Thursday, October 13, 2011

Typhoid Us

I once watched a documentary about typhoid Mary.  A very interesting woman just trying to get by the best way she could.  Cooks made much better money than housekeepers, you see.  The fact that it made every family she worked for get sick and have a few deaths in the family is sad, but I'm sure at the time she found it difficult to believe that was really her fault.

While I don't have typhoid, and to my knowledge haven't killed anyone with my germs.  The last year has been physically rough for our family.  And I'm not really sure why.  The kids take vitamins, eat well, get adequate rest, spend more time playing outside than they do with their face in a screen.  We all exercise several times a week for an hour or more at a go.  We wash our hands.  We daily wipe down all light switches and door knobs and piano keys.

And yet, Lilyanna seems to catch EVERYTHING out there.  And once she gets it, we ALL get it.  I have 15 piano students come to my house each week.  So even if she wasn't going to catch something that her brothers brought home from school, with 15 more school kids coming into the house, she's going to get it.  Not to mention all of her own peer interaction with Library Story time, her tumbling class, nursery, and the gym playroom.

There is a part of me that wonders if all the emotional stress of the last few years destroyed our immune systems.  Doesn't it seem a little long for that, though?  A lot of that stress has dissapated in that last several months, but we still seem to be getting ill at an alarming rate.

Last year we got sick once a month (the whole family) from November through June.  (We did get the month of April off.  And then July and August.)  September, Lilyanna got sick.  Cold/fever and I think bronchitis.  She still has a lingering cough.

Saturday night I came down with a fever and a horrible headache.  The type of headache that makes you think your head exploding would be a relief.  The headache lasted until Tuesday morning, when it was replaced by a normal garden variety i-have-a-fever-headache.  The fever didn't stop until this morning.  On Tuesday I was diagnosed with bronchitis and an ear infection and some wacky fever.  (I was also tested for the flu.  Wow.  That test is AWFUL!  The CDC can get their stats somewhere else, because I do not ever need that test again.  I almost punched a perfectly nice NP while she shoved that swab up my nose.)  On Wednesday I was diagnosed with strep throat.  Yesterday, right before I was diagnosed with strep throat, Nathaniel came home sick from school with a fever and nasty cough.  Caleb and Benjamin are also coughing and walking around with that slightly gray look.  Ironically, Todd with his autoimmune disease has the best immune system of all of us and seems fine so far.

I am not sure how to break this cycle.  How do you completely rebuild the immune systems of an entire family?  I am open to suggestions here


Anne Marie said...

Emilia, I am SO sorry, friend. I can't believe how awful it has been, in the sickness department for y'all. Ugh! I hope you're okay with any ideas so here goes: Have you had your vitamin D levels checked? Low vitamin D levels are linked to immune functioning. Mine were rock-bottom low last December so I started supplementing. It has been my healthiest year...possibly since having my secondborn 11 years ago. It might be worth a consideration. Other thoughts I have....some type of meditation/quiet time for everyone. I've just started up short stretches of meditation to help me with anxiety. Meditation's even supposed to help the immune system. I also just barely bought a book called 10 Mindful Minutes by Goldie Hawn of all people! It's supposed to help you walk your kids through mindfulness/meditation kind of stuff. I'll let you know how it is. Lillyanna's respiratory stuff? Any animals in the house that might be triggering it all? Maybe a HEPA air purifier in her home and all that annoying stuff like washing bedding in hot water? I know you've probably tried a ton of this stuff, but just thought I'd throw it out there. Love you. Thinking healthy thoughts for you.

bseymour said...

The only thing that comes to my mind is an air purifier. We have one in Kelsey's room for her asthma and I think it helps a lot. I am so sorry you are so sick and I hope that you all get better fast.

Mom24 said...

We have an air purifier in Jacob's room, I think it helps a lot with his allergies, but I'm not sure if it would help with this or not. We have had years/cycles like that. I know it's really demoralizing, but I would bet it's nothing you're doing or not doing, just really, really bad luck.

I hope this round ends soon and that you get a nice, long break.

Emilia said...

Thanks for the thought and suggestions so far. Annekin, because of Todd's health, we are hyper vigilant about taking Vit D. (low levels in childhood can lead to ms in adults. weird, right?) I like the meditation idea. I'll see if our library has that book. I think I'm going to have all of our air ducts vacuumed out and sanitized as well. And get all the carpets and upholstery cleaned. (fortunately we don't have that much.) who knows if it will help, but at least I'll feel like I'm doing something, you know?

Lara Mackelberry said...

uhhhh. yuck. wish I could help. I was glad to hear at the end of the post Todd is hanging in there pretty well.

Anne Marie said...

Emilia, I've read most of the 10 mindful minutes book. I'd say there are some helpful tips...definitely worth a speed reading, probably not worth buying though. I think the basic notion of meditation is described pretty well in another book I liked called Raising Happiness. I'm sure the Internet also has tons of ideas. I've really found even short bursts of 7 minutes of a bit of deep breathing followed by meditation has helped me. Wishing you well, friend.