A perpetual cold
Adopting a child?
Make sure you stock up on tissues. And Lemsip. And paracetemol.
Before we adopted J and I prided ourselves on our good health.
We went to the gym. We ate healthily. We led active, vigorous lives that stretched us. Lives that our bodies reacted to well, revelling in the stresses and the periods of rest and relaxation we ensured was built in.
The extent of our poor health in the years we were together before adopting our son was, for me, a tooth abscess that turned me into the elephant man for 24 hours. J was generally even healthier, bringing home one bout of diarrhoea and vomiting from work over that considerable period.
J had spent some time as a paediatric doctor before I met him. He warned therefore of the likely bugs we would pick up from any child who joined our family. "My time as a doctor in children's medicine was the most unhealthy time I've ever had." He cautioned.
We therefore prepared as best we could. Concentrating largely on ensuring we had child friendly drugs in our (safely locked) medicine cupboard.
But also thinking about our own health.
It didn't help that we adopted our son in the midst of winter. Nor that it came at a point of huge stress for our family.
Even so, the first few weeks of our son living with us were something of a honeymoon, health-wise.
Our son had recovered from chicken pox just before he moved to us. He remained relatively free of colds. He appeared to have the ubiquitous runny nose, but was otherwise healthy.
Then he went to play school.
I've talked in a separate blog about the creeping, insidious, hideous tide of snot that overcomes the parents of a toddler.
That started in earnest when our son started play school.
It also spread to us. Sore throats. Sniffles. Colds. Full blown flu. That followed in a tidal wave of viral infection that overwhelmed us.
During the summer holiday there was a lessening, as our son's interaction with other children was also restricted.
The first week of September saw him starting school proper for the autumn term. The cooler weather, shorter days and wider range of children with whom our son came into contact increased the variety of bugs headed our way.
Our first Christmas together is the source of at least a couple of posts all of its own. As we managed the conflicting demands of my father, Grumpy Deaf Grandad, J's mother and sister and our over-excited son.
We did so however in a kind of relay. Handing the baton of being engaging, welcoming hosts, entertaining parents, all round good eggs full of Christmas bonhomie, between one another. We both felt so ill one would rest upstairs while the other managed the situation downstairs for a couple of hours before crawling back to bed, kicking the other out for their stint.
The best part of the day coming as our son went to bed and we snuck away to lie in the dark together, sharing a box of Man Size tissues between us as we imbibed large alcoholic drinks, for medicinal purposes.
The following year proceeded quite well. Cold followed cold, but their intensity diminished.
We did have a bout of D&V (more poo-ing and puking for the non medical amongst you). Luckily enough that swept through the three of us consecutively not concurrently.
We felt we were finally beating the bugs. Our immunity was finally building.
The we started the route to child number two.
Our daughter joined us. We were blessed. So very blessed that she, too, got through chicken pox just before she transitioned to live with us.
Our family grew. And so did the viral infections waiting in the wings to attack us all. Particularly the adult members of our family.
Then there was the period of toddler vomiting.
Our daughter was small. Very small. In only the second centile for her age.
Her vomit? The projectile nature of her vomit was gold standard. Ninetieth centile at least. It shot, in a perfect arc, across the sitting room, sending me diving with a bowl to try and catch it. Failing miserably with the bowl, catching it with my new shirt and jeans.
We're reaching the end of of our daughter's time at play school. Our immunity has built. Slowly we have beaten off the wave of viral infections introduced to our family via our daughter by her circle of toddler friends.
Then of course, she starts school in September.
Luckily enough I hold a membership card for a local cash and carry. It's come in so handy being able to buy tissues in bulk. Enormous amounts of tissues. I'd better book a trip there for the beginning of September.
Adopting? I recommend joining a cash and carry. Bulk bought tissues are SO much cheaper.