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  • Writer's pictureElijah Ricks

The Languishing

Updated: Aug 28, 2022

Last week left off with COVID making its way through the house. Avey had recovered and returned to school, and Kira had it worst at the time. It did its worst this week, however.

Saturday afternoon is where we left off. Merritt was doing the worst out of the boys. He also has the very fun tendency to absolutely refuse any medicine he might have to swallow. He was just so miserable, though, that we just had to get some inside of him. I was still feeling ok, and so Avey and I made a run to the pharmacy to get a general pain reliever. He rejected it outright. I offered to stir honey into it or mix it into milk or yogurt, but he acted like it would dissolve his body from the inside out if he were to get any on his tongue. I went to make his meal and then mixed it into yogurt without his consent. Of course, he noticed that it was there, but Kira very patiently worked with him to eat it anyway. Naturally, about 30 minutes later he felt well enough to jump on the trampoline and shoot hoops, so we all worked very hard to make the association for him between the medicine and the contrast in how he felt. It worked, because he agreed to take the medicine again later, as long as it was in the yogurt. Progress is progress...

The boys all watched a movie before bed, and with the raging storm of illness, Hannah opted to stay home.

Sunday was horrifying. I was awoken extra early when Carver told me that Merritt had thrown up. It wasn't very much, but that was a new element to deal with. I have a very hard time getting back to sleep once awoken, and so I stayed up and felt very bad all day, but I couldn't tell if it was due to the illness getting worse or just because I had gotten up so early. Merritt kept down some crackers, but neither of the other boys was interested in much food. I also had very little appetite, but I figured that had to do with vicarious nausea. Luckily, Kira slept a long time, but then still did not feel better when she awoke. She took another nap in the afternoon, and everybody just lay around waiting for the day to end or death to take us. Needless to say, nobody went to church.

Hannah asked what she could do for us, but she wasn't willing to put us out of our misery, so instead she brought some flowers from her garden. Those did brighten up our leper colony, and have stayed pretty the whole week.

By the end of Sunday, all three boys had tossed their cookies. Kira and I had upset tummies, too, although we held it together and just didn't eat much. I was supposed to take the truck in for repairs the next day, but I didn't want the hassle, so Hannah kindly helped me drop it off in the evening. We all went to bed early that night, seeing no reason to remain conscious for any longer than we had to.

The night was full of very strange dreams and a few apparitions. Namely, Avey went into the hallway during the night and ran into a very thirsty and very out-of-it Jesse. He was very pale and looked like he was about to faint. That poor guy is different from Merritt, because Merritt will fully acknowledge that he is ill, but just refuse medicine. Jesse, on the other hand, will not concede that he is ill. He declines medicine because he seems to think that he can't get sick. Anyway, thanks to the inertia of the earth's rotation, the night eventually ended.

Jesse Cuddles With His Mommy

Monday morning it became clear to me that I was getting worse - it wasn't just being tired. It was sore throat, cough, stuffy nose, nausea, and exhaustion. I got Avey to school and then came home to slowly feed the boys little amounts as they felt they could tolerate it. I had very annoying work emails pouring in all day with new tasks, and each one felt like someone just handed me a boulder when I was treading water. I got through them, at least. I felt better near the end of the day when my appetite returned briefly. Kira got in some good sleep, but was still seeming to be worse off than I. I was starting to wonder how Avey had done so much better symptom-wise, as she and I were both vaccinated. Then I realized that I am almost 3 times her age, and COVID is very ageist. In fact, it was quite interesting regarding age, because Merritt seemed to be back to normal around noon on Monday, and Jesse took maybe another day to seem basically back to his old self. Carver lingered a couple more days.

I got the call from the mechanic. It was so much worse than I thought - I was right that the ball joint needed to be replaced. What I didn't realize is that everything connected to the ball joint, plus their brothers and sisters, also needed to be replaced. They're lucky that I was so weak and foggy-brained, or I might have said some very grown-up words.

Avey made it home on the bus, and then Kira and I took the boys for their COVID tests. We had understood that having their tests would be better, considering how many days they were going to miss. That was a task, and as we suspected, they all came back positive a few days later.

Although our tummies were all still playing games with us, Kira accepted the offer of a friend to bring us a meal. He made a good choice and made grilled chicken and rice, which was just mild enough to keep the nausea at bay. He also gave blessings to Kira and Carver before wishing us well and leaving.

Jesse had a mild fever at bedtime, and Carver had a severe headache, but we all made it through the night. Tuesday morning, Kira took Avey to school and I got up to help feed the boys. Merritt was still feeling normal, like we could have taken him to school with no problem, but the other two boys were still pretty rough.

I was supposed to have a faculty meeting the next day, and I hemmed and hawed over it for most of the morning. I have a hard time wondering what it will do to my reputation not showing up for meetings and such, but by the afternoon I just felt awful, so I told them I would not make it to the meeting. Turns out I wasn't the only faculty member who couldn't come due to illness (#worthit). I then realized that I should maybe tell the Friday meeting people that I might not be well enough to make that meeting, and they let me out of it also. Maybe I should have tried this COVID thing months ago...

Our brand new mattress and foundation (box spring) came while Kira was napping, so I figured I needed to get the boxes indoors at least. The foundation box was very long, but not too heavy, so I started with that one, and then the box with the mattress in it was much heavier. I should have just gotten them inside and left it at that, but I figured, "Well, I'm going to die eventually anyway, so..." and then I worked on getting both boxes up the stairs. Jesse was helpful in steering one end, but I had to take on all of the weight of the boxes. I pushed them up the stairs and then felt quite dizzy and my heart felt like it might pop out of my chest and burst like a water balloon all over the carpet. That did me in for the rest of the day and may have set me back a full day of recovery.

Once Kira was up, I found the strength to assemble the foundation and then we set up the mattress. It felt really nice, but I was worried about getting used to a new mattress while already ill, wondering if my sleep would be worse. Still, it was very nice to have the king mattress on the king frame instead of our old queen leaving a foot of frame on either side.

With our old mattress obsolete, we moved it into the boys' room so that they can bounce on it. Merritt has enjoyed that, but Jesse doesn't like it in the way, so we will need to move it again soon.

In the evening I finally was feeling a little bit better. The boys were still doing better than I, but had light meals the rest of the day. Merritt worked on some of his schoolwork, which he enjoys, and Jesse played more outside. Poor Carver was still pretty worn out and felt crummy.

Merritt and I went in the backyard to hang out and enjoy the nice weather, and we came upon a stick bug:

We told the whole family and checked it out for a good long while. Those things are so cool, and we just never saw that sort of thing in Colorado or El Paso, so it still feels exotic every time. The funny thing is that the last time we found a stick bug, we also found a leaf bug the same day, and then this time, just as I was thinking about how that was so interesting, I found a big leaf bug on our slide! Maybe it's the same two, and they are best friends or something (I don't know how bugs socialize).

Merritt thought it was especially cool, even commenting, "Dad, this is kind of like a miracle!"

Kira did scriptures and family prayer just before bedtime, and Merritt just couldn't hold still, so he kept doing tricks on our furniture. Kira interrupted the prayer to tell Merritt that he needed to fold his arms, and so Merritt stopped in the middle of his headstand and folded his arms like a good boy:

That's about as reverent as we can hope for in this house, with that kid.

Sleep on the new mattress was hard to judge as we are both sick, but now that it's been a few more days I can say that I really like it and think we made the right choice. Kira apparently likes it a lot, too, because she's been sleeping on it more than I have. I'm a little jealous that she is able to sleep so much, as my brain just has a hard time napping, and I tend to feel antsy if I sleep in the mornings. So I'm glad she's getting the rest she deserves.

I took Avey to school and then came home to feed the boys a light breakfast again. I did my best to get some of my work done, but I find that I can read about two pages of a dissertation, or get through about 5 work emails before I need to take a break. The truck was done, so Hannah came to pick me up to get it. It's so nice to have that annoying creaking sound gone!

The boys were pretty rough that day. Jesse was finally feeling better enough that he was bored being at home, and so was Merritt. We still were not really supposed to leave the house and play at a park or something, though, so I tried to get them busy. They bathed and such. I then picked Avey up from school to go to a weekly appointment, but we were early and so ran a couple of errands. We made it home in time to help feed dinner, and then it was a typical evening before early bed.

Kira let me sleep in on Thursday, made possible because my brain kept me awake for a couple of hours during the night, combined with my discomfort. When I did get up, my nose and throat were much better, but it was like I had taken a sleeping pill that hadn't worn off yet. It was very hard. I was able to do more of my work than usual, and Kira and I worked with the boys to get their schoolwork done, now that Jesse felt basically normal, too.

Jesse and I played some catch in the afternoon, and then when I needed to sit down and recover, he was still full of energy, so I suggested a job for him to earn money. He was interested, so I told him I wanted him to pull back the grass that had grown over the edges of the driveway. He got going on it and did a little more than half before it was time to come in for dinner. Hannah dropped by to get her mail and dote on Apollo. We otherwise had a standard evening.

I was up extra early on Friday because my brain got going, so I fed the boys. Their quarantine period had ended, so Jesse and Merritt were ready to go. Carver was a little more on the line. He tends to really milk any symptom at all, so I wasn't sure just how bad he felt. I knew I wasn't ready to go to stupid campus that day, so I left it up to him to decide just how well he felt. He chose to go, which was probably best. I dropped off Avey, who was all ready for picture day, and then I came home and collapsed on the couch, finally out of energy again. I did more work when I awoke, and Kira napped again later. Jesse finished the driveway when he got home, and he did a good job for an 8-year-old. I paid him, and he wanted to go shopping, so we invited Avey and then went to the dollar store. We brought back a balloon for Merritt, because he'd wanted to try breathing in the helium and making his voice change. He got it to work, and let the other boys try it, too.

Hannah came over that night for a little while. She had an early drive to the temple the next morning, so we watched a little and then she left. The rest of us called it a night early, too.

I was up to feed the boys again this morning, and then I ran to a used furniture store nearby to check out a big sale they were having. Nothing I really needed. Kira slept really long, so that's good. Otherwise, we've just been keeping the boys entertained. Jesse wants to go to another store to spend his earnings, and I'm not sure what else is in the plans.

I'm supposed to start school on Tuesday, so let's hope that I am back to normal by then. Kira is planning on seeing clients on Monday, so maybe she'll feel better, too.

We are also looking forward to my youngest brother coming to visit on Thursday this week!

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