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It seems that several different viruses have woven their way through my little family. In and out, past one child and conquering the next. We have each suffered from our own unique set of symptoms, and then the symptoms instantly jump from one person to the next as the first one invaded takes on the illness of another family member.

I had a sore throat and head cold.  I’m pretty sure D had chicken pox following her head cold and then she had a fever for an encore as everything else subsided.  E and R both had head colds with coughs.  R sucked on whole garlic cloves though and seemed to get better quickly.  J had a slight cold but seemed to fair better than the rest of us.

It has been going on for ten days now.  I thought everyone was better this morning.  Unfortunately, I got a text at work this afternoon that little J had spiked a fever when he woke up from his nap.

But, I’m thankful.

Last Wednesday a sweet friend from church messaged me that she had dinner for us.  What a welcome relief that was!  Household supplies were getting rather low with all of us being down for several days.  She and her van full of children brought baked chicken with a smorgasbord of vegetables, wild rice, strawberries, and chocolate chip cookies.  And, then, she threw in some orange juice and cheddar cheese for good measure. That poor chicken was ravaged as soon as I set him on the counter!  I don’t think the plate of chocolate chip cookies ever made it home.  Fingers were wildly sneaking into that tray in the car.

Another friend had picked up a smoked turkey for me from the local butcher shop, and we’d picked that bird clean, too.  His carcass just waited to be boiled down.  By Thursday I was out of bed and dressed, so I showed E how to make homemade soup.  The stock was rich and hearty, and I swear it tasted like healing.

Yesterday morning at 6:30 I still couldn’t hear movement upstairs, so I hollered up at R that it was time to get ready for school.  I could hear him stumbling, and it seemed to take him forever to come to the landing.  The sight of him was frightening and comical at the same time.  He looked like Bob the Tomato!  He was covered in welts.  He was a horrid reddish purple color and was as puffy as the Michelin man.  I became concerned though when I noticed him wince as he put his weight down on one foot and then the other.

After R Sr. left I was able to get established with a local family practitioner.  I’d been told that it would cost $360 for a new patient exam, but the office offered a HUGE cash discount if the bill was paid at the time services were rendered.  I sold some things and went, hoping that this doctor could determine some sort of concrete diagnosis for my frightening condition.  After the exam, the office clerk told me that she couldn’t accept my payment.  She stated there was something wrong in the system.  I explained to her that I really needed that cash discount and asked if there was any way we could get around the problematic computer.

She excused herself to privately speak directly to the doctor.  When she came back, she had a strange look on her face.  She leaned close toward me and whispered, “It will be $50 today.  He is coding you as an established patient here on a brief visit.”

So, yesterday I called our new saint of a family practitioner’s office and asked to speak to the medical assistant.  She didn’t think R’s swelling was any cause for concern, but she did want to confer with the doctor.  He wanted to see R, just whenever we could get there, though the sooner the better.  We came in a couple of hours later, without an actual appointment, and got right in.  After a very thorough exam it was determined that R was having a strange reaction to his recent virus.

Some basic blood work was done, just in case.  And, this morning, shortly after 8, the doctor called me to let me know the results.  They were negative, but, still, he called personally rather than assigning that mundane duty to his assistant.

I took the well appearing younger three children to a friend’s house, and I headed off to clean houses for the day.  Upon finishing the first house, I drove to the nearby park to eat the lunch that E had prepared for me and texted a quick, “I love you,” to the kids.  Everything seemed fine.

Several hours later, as I began my descent down the long driveway from my last house of the day, I quickly checked my phone.  I had texts from E and my friend who was babysitting.  J woke up with a fever, and it had been steadily climbing all afternoon.  B laid J on her couch, covered him with a soft throw, and gently placed a cool cloth on his forehead.  She lovingly hovered over him until I arrived at 5.

We see so much cruelty in our world.  From the horrific, mind boggling violence that covered the news yesterday to the horrific, mind boggling violence that we’ve experienced at the hands of those who are supposed to love and protect us.  But, there is goodness, too.

Dr. A or my friends will never make the news.  Personal sacrifices like that apparently just aren’t very interesting.

Perhaps they should be.  Maybe it would make a difference in the way we all view the world, each other, and ourselves if we made a big deal out of kindness, if we held it up as the thing to be talked about and dissected.

I don’t know.  Maybe I’m just exhausted and my brain is still fuzzy from the lack of oxygen due to my head cold.  Maybe I’m just feeling overly emotional because of the fatigue.

I’m just thankful for those who make personal sacrifices to tend to sick kids, sick adults, sick families.  They’re special people, even if they never make the news.