Does anyone else want to scream every time you hear that now, right now, is The Most Wonderful Time of the Year?
My response: Really? God, I hope not!
My younger daughter has been sick for 10 days, with fevers to almost 105 degrees. She missed seven and a half days of school, was seen in the ER, and then saw three different specialists this week.
Here are some memorable tidbits from the last week and a half (all are me speaking to my daughter):
- "If you think you're going to throw up before I can pull over, throw up in your jacket, not all over the car."
- (On the phone, after making a special trip to the grocery store) "They don't have cherry or blue raspberry popsicles. Do you want strawberry, mango, lime, or pineapple? . . . No? OK, well I guess I'll just come back home [empty-handed]."
- "I know you can't sleep, but it's 1:00 in the morning, and I would like to sleep. Can you please, please, please just stay in your room and do a quiet activity?"
- (Shouting across the house) "The remote control is two feet away from you. Do you really need to me to come in there to hand it to you?"
My daughter didn't want to miss the expedition to get our Christmas tree last weekend, but then she spent most of the time in the car, crying to go home.
My older daughter was sick too – with a different illness – and missed two days of school this week.
My father-in-law just left the hospital after a three-week admission. We spent part of Thanksgiving Day touring nursing homes.
The most wonderful time of the year?
The weeks preceding Christmas are some of the most difficult of the year. I sound like the Grinch, but the notion that everything should be joyful and perfect right now sets up unrealistic expectations.
My dizziness – my main symptom of MS - has been acting up this week, probably because I'm stressed and sleep-deprived. Chronic disease doesn't pause for the holidays. We still have to take our medicines and battle fatigue and struggle with bodies that don't want to do what we tell them to. PLUS, we have to shop and plan and cook and send holiday cards.
All this forced cheerfulness is draining.
I know I'm not alone. Many of my patients over the years have faced terrible loneliness and depression during December. The message everywhere seems to be "If you're not blissfully happy and surrounded by loving friends and family, there is something wrong with you."
Maybe there's something wrong with that message instead.
Well – I gotta run. Did I mention that we are hosting 60 people tonight for a holiday party?