I guess I should have said "six months", but I think you'll understand.
The day we met Mariah and Elisha, they were sick. Four days later, while we were still in Addis Ababa, I got sick.
Here's a rundown what has happened from that time until now:
9/14 - Elisha is placed in our arms with a virus or cold of some kind and a digestive problem
9/14 - Mariah is weak and listless from a history of malnourishment and seems to be fading
9/18 - Mariah is diagnosed with an ear infection, stomach flu and a respiratory infection
9/18 - Elisha is diagnosed with a respiratory infection
9/18 - Eli gets food poisoning from an Addis Ababa restaurant. Debilitating symptoms last for five days until departure for America
9/24 - Eli (the day after returning home) finds out he caught a rhinovirus on the plane ride home. It lasts 3 weeks
9/25 - Mariah makes an emergency trip to our doctor to deal with her continuing fever and respiratory problems
9/30 - Mariah's first trip to the pediatrician confirms what the doctor said a few days before. It's discovered she also needs to redo all of her vaccinations and be tested for exposure to TB.
10/1 - Elisha's first trip to the pediatrician. Almost recovered from his cold, he is tested for digestive problems.
10/13 - Anne-Marie develops the same virus Eli has from the plane. It lasts 2 weeks
10/14 - Elisha is diagnosed with two serious digestive tract infections. Two different antibiotics are prescribed.
10/17 - Eli gets the flu. Bedridden, but advice nurse says it's untreatable. It lasts 3 days.
10/31 - Mariah tests positive for exposure to TB. Continuing treatment is required.
11/1 - For the first time since coming home, no one in the family is sick. We return to church.
11/14 - Both kids wake up with colds. Elisha recovers in a week.
11/25 - Mariah is brought to the doctor because she cannot recover from the virus. No treatment is available, but we buy a vaporizer to help her breathe at night.
12/3 - Eli and Anne-Marie both develop viruses. Eli recovers after 2 weeks; Anne-Marie struggles to recover.
12/15 - Anne-Marie is recovering from the virus when she catches the flu. She is bedridden for 3 days.
12/25 - We are thankful to all be well as we celebrate Christmas.
1/10 - Anne-Marie catches a virus. After a week and a half, she believes she has recovered.
1/17 - Anne-Marie feels better but cannot regain her appetite. She has occasional dizziness.
1/18 - Elisha begins to struggle with a stomach virus.
1/20 - Mariah wakes up with a cold. It lasts a week.
1/22 - Elisha wakes up with a cold. It lasts a week.
1/23 - Anne-Marie, while on vacation, begins to feel worse. Her energy level drops.
2/1 - Anne-Marie, desperate to regain her energy and appetite, sees the doctor. She is diagnosed with a deep sinus infection and receives antibiotics.
2/3 - Eli gets a cold, but fights it off in 3 days.
2/5 - Anne-Marie, while treating her sinus problems with the prescribed antibiotics, still becomes very ill for 5 days.
2/8 - Elisha's stomach virus continues and is joined by a fever.
2/9 - Elisha's pediatrician diagnoses him with a double ear infection and bronchialitis. Antibiotics help him recover in a week and a half.
2/13 - Mariah's cold returns. She recovers in two weeks.
2/15 - Anne-Marie, still not able to recover, calls the doctor. The doctor prescribes stronger antibiotics for another 10 days.
2/16 - Eli's cold comes back along with a fever. He recovers in one week.
2/25 - Elisha's lab results reveal that his stomach virus was not a recurrence of the bacterial infection he had in Ethiopia.
2/26 - Anne-Marie wakes up with a fever. She discovers she has strep throat. She is still recovering.
3/1 - Anne-Marie's doctor officially diagnoses her with strep throat and prescribes a third round of antibiotics.
3/2 - Elisha wakes up with a cold.
3/2 - Mariah develops a rash on her legs.
3/3 - Mariah's rash worsens. We believe it to be impetigo. The advice nurse urges us to come to the clinic.
3/4 - Mariah goes to see the doctor.
3/5 - Who knows?
I've been hesitant to post a lot of this on the blog for a few reasons. First, because I doubt a lot of times that people want to read about the bad stuff. Second, because I don't want to sound like I'm ungrateful for what we have and all the joy the kids have brought into our lives. Third, because many times I didn't have the physical energy to even blog.
So, here it is. A line-by-line documentation of one of the toughest seasons in our life. Or at least one aspect of it. If you don't like reading it, I won't blame you for a second.
I know this all sounds negative. No. Forget "sounds negative" it IS negative. But I can't help but think about how much energy we'll feel like we have when we are functioning as a healthy family of four.