Family Matters

February 21, 2008

Wow, talk about crazy stuff happening around here.  Well, technically it’s happening with our families and we’re not even affected, but crazy nevertheless.

First, we heard on Tuesday that my nephew’s homecoming from the hospital is imminent.  At the time he had one or two simple tests to pass, which were pretty much givens, and then he could be released.  They were saying by the end of the week, so maybe tomorrow even.  When M was talking to his brother, the brother was freaking out.  They feel totally unprepared to have the baby at home already.  I remember that feeling all too well.  Do you ever feel completely ready for your first child, not knowing for sure what exactly you need to take care of it?  I kind of doubt that is just a preemie thing.

That exciting news comes on the heels of a massive event affecting the town where my MIL and FIL live (just a few miles away from my BIL and SIL).  I’m not going to give too many details because it’s made the national news, and I’d prefer to keep a little privacy about locations here.  Because of the massive event, though, my in-laws were evacuated from their house and were just recently allowed to return.  Their house was damaged as a result of the event, and now M’s doing his best to convince his father it’s worth getting the house officially inspected for insurance purposes.  It’s possible the house was damaged enough that it will be condemned.  They’ve just put lots of money in remodeling the house, too, so that would be disappointing to have to start over.

Then I talked to my mom yesterday and she updated me about what’s going on with my siblings.  My older brother and his family have been fighting the flu for weeks now, and it’s now on its second round through the family.  Fortunately the baby has gotten the weakest case of it, but it stinks to have to care for a young baby when you’re sick as well.  I feel bad for them.

But not as bad as I feel for my little brother.  It turns out that he is also sick, but not with the flu.  He has shingles.  I didn’t know too much about the disease before yesterday, except that it normally affects older people, is connected somehow with chicken pox, and can cause excruciating pain.  Apparently it can also cause blister-like skin problems.  My brother has these on his face and is terribly embarrassed by them.  Also, because it is a result of the chicken pox virus, he has been advised to avoid anyone who has not had chicken pox or the vaccination for it.  Like young children.  Like his baby girl.  And the virus can stick around for months and months at a time.  Even if he avoids the worst of the pain, he’ll still suffer quite a bit from not being able to be very close to his daughter at all during that time.  I know I’ve recently admitted to not liking my brother quite as much as I did growing up, but I still feel awful for him right now.  Even if he’s been kind of a jerk lately, he doesn’t deserve to go through this.

Update: M talked to both his mom and brother earlier today.  Assuming the baby’s wee-wee surgery goes without a hitch, the baby should be home later today.  We heard the disappointing news that he’s on an apnea monitor, but M’s brother doesn’t think it’s a big deal.  I hope they don’t have the experience we had with it and that he turns out to be right.  It also seems odd to me that although my SIL is planning to breastfeed, she has yet to even try.  Don’t you think that would have been a good thing to get the baby used to before he left the hospital?  Whatever.  Apparently they do things differently there.  They’re happy, their baby is coming home today, and he’s healthy.  Everything else will resolve itself in time.