Sometimes The Flu is Just The Flu

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The flu struck our house with a vengeance this week, and let me tell you, it has been rough.

The girls both started feeling sick last Thursday, just as I was getting ready to head out of town to go to the BEECH Retreat.  My dad and stepmom had flown down from Seattle for a visit, and after spending a few days with all of us, they had been planning to take the girls to the beach in Sarasota for a few special days while I was gone.  They don’t visit very often, so this was a Very Big Deal, and we had all been looking forward to it.  When I woke up that morning to two feverish girls  making loud croupy coughing noises, my heart absolutely sank.  There is probably no good time to get sick, but did it have to be this weekend?

 I called my stepmom who kindly insisted that they still wanted to take the girls even if they were sick, and that it didn’t really matter that they were sick since my dad was sick too.  Have I mentioned that she is a saint?  Because she is.  She took my 2 sick kids and my sick dad and spent 3 miserable days caring for them in a too-small hotel room, all while sending me sweet text messages that said the girls are fine and  everyone’s doing great and we’re having so much fun.

So, reluctantly, off I went to Captiva Island, feeling guilty at leaving my 2 sick kids, but excited to get away nonetheless.  The first two days were great, especially the late night laugh-fests with my soul-sisters Rachel and Crystal and Ashley.  I also got to meet the amazing Claire, who has read LWSL practically forever and who is now taking the blog world by storm, as well as sweet Victoria, who was absolutely charming.

And then on Saturday morning it hit me. Like a freight train.  My throat hurt, my head hurt, my whole body ached, and I was chilled to the bone.  I was S.I.C.K. Sick!  I spent the rest of the day in my hotel room, in bed, pretty much just wanting to die.  I thought about driving home but even the thought was too exhausting.  So I just slept instead.  I did manage to drag myself up in time to hear Michael Hyatt’s closing keynote speech that evening, but other than that the day was a total loss.  And I was too sick to care.

On Sunday I rallied long enough to get up, get packed, and drive home, thanks mostly to the $13 bottle of DayQuil (yikes!) I picked up at the hotel gift shop.  When I finally made it, my poor girls were too sick to even ask if I had brought them anything and my poor Husband was too sick to even get up.  Instead we all just went to bed and stayed there.

It is now Thursday again, a whole week since this plague first descended on us.  My normally sparkling clean house is currently a cesspool of unwashed dishes, discarded tissues, dirty laundry, and unpacked suitcases.  There are books and clothes and shoes strewn everywhere, as dog hair and dustballs grow exponentially in the corners.  Even more shockingly, I haven’t drank a single cup of coffee since last Friday.  

But I know that I must be feeling better because a.) I am finally able to write a coherent sentence b.) the thought of dealing with the disaster that my house has become is no longer completely overwhelming.  I am ready to get out of bed.

I wish I could tell you I handled all this sickness graciously, that I tried to stay positive and kept a stiff upper lip, that I  simply hugged my children a little tighter and tried not to think about how miserable I felt.  I also wish that I could tell you despite feeling completely miserable I was at least able to get some work done.  But none of that is true.  I whined.   I complained.  I felt sorry for myself.  I got very crabby.  I neglected emails and deadlines and assignments.  I honestly had no energy to do anything except lie in bed hoping to feel better soon.

And I can’t tell you how much it bothered me that I wasn’t able to rise above my circumstances.  Even as I lay there feeling so incredibly sick and miserable, I felt guilty that I wasn’t doing more, that I couldn’t manage to get just a few things done.  You see, I tend to believe that most of what we do in life is mind over matter; if I can just be a little more disciplined, a little more determined, I can accomplish everything I set out to do, I can overcome whatever obstacles stand in my way.  I am not one to give in to a little virus.

But sometimes the flu is just the flu.

Here’s to getting well!

*   *   *

Have you battled the flu recently?  Did it wipe you out too?  Got any tips for feeling better faster?


  1. Maritza
    February 7 at 11:58AM


    A stumbled upon your blog a few weeks ago and have kept coming since. I really like the way you say and share things. In reading the above post, I couldn’t help be reminded of something I read by Miguel Ruiz, The Five Agreements, and it goes like this,

    “ALWAYS DO YOUR BEST – Your best is going to change from moment to moment; it will be different when you are tired as opposed to well rested. Under any circumstance, simply do your best, and you will avoid self-judgment, self-abuse, and regret.”

    All the best,

    • Ruth
      February 8 at 09:23AM

      I love that! Thank you so much for sharing Maritza!

  2. Amanda
    February 7 at 03:30PM

    I got it right after Christmas and it totally knocked me out too! I felt the same way, like I was tougher than any sickness but not this time! Glad to hear you are feeling better!

  3. Jasmine
    February 7 at 06:06PM

    My kids and I got it in December and it was BAD. We even got the Tamiflu but it didn’t seem to help. Just rest and don’t try to do too much too soon or you could relapse.

    • Ruth
      February 8 at 09:24AM

      Resting is so hard for me–now that I am feeling better I want to do EVERYTHING! 🙂 Thanks for the advice Jasmine!

  4. February 7 at 06:26PM

    Oh no!!! We had it a few weeks back and it was awful. So sorry and I hope you guys are all on the mend! And, thank you SO much for your sweet comments in the post. It was awesome to finally meet you too and to hang out with all of you guys at BEECH Retreat! Looking forward to seeing you in March! Now get better! 🙂

    • Ruth
      February 8 at 09:25AM

      Thanks Claire! Loved meeting you too!

  5. Kristi
    February 7 at 08:22PM

    Hope you are all on the mend! Take it easy and feel better soon!

    • Ruth
      February 8 at 09:25AM

      Thank you Kristi!

  6. February 8 at 11:08AM

    I am so sorry that you were sick the last day of BEECH. The flu is nasty… we had it in December. I hope you and your entire family are feeling better soon. It was very nice to meet you. 🙂

  7. February 8 at 09:01PM

    My children and I had the flu a couple of weeks ago and I know EXACTLY what you are talking about. My older son missed a week of school and we did not leave the house for the whole week. I don’t remember ever feeling so bad and should I confess that one day I even stayed in my pjs the whole day? (I have never done that before!) My poor hubby came home to a wife camped out on the recliner (the kids were sharing the couch), still in pjs, and leftovers for supper.

    I called my hubby at work and asked him to bring home Theraflu. He came home with a generic brand of liquid Nyquil because he said the shelves were completely cleared of flu medicine. It had 10% alcohol and I slept well for a few nights. 🙂

    I highly recommend homemade chicken broth when you are sick. I just happened to make some the day before I got really sick. I don’t think it made the flu go away any faster, but it was definitely comforting and made me feel better. My children had that cough as well and every night before they went to bed I put a thick layer of Vick’s Vapor Rub on the bottom of their feet and put socks on. I saw that tip on Pinterest onece and it really does help them sleep better when they have a cough.

  8. Sharon
    February 8 at 11:34PM

    Sorry about the flue. Glad you are feeling better. Glad to hear you are as human as the rest of us.I don’t think I would like anyone who could be sick, have sick kids and have plans messed up and remained pleasant, positive and kept a neat house. Especially since that is more than I can do on a good day.

  9. February 11 at 01:30AM

    Dear Ruth, oh, welcome to real life, eh? I was once THAT sick when my children (now adults in their 40’s) were little. My son was 3 and my daughter was 18 mos. I woke up sick…I know exactly how you felt on Saturday. I truly do not know how my children made it that week – I don’t remember feeding them or hubby….the whole week was a blur of misery. This was in the 70’s and I was smoking cigarettes back then. This is how sick I was: I didn’t even WANT a cigarette.
    God did bless me with a wonderful friend. Her husband was our family physician and she was a registered nurse. By mid-week, she came to my house, bathed my baby girl and toddler boy and tidied up my house. She even brought her hubby’s medical bag and injected me with some concoction that made me taste Vick’s Vapo-rub. She also gave me an antibiotic injection and insisted I make an appointment with her hubby a few days later. (I ended up with a nasty sinus infection)
    I know exactly how you felt and your children’s sickness. It is so not fair when everyone gets sick at once. That has happened too. God got you all through it and thank you for being honest about your feelings and your perceived failings. He knows and knew what you were going through. He loves you and your family so much. 🙂 Thanks again for your sweet honesty.

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