Sunday, April 1, 2012

Missionary Wife-Dealing with Sickness

Traveling with children or in my case a child, is very different from traveling as a couple or a single adult. I have experienced both sides of the coin, our current situation is obvious: traveling with a child. While on the road, our purpose is to make a great first impressions and present our ministry to churches. Its very important, that when possible churches are able to meet the entire family.
The first missions conference Joseph and I ever participated in was shortly after we were married. It was a great conference and I remember the weather was bitterly cold-even by Illinois standards. The Tuesday before the conference was to finish I started feeling under the weather; but I sucked it up and still went to the meeting. By Wednesday morning, I felt worse. I should have stayed at the hotel; but knew how important it was to get to know the church people...so, I went to the morning meetings. Even with the opportunity to rest in the afternoon I continued to worsen. Before Wednesday evening services they served their international dinner, there was so much yummy food and yet it all looked disgusting to me. I was miserable and feeling more miserable with each passing moment. By the end of church services, I couldn't even stand and visit with people. I felt so bad, so guilty. When we got back to the hotel we learned I had a fever of 103...no wonder I was so miserable.
Last year we were in a conference in Arizona when Klayton came down with, I don't know what. Well, he was throwing up and it was a no brainer that I would stay back from the meeting and take care of him. Now we come to last week, a missions conference in Texas. After Thursday night services we were at dinner with all the missionaries and pastoral staff. I knew Klayton was not feeling up to par and it was guaranteed when he threw up at the dinner table. We went back to the hotel and discovered a climbing fever. I felt so bad. By morning his fever had broken; but we stayed in our room most of the day just to give him rest and keep him away from more germs. About a couple hours before the service he seemed to be himself. I was torn, in my heart I thought that I should just remain back in the room and miss the last night of the meeting. But, I knew it was also important for the church to remember us and see us as much as possible. So, we went to church. When we finally arrived back to our room that night, I noticed that he seemed to be heating up and in the night he woke up with a temp of 102. Klayton was so restless and uncomfortable. I felt like such a bad mommy-talk about two bad mommy moments in the same week...not good.
While I have been on the road with Klayton, I have also been learning my role as mommy! He is after all my first and only child thus far. Its so easy to question every decision I make as it is; but add the pressure of thinking, "what will the pastor think?" On and off the road, Klayton needs to come first...before our ministry. Its important to raise the necessary support; but I am learning its not important when it comes at the expense of my child's health. And besides first impressions aren't that great when you are feeling under the weather!

Here are some travel tips for MW's traveling with kids...or sick kiddos:
1. Have a working thermometer. Check the batteries ever so often, so when the time comes that you do need it, it works!
2. Sometimes, eating habits on the road aren't always that great. A healthy immune system needs to be maintained. If possible travel with a multi-vitamin so that they can get the necessary vitamins. I give Klayton a liquid multi-vitamin daily.
3. Keep fever reducer medicine thats unexpired on hand.
4. If you have a child with allergies, be sure to have allergy meds with you.
5. Make sure that your child stays hydrated. We always have juice/water bottles with us.
6. Keep crackers on hand. Their easy to toss in the diaper bag or leave in the glove box of your vehicle and they help settle the stomach!

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