First, I am grateful for all my blessings. I have smart and healthy children. They’re even cute. I’m married to my high school sweetheart and I still really like him twenty years after we started dating (and 11 years of marriage) because he makes me laugh and reminds me to enjoy life and not be too serious. And oh, we just moved into this amazing house on my dream street in my dream town and I’m so excited and I keep waiting for the people who own this house to come home and find me squatting here like the carnies in that episode of the Simpsons. Things I like the most, you ask? A laundry room on the second floor! No more hauling baskets up and down two flights of stairs! A garage that actually fits my car so I can roll in there using my fancy remote opener button! And I can even back out without hitting anything! So, overall, you get the excited part, right?
So we move into said dreamy house the Friday before Thanksgiving. We wake up Thanksgiving morning and watch the parade (ask Brian about his favorite part of the house – might have something to do with the giant tv we watched the parade on…) and I unpack like a fiend and am still able to laugh about the mixups, like how I left a full dishwasher of clean dishes at the old house. Sliding into Christmas season, I start to laugh just a little less as I realize that unpacking a new house, decorating for Christmas, and shopping for all presents and preparing to host Christmas Eve for fifteen of my favorite family members might be a little ambitious. But every time I get overwhelmed I look around my house that I’m squatting in and am grateful for my problems. Really, I’m very grateful.
And isn’t this so much more fun that that whole October snow storm losing power for a week thing? When we moved our king size mattress down to the living room in front of the gas fireplace and the kids and I slept on the mattress for four nights while Brian slept on the couch? And then the 60-pound puppy decided he should sleep on our mattress with us too and suddenly a king size bed seemed incredibly small? And then on the fifth morning I woke up and could see our own breath in the kitchen and decided I had lost patience and it was time for a hotel but oh how funny they are all booked and we couldn’t find anything closer than Manhattan? That whole thing was a barrel of laughs. So the new house problems? I’ll take ‘em!
But right before Thanksgiving there’s this sniffle cough thing that Katie brings home from school, like a little present for the rest of us. So right after Thanksgiving Alex gets it, Brian gets it, and then I get it after Katie sneezed directly into my mouth. I’m not making that up – she really did that. She said the sneeze surprised her so she couldn’t possibly cover her mouth or turn away. Surprised me too, kid. So here’s where it gets a little less funny. Everyone else gets better except for me. I of course am too busy to get sick so I deny I am ill, I mean I just flat out lie and refuse to admit I am sick at all. Because I have boxes to unpack and Christmas to decorate and shop and what not (see above), so I can’t be sick. I successfully lie for exactly three weeks. Until the weekend before Christmas when I get up with the kids in the morning and have such a coughing fit that I can barely breathe. Really, like having trouble finding oxygen to get into my lungs. I’m the disgusting person you don’t want to be on the same plane with. Of course, it’s the weekend, so my doctor’s office is closed, but I concede I will call on Monday morning. Except then I have another coughing fit and actually injure my ribs. Like, ouch it hurts to move or breathe or cough or do anything. And I mentioned that it’s Christmas and we just moved and I have a couple things to do, right?
So then I go to CVS on Sunday to their minute clinic for the first time, because I feel quite cruddy for me (which, no offense to my husband, is probably the equivalent of when he would hospitalize himself, as I tend to be a little too tough and he tends to have a flair for drama if God forbid he gets a tiny bit sick). So there I wait my turn and shop for a good magazine (did you read US Weekly’s Christmas at the Palace?) and find out I am actually sick. I have Bronchitis. An actual illness with a name that sounds very dramatic. If I were 80 I’d say I have “THE Bronchitis”. One of those illnesses that requires the “The” before it. Like “The Gout”, or “The Bursitis”. So I have The Bronchitis, and I get some drugs. Awesome. I get a Z pack (been there), RX cough suppressant (done that) and then a freaking inhaler. This is new. My lungs are so compromised that I’m on the precipice of pneumonia and I need an inhaler to get oxygen. How’s that for a flair for drama?
SO. Here’s what happens next. Wednesday night my ribs feel just a little better. Like I could sleep for the first time without waking up every hour. I’m thinking maybe I just pulled a muscle and it’s healing quite nicely with the Advil. Then Thursday morning, my daughter Katie (who I am starting to think has it out for me) runs into our bedroom and jumps in bed to snuggle. Except she lands on my ribs. Not joking, she landed on the same already-injured-and-haven’t-slept-for-days rib. So now it really hurts. So I wait five days (because apparently waiting until I think I might die is the way I like to roll around here) and I finally broke down and went to the doctor because when four Advil every three hours didn’t help the pain at all, I figure someone with a medical degree should look at me. There, I am asked to retell the story from beginning to end. And when I say it all out loud for the first time, I realize two things. One, I should write this down. And two, the universe has reset. New house full of happiness and joy? Yes, bronchitis and a broken rib. Because full chest x-rays and a rib series later I find out that while I do not have pneumonia, I do actually have a fractured rib. A real freaking broken bone.
And there’s apparently nothing I can do to make it feel better or heal. Because you can’t cast your rib. And they don’t do that Charles Ingalls binding thing anymore (remember that episode of Little House?) because you can’t take a full breath and that apparently can make you get pneumonia. So I’m actually told I need to take LOTS of deep breaths even though it hurts and there’s no cast or Charles Ingalls rib binding and it can take a LONG time to heal. And there’s nothing I can do. Except take codeine to make me forget that my rib hurts like mid-stage labor pains, in my rib cage. But the codeine is nice, especially when I take two with a glass of wine. Then they are wonderful. And so is life, and so is my house and family. And now I’d like to let the universe know everything is balanced, so please don’t throw anything else at me. My rib is broken and it sort of hurts to catch things.