31 December 2007

Sick again and again...

Sunday December 30: I have finally recovered from what was apparently a bacterial superinfection after the flu. The girls were out of school for one week, then they both went back for two days and in those days I went to two doctors, got a scrip for ten days of doxycycline and started to feel better a few days later. But on Tuesday Thing1 had what seemed to be a burn on her finger and that evening she developed an earache which got worse and worse as the evening wore on. Although she went to sleep, she woke up late in pain and the German wound up going to the children’s emergency at about 2 am, which definitely was not something that 1 wanted! The doctor there said that the pain was a result of a build up of fluid behind her sinuses and that we needed to get her mucus to loosen, so that was our next try, with a prescription nasal spray and an emphasis on blowing.

But of course I kept her home the following day and she went with me to my doctor. On the way home I noticed that she was limping and when I looked at the bottom of her foot I saw what appeared to be a wart, so that evening we called Dr. R and asked him what to do and of the two choices (cut out or medicate) we decided on medication. So, off to the Apotheke for wart medication. However, when I examined her foot on Thursday, the spot had blown up and no longer looked like a wart, but rather seemed like her finger, which we now decided was an infection rather than a burn. So, another call to Dr. R later, the German came home early and ran 1 to his practice. Speed was of the essence because almost everything and everyone closes down in Germany for the Christmas holidays. Dr. R decided to lance both and start 1 on antibiotics because of his concern that she might develop an infection over the holidays. So, antibiotic for the next 8 days and a second visit Friday morning to do a second lancing, just to be sure before the long holiday.
On Saturday we had hoped to take the children to visit the KinderWeihnachmarkt at the Citadel in Spandau, but it was too cold and raw, so we just cleaned up, packed up and had lunch before heading off to my in-laws for the next week. The German makes the trip far more tolerable because he manages to make it in an average of 3.5 hours, rather than the 6+ hours that it takes F. There is much to be said for the Autobahn when one lives in the hinterlands .

We stayed in the Sauerlands from Saturday night through Friday the 28th and it felt like a milder reprise of August in NY : our palette load had finally arrived and when picked it up at Bremerhoven three weeks ago, we discovered that all of the boxes had been opened and examined. Now we found that they had been left on the dock uncovered and there had been water exposure and damage. So we spent several days moving boxes, opening boxes, repacking boxes, examining boxes. We were clearly punch drunk toward the end of our packing in NY, because we actually sent a box of paperwork that we had planned on hand carrying and I was very grateful to see it.

We wound up staying through Friday rather than leaving Thursday because we needed to run to Ikea and pick up a bookcase and a double wardrobe to actually allow us to make a habitable area. The wardrobe was a hack for the German to put together, because the ceiling is low and he had to put it together standing up. Took some time but by Thursday night we actually were able to hang clothing up for the first time (there are no closets in Germany and there had been only a tiny armoire in the apartment). I also unloaded all my book boxes and filled two Billy book cases (we got the new black with white flowers design: pretty cool). Other than the packing and moving it was a gentle and relaxed vacation. F & G had a tree, which the kids liked looking at. They also had real candles, which I found strangely hypnotic to watch (as well as a strand of electric candles). We took a run into Soest to buy a humidifier and some undershirts for the girls and met C for a coffee and cake. We found all their Little People figures and most of R’s toys and games in the new boxes, so the girls were ecstatic. We had a traditional (sort of) Christmas Eve dinner of potato salad and bratwurst (although in this case they were a very untraditional turkey sausage) and on Christmas day Gerlind made beef for us (and rabbit for the others). On Wednesday, we all shared a raclette dinner. We socialized with sister-in-law G and her friend C, sister-in-law C and her husband E and their kids K and B through most of the week and stopped in to say hello to the German's uncle H and aunt U and their daughter C and her friend A.

Thing1 fell in love with their cat Shnurri (which means purrer). We came back Friday evening (December 28th)and unpacked and piled boxes everywhere (we brought a lot of stuff back with us- cake mixes, cereal, peanut butter, books, toys, 1's costumes, more winter clothes, etc). I was grateful that we had gotten the Mercedes R320TDI as our rental: not only is it a super car to drive in, with great handling and a wonderful ride, but there’s a huge amount of space in it, so we could load up.

Saturday morning we dashed out to the Kaufland and then to Ikea to pick up a bookcase for here in Berlin (we got a Billy and a Benno to hold CDs and DVDs). Then we stopped at the Post on the way back to grab a package (with an automated package retrieval system-very interesting and efficient) then ran back to unload and take the care seats out before the German had to return the car and grab the kids so that I could run to get my hair done. I finally got my hair cut (and colored) on Saturday for the first time since July- I feel like a new person! I know that I should be able to get things done on a regular basis, but with class until 1 pm and the girls getting home at 2:30 and then being sick so much, it’s been impossible and this was great. Maybe I will even be able to get my nails done some time! We put the bookcase and a Benno together and loaded them up with all my books and magazines and CDs and DVDs and the place is really beginning to be under control: I really can’t live for any period of time without having a bookcase available.

We weren’t able to get a babysitter for New Year’s, so instead we had booked someone for Sunday afternoon, which gave us the opportunity to have brunch at the local Greek place and then to walk around the Museum isle and look at a craft market. It was nice to spend a few hours with the German without the girls and it gave us the opportunity to check out our new babysitter, S , who will be watching the girls next week when we are at The Ring of the Nibelung over the next two weeks. The girls loved her, so we are pretty happy about it- wouldn’t want to worry through 24 hours of opera!

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