Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Wiped Out (A Day In The Life)

I'm so wiped out.

I'm sitting in my comfy chair, yet trying not to get too comfortable, because I still have Halloween costumes to finish, blanket strip to knit, dishes to wash, clothes to sort, bathroom to clean-- I need to stop, I'm getting tireder just listing out all the things I still need to do at 10:10 pm this fine October evening.

Where to start?

Well, there's me. I'm sick, have been since Saturday? Friday? Just a cold-- but "just a cold" really does not do justice to the combined petty wretchedness of clogged sinuses, random stabby head pain, sneezing fits lasting minutes on end, runny nose, chapped upper lip, chills, sticky mouth, sore throat, cough, and burning chest. What I'm trying to say is, the fact that I don't have, say, the flu or pneumonia is not particularly comforting at this very moment.

How did I get sick? How do parents always get sick? Last Thursday night, while I was getting Malcolm ready for bed, I noticed he seemed warm. By "warm," I mean, you could fry an egg on this kid's belly. Against his strenuous protests, I took his temperature-- over 102. Oh boy. Meanwhile, Isaac had lost his voice over the course of the day (for no clear reason, coughing maybe?). Then Alyx started up, so I popped a thermometer in her mouth-- over 101.

I work as a legal assistant, and I had two filings due Friday. Dan was absolutely unavailable. So there was nothing for it but to pack up the three plague children, install them in the spare office in front of the computer, put on whatever cartoon on PBS Kids would hold their interest, and work as fast as I could.

I'm proud to say, as a working mom, I got both documents filed and served and everyone back home with-- so far as I know-- no damage to my office.

Fast forward a few days-- and I still have three more-or-less feverish kids. Absolutely no symptoms that suggest they have anything other than a common, garden-variety rhinovirus. No unusual coughing, no wheezing, no rash, no reports of unusual ear or throat pain. Minimal vomiting, always associated with strenuous coughing. No diarrhea. But Malcolm has been burning up every night now for six nights in a row. He was feeling so poorly over the weekend he actually asked to go to bed. I called our pediatrician to get his opinion if we should come in, and he thought we should, so we had them take a look at him. Mild ear infection-- enough to give him a fever and prolong his misery, not enough to actually give him ear pain. Amoxicillin-- which is fine, he loves the bubblegum flavored stuff.

Unfortunately, I also had my every-four-weeks standing appointment with my psychiatrist (a.k.a., my "med shrink"-- as opposed to my "head shrink," the psychologist I see every week for CBT) this afternoon. I love my med shrink (and the other med shrink I had before her from the same practice), she's awesome, but the location kind of sucks (I really hate driving through West Hollywood), and I really hate the practice's cancellation policy: 48 hours notice or pay $100 fee. I mean, I get why they do it, don't get me wrong, but any parent can tell you how much things can change in 6-8 hours, let alone 48. It's just not feasible to be able to 100% commit that far in advance, which really, in a nutshell, explains my almost complete lack of a social life. But I'll be damned if I'm paying $100, either, just on principle. I swallowed my pride and called them up and threatened them with my feverish, coughy, snotty children all over their waiting room. No dice; the appointment stood. We got squeeeezed into the pediatrician at 11:30, which left just enough time to hit up McDonalds for some lunch and head over to my doc. Then stop for gas at Costco on the way home, drop Mal's prescription off at Walgreens, and finally relax. Well, they get to relax-- I got to stress about turning pieces of felt into a 3D cartoon character (Malcolm wants to be Skully from "Jake and the Neverland Pirates" for Halloween).

"Spaghetti anyone? Please?" I suggested hopefully, only to be met with requests for cereal all around. Normally I say no to cereal for dinner, but I'm inclined to be tolerant when they're sick, so Cocoa Krispies it was. Then after dinner pile back in the car to ride a quarter of a mile up the road to get Mal's antibiotics. I went through the drive-thru; no way am I taking the hooligan squad out of their car seats.

I give up. I hear Isaac fussing in small, gasping sobs. Duty calls....