Holiday-themed pity party


The first Christmas party has been thrown!

Twenty friends and their kiddos arrived on Sunday for a holiday party, hosted for the first time at the Johnson residence. My sister and I co-hosted the event (with, you know, our husbands) and began discussing details back in October. In fact, Kate had me send out a “save the date” in early November. We were on it.

And then I got sick.

Early last week, my throat began to feel itchy. Within two days, I was wallowing in a congested-sneezing-clogged-nose hell that had me Googling every medication under the sun with “safe for pregnancy” afterward.

Spoiler: none were.

If I thought being sick was awful before, being sick while pregnant pretty much sent me into an existential tailspin. Everything is deadly; nothing is safe. I’ve never been a “natural remedies” sort of girl, but by golly was I searching for anything under the sun to get relief by Friday morning.

I’ll freely admit to once rolling my eyes at others’ dramatics when it comes to the common cold because, you know, I was tough. Chug a little DayQuil, grab an extra pack of tissues and keep it movin’, you know what I’m saying?

Yeah. Well.

I got mine, friends. Several times over. After suffering through a few work days and grossing out everyone in my vicinity, I finally called uncle and stayed home on Friday. What followed was a day of crying, cursing and throwing myself a holiday-themed pity party complete with bad daytime television, mugs of half-drunk tea and texting my husband repeatedly to learn when he’d be back to bear witness to my continued freak-out.

I’m so fun.

In my defense, I didn’t realize how much I rely on medication for comfort. Got a headache? Advil. Back hurts? Advil. Congested, hard time breathing? Decongestant. Bad cramps? Advil.

With nearly all of my go-to drugs off the table, I felt helpless. And pregnancy hormones? No joke. I have been a big, steamy mess of nonsense for the last few weeks — even before I became infected with this scourge. After going through three boxes of tissues in two days and calling my doctor repeatedly for something, anything I could take (finally got permission for low-dose Sudafed), the cold began to break on Sunday morning.

Just in time to host the party.

After disinfecting and de-cluttering everything we could, dear Spencer set to work making food while I read recipes from a bubble in the corner. I pumped myself full of water and baby-safe drugs before everyone arrived, then dissolved into a puddle of gratitude as my sister and brother-in-law showed up to help take over responsibilities.

And then I could just have fun!

And so we did. Mostly because I couldn’t believe we’d pulled it off and actually had everything go as planned. In a panicky moment on Friday, I was convinced the whole thing would fall apart because I was too weak to do more than reach for another tissue. Spence and I had looked forward to hosting our friends at our first shindig, and I didn’t want to cancel.

But I rallied, everything went off without a hitch — and I’m only feeling about 30 percent ridiculous today. The cough is sticking around, but I can handle that.

Hug your NyQuil a little closer for me, friends. You never know how much you love something until it’s gone.


This has been a long few days.

I’ve been stricken with a violent flu/cold cocktail that has left me feverish, exhausted and constantly nauseous. I can’t eat. I could barely sleep. Nothing appealed to me — not food; not television; not books.

No. Not even books.

It’s a sad state of affairs when I find myself with three full, empty days to do whatever I want . . . and can’t even sit up long enough to enjoy them. Most of Saturday was spent tossing and turning in my dark room, a cold cloth over my eyes. Sunday wasn’t much better. Monday finally brought me to the doctor, and now I’m downing medicine and keeping track of the pills like it’s my full-time job.

I’m being dramatic. It’s not that bad, I know. I’m back at work today and trying to get caught up on what I’ve missed over the last few days (and, you know. It’s really not good). After being so out of touch and delusional, I feel completely disoriented.

So this might be a light week on the blog. I’m still making my way through Megan McCafferty’s Bumped and Abby McDonald’s The Liberation of Alice Love, both of which I’m enjoying . . . but haven’t been able to muster the enthusiasm to read for more than a few minutes at a time. I’ve read nothing else. I’ve done nothing else.

Well, correction: I finally watched “The Social Network” (brilliant!); sent my boyfriend minute-by-minute pathetic updates about my wellness and how much I miss him; begged my sister for a drink; shunned almost all food in all its forms but then asked my father for yogurt; emailed my mother with a blow-by-blow of my doctor’s appointment.

I’m such an annoying patient.

But they love me anyway.

See you all soon! (And while you’re out, please bring me more ginger ale.)

Feed a fever, starve a cold

chicken_soupSo I’m sick again. After getting over a nasty flu a few weekends ago, I woke up yesterday morning with a seriously scratchy throat, a terrible headache and a stuffy nose. Ah, cold season! Can there be anything more exciting?

And what did I do today? I went out and ate spaghetti for lunch. After eating a very light dinner last night and “sleeping” in a state of delirium from my cold medicine and apparent insomnia, I was actually starving by lunchtime.

But mid-bite, that old adage came back to haunt me . . .

Feed a fever, starve a cold.

I asked Palmer if he thought there was anything truth to it, and we both agreed that we had no idea! It’s an old wives’ tale, to be sure, but I’d never actually heard anyone discuss whether or not we should actually starve ourselves when we’re ill.

spaghettiThat doesn’t really seem like a good idea — I know that when you’re sick and not eating well, your body is deprived of nutrients and electrolytes and all those… important things. And dehydration is not your friend. But I needed to know the answer to this, of course, since I’m alternating between eating next to nothing and stuffing my face!

And, of course, the answer to whether or not you should “feed a fever, starve a cold” is… false! Big time false. It’s important to keep up your energy and not get dehydrated while you’re ill — you need those nutrients to help your body get rid of the virus.

So pig out! I have my spaghetti leftovers waiting patiently in the community fridge. And hopefully the magic sauce will have restorative powers to un-cloud my head in no time!

Musing Mondays: Down for the count

musing_mondaysQuite a cold Monday in Maryland! Here’s this week’s question:

How does your being sick (or injured) affect your reading? Do you read more? Less? Do you pick out a different book than you had already planned? Do you have a “comfort book” that makes you feel better?

I was down with the flu myself two weekends ago, and let me tell you — I didn’t want to do anything. After the initial bouts of terrible nausea had passed and I was laying on the couch, totally inert and exhausted, I felt around a bit for the paperback I was reading at the time (Dear Neighbor, Drop Dead, in case you were wondering!). But I didn’t even have the energy to read my novel. So as a whole, I would have to say I read far less when I’m sick. Bad colds usually don’t keep me home, and when I’m majorly sick with a bug or other ailment, all I can do is stare at the television for hours and hours on end.

I don’t have a comfort book, or anything vaguely resembling that, but that’s a clever idea. I will say that if I’m really upset and just need to get my mind off things, I typically turn to one of the young adult books in my stack. Meg Cabot’s books always make me feel better.