Monday, September 28, 2015

Hibernation Season

Hibernation season is upon us, coming quickly on the heels of the first approaching frost, if not sooner.

I don’t mean for the squirrels who have gathered acorns for the last few months, angrily staring me down as I walk the path to the hospital, and threatening me with their bushy little tails.

I mean for us medical families.

Hibernation season. The season whereupon we gather together as a family and vow to uphold the most impeccable cleanliness known to man, should we be forced to venture out into the wild.

Hibernation season. Something we willingly do to help protect our immune fragile kiddos.

Hibernation season. To be honest, this season is hard. It’s pulling away from everything to protect the thing that matters most to us. But it’s hard. Quite depressing to be honest. And it’s hard to get the comments back about how ridiculous it is to insist on our seasonal family bubble.

As if we don’t already suffer from enough anxiety on a daily basis, we then have a panic set in this time of year. We begin to make check list after check list for World War Germ.

Grocery List: Need more hand sanitizer. Need more disinfectant wipes. Need signs for the door. Need hand sanitizing station. Need ten foot pole {because I totally heard that person cough over there and I need to measure my distance! I’ve watched the germ episode on MythBusters, people. I KNOW germs spread four feet when you sneeze through your hand and not the crook of your arm!!}.

While some of you might think to pity us stay-at-home-bubblers and think we are crazy, just remember: a common cold can land our child in the PICU. No joke. One green-snotter and BAM. Call the life-flight ‘cause this child’s sats are dropping fast. And there’s nothing like a mama bear whose trached child has been off their vent for 6 months, only to be put back on ventilator settings while riding the beast that is a common cold.

But there are some perks to HS {hibernation season}:

You get to have your groceries delivered. Yes. You simply sit down with a cup of hot apple cider, on your couch covered in bouncing children and toys, and select your items with the touch of a magic button. They then amazingly appear at your doorstep within the day. No crazy kids in the fruit snack section crying over mommy saying no to Frozen fruit snacks. No over-buying because you skipped lunch. Don’t lie. We’ve all done it. And if your grocery store is as AWESOME as ours, they’ll deliver balloons for the kids from time to time and ask how our sweet girl is doing these days. They’ll cry with you on a hard day. They’ll encourage you. They’ll politely stay at your front door while you check off the items because they are aware that they work in a very publicly germed-up place. Germed-up. New term for any location containing 5 or more children. Don’t even get me started on those indoor fast food play areas…

You get to avoid the awkward handshakes and half hugs. If you’re like my husband, you get to avoid hugs all-together. Except for the PACT team. Palliative Care team always seems to succeed at this. Instead you can simply pull out your crocheted winter seasonal sweater that says, “Germ Season. No Hugs or Handshakes,” and wear it to the staff Christmas party…that you’re not attending…because it’s outside of your bubble…but you are attending via Skype.

But most of all, the best perk of HS is, to be honest, the incredible amount of family time that comes with cancelling any and every activity from Halloween to Easter. Yes, it’s hard to cross off “visit pumpkin patch” or “attend Christmas concert”, and your heart aches with a certain ache that is from days before you ever believed your heart would be in this place now. But you’re in this together, doing this as a family, loving on the member(s) of your family who need it most. You’re teaching them and showing them how important they are and their health is to you. You’re getting more hours in the day to soak them up, snuggle them up, and be together.

So cue the Christmas music. Dig out the comfy sweats. Winterize the house. Hang the beautiful chalkboard sign, decorated with cedar bows and cranberries, outside your door that says, “Have You Coughed Lately?” in a delicate hand-scripted Christmas-card-worthy font. Make some more DIY Sharpie mugs because you’re going to use them on those cold November nights when the wind is blowing the leaves into dark swirls against the harvest moon’s glow, the homemade hot chocolate warms you down to the bottom of your yoga pants as you snuggle with your loved little, and the oxygen saturation monitor rings off {because your child pulled it off, again}.

Welcome to hibernation season!

Warm season’s greetings from our closed door to yours!

Seasonal Tip: Bring the leaves inside for the perfect fall photo session!

She does open her eyes. She was stubborn this day ;). 

All images copyright 2014 Our Chloe Elizabeth. May not be reproduced in any way without permission from this blog. 


  1. Jodie, this is a GREAT idea for fall photos with a child that can't be outdoors - so clever! In the future, I'd like to share this tip with my own blog readers! Love it! Chloe is such a sweetheart! <3