As the name of my blog indicates, I spend a lot of time thinking about home. Of course, my Heavenly Home is the one that is eternal, so that’s where I need to lay up my treasures, and that’s the one I’m striving for. But in the meantime, I have been given this tiny piece of the here-and-now—this home on the edge of town, this family, this neighborhood—in which to serve Him. And, though this is in the earthly realm, I want the things that happen here to be investments in the Heavenly realm.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Sick Days

"What do you want to be when you grow up?"
When I was a little girl, I wanted to be a mommy, a teacher, a writer...but never a nurse. (All of my own girls have wanted to be a nurse at some point in their growing up years, but not me.)

However, when you're a mother, nursing is an inevitable part of the job from time to time, so you'd better learn to make the best of it. My natural inclination is to tire of sick people after a day or so and become impatient, and it's taken me many years to learn the art of nursing (and I still haven't "arrived"). I guess it comes down to the fact that caring for others is unselfish business, and therefore is not natural.

These are a few things that I have (slowly) learned over the years.

Stay home.
I've found that children want their mommies when they're sick. Even the big kids feel better when Mom is nearby, attentive to their needs. Whenever possible, I cancel all plans and appointments when a child is sick.

Make chicken soup.
Old wives' tale? Maybe, but I don't think so. There's just something about a hot bowl of soup that is comforting. Isn't there scientific research that supports the health benefits of chicken soup? (Lots of hot tea helps too!)

Bed on the sofa.
In our farmhouse, there is no upstairs bathroom, so I've always made over the living room sofa into a sick bed. Advantages: the sick one is not totally isolated from the rest of the family, and the TV is available for marathon viewing. Since we don't allow lots of screen time normally, unlimited viewing (of approved movies, of course) is a perk for the sickling. (The down side to the unlimited viewing is that the non-sick can go nuts. Once when Bekah was sick for an extended number of days, I heard so much "Little House on the Prairie" that I was ready to dress in period costume and hop on the first covered wagon headed west!)

Remotes in a baggie.
I forget where I read this tip (old issue of Family Fun magazine?), but it is a practical one. Put all remote controls in a zip-up baggie. This allows the sickie to operate the electronics, but keeps the germs off the remotes. (Well people can retrieve them when the germy person opens the bag.)

Special time.
Even though it is no fun to be sick, it can be a time of bonding and special memories. Being pampered, cool washcloth on a hot forehead, tender words, reading stories...all serve to make the sick one feel loved and cared for. (Note: It is also important to be left alone when that is your desire. Sometimes you don't even feel like answering, "How are you feeling?" I am one of those people who prefers to hibernate when I am sick. Just check to make sure I'm breathing from time to time.)

Allow siblings to serve.
It is a time for the siblings to learn compassion and servitude. How can we make the sick one more comfortable? Can we do her chores? Feed her guniea pig? Get her a glass of water? Put a DVD in the player?

And it always helps to have your own personal nurse, don't you think? :-)

What have you learned about sick days in your house?


  1. Great sick-house routine. I find sick times very stretching. Normal times (trying enough in and of themselves!) look so very good when viewed from the far side of nursing the sickies. We're on a 12 week roll of health, here (I cringe just typing that...viruses may be lurking as I sit here!) so I'm counting my blessings.

  2. God's own true nurse is she who knows
    "By constant watching, wise"
    Just where the scalding current flows
    That, hid from casual eyes,
    Makes life an arid wilderness.
    Then does the true nurse bless.

    For she, without the noise of words
    Most lovingly will do,
    Till, like the song of happy birds,
    The joy of ease pours through
    That which was arid wilderness --
    So does the true nurse bless.

    And when the spirit drifts afraid
    To strange and unknown lands,
    Then does the true nurse, undismayed
    (Her dear love understands),
    Follow and comfort and caress --
    So does the true nurse bless.

    O Nurse, God-given, your ministry
    Is something all divine;
    With all you do, in all you be,
    His love will intertwine
    The gold threads of His gentleness -
    So will His true nurse bless.

    (Amy Carmichael -- Rose From Brier)

  3. Kathy, I know what you mean about the "stretching"! Sickness inevitable comes at a "bad" time (when is a good time?) and is inconvenient. It's so easy think of what we're *not* able to be doing. That's why I need His help to be unselfish.

    Frances, what a beautiful poem! I have never read that before. What a picture of a servant!

  4. I find myself of a similar temperament when faced with another's sickness. I'm supportive and sympathetic for about the first day.
    With my son, I've found it helpful to have a small inexpensive stash of toys, books, or videos that he hasn't seen before. I have also been known to stash away a Christmas or birthday present that he doesn't initially seem too keen on. Seeing the present again later, or having a new item, can make the times of being restful more bearable. Especially if you have a little one like mine who doesn't want to rest, no matter how poorly he feels!

  5. some great ideas there--and i can certainly identify w/the "un-nurselike" qualities of selfishness and impatience.
    greatly entertained,as always,by your humor and unique expression. thanks! (becca looks very professional and very cute in her nurse's uniform!)

  6. Love Bekah's nurse sweet! Maybe she'll be the one of us who actually becomes a nurse, although, like you said, being a mother gives much opportunity to practice the skills. I'll have to show this to Maddie as she loves to serve her brothers (and Daddy) when they are sick.

  7. Cheryl, the "remote in a baggie" is a great idea! It would have been very handy in our house, since our sick bed has always been the couch as well.

    I also firmly believe in having "sick days." There's so much pressure to just give the kids lots of non-drowsy medicine and push them through their schedules. Sick kids need to rest and make memories of being snuggled up and tucked in.

  8. What a great idea to put the remotes in a baggie! Another homeshcool mom told me about a natural anti-viral called Elderberry Extract. I usually get everyone on it when I hear of a virus going around. It comes in caps. form or tea bags. For my little one I break one open and mix it with jelly and give her this throught the day. It really helped this week when a virus presented its ugly head here. One family member came down with it, one was mildly affected and the rest have been stayed well. Anything that could possibly ward off a stomach flu is a good thing in my opinion.


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