heart breaks whenever I think about much despair.

Ernie said...

Beth - Mini is feeling better. Still needing a kleenex box strapped around her neck though. No one else caught what she had.

We've a couple of difficult conversations with Lad. We are hoping and praying that he will opt to get help. It's pretty unsettling and gut wrenching, to be honest. I have waves of emotions that about blow me over. That is incredibly sad and just unthinkable to have 4 students commit suicide in one semester. Despair is right. I'm so sorry to hear that.