A Sniffle Away from Losing My Mind


The unrelenting storm of cold and flu season has threatened to rock the boat. By boat–I mean me–a mom living with CF treading water. Tiny runny button noses and explosive coughs from children who don’t know how to tame the waves have swelled into something much bigger and more powerful than themselves: crushing pneumonia and IV antibiotics for their captain.

I know this is the typical forecast for this time of year, but every time I think the tide is about to pull away a series of waves come crashing down, one after another, so close together I can’t catch my breath. I’m gasping for air, a sense of normalcy, and a break from the chaos of what feels like the past two months. Trying to keep my head above water, the pressure has left me high and dry in the worst CF way. Truthfully, I am one sniffle away from losing my mind and abandoning ship.

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The eye of the storm

By now, everyone knows little kids are walking Petri dishes willing to share with anyone. However, I didn’t realize how willing they were to spread the joy until a few weeks ago when both the kids came down with RSV. They were both unbelievably sick for a week and just as I was catching my breath, another wave crashed: pneumonia, hemoptysis, and a small collapsed lung.

I thought I could continue pushing through and eventually, I would feel better.  In return, I let myself get too sick. Once the intense shoulder pain, hemoptysis, and shortness of breath from the pneumonia were too hard to ignore, I raised the white flag and asked for IVs. Looking back, I was so dazed from the original storm, that I didn’t see one on the horizon.

Management overload

IVs with two little kids getting over their own sickness is as chaotic (and exhausting) as it sounds. Simply put, it’s micromanagement overload. Keeping everyone alive, fed, and clean is no simple task. I felt as if I was in survival mode. The demands of IVs as a mom means your time and attention are spread very thin and somewhere in between you squeeze in a moment of rest while trying to tolerate the potency of the medication.

I know I did my best to manage it all but another wave came crashing down a week later: COVID. Just as the sun was peeking through the clouds, COVID did damage to the world again.

Sick of being sick

Slowly one by one, every tiny ship in our fleet tested positive for COVID. First my husband, then me two weeks into IVs, then the baby, and finally our 5-year-old son. Thankfully since we are all fully vaccinated the symptoms were mild. The downside was it added another layer of management with testing, tracking quarantine and masking days, and reworking our schedule and holiday plans. In addition, I added another week of IVs to the load to protect my lungs. By the end I was just so sick of being sick, I felt like I might lose my mind.

I really hope that’s the end of the viral sickness and for a few months we can enjoy the calm of a sunset and no more storms.

How are you doing this cold and flu season? Share with us below!

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The Cystic-Fibrosis.com team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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