Every parent who’s ever had a sick, inconsolable child knows the helpless feeling that comes with not being able to fix your baby’s pain.
Likewise, every parent who’s ever had a sick child who was too sick to go to school but not quite sick enough to just sit down and watch cartoons, already, knows the helpless feeling that comes with not being able to drop that kid off at school already.
GUESS which one I had today! Go on!
Oh, it was fine. He was fine. It’s funny; I had the most entertaining discussion with Susan about our mutual frustration over how it is possible for the SAME child who often screams that he’s been PUNCHED when someone else dares to merely BREATHE in his general vicinity can, in fact, dance around the couch with a fever of 101 claiming that he feels GREAT and he would like to go to school now, please. Sure, he needed to take frequent breaks from the dancing to cough up chunks of his lungs, but whatever. He was FINE!
“When is Chickie coming home?” he finally started asking, once he realized that I was not, in fact, going to just pack him up and take him to school, and neither was I going to stop working to run around the couch with him. I was glad that the message (Message: You are sick, kid) had finally gotten through, but his new focus wasn’t much better. It was only 10:03 when he started demanding to know when his sister would return.
The problem, of course, was that once again I had FOOLISHLY elected his ability to continue breathing over my own sanity, and had administered Albuterol as directed. (And by “as directed” I of course mean “through the toilet paper tube I appropriated for this purpose, because the spacer is still MIA.”)
Let’s just put it this way: When all the other kids are huffing or shooting up or doing whatever is considered the cool drug of choice by the time Monkey is a teenager, he’ll be all “Dudes, I don’t need that. I have my inhaler. Do you SEE the spinning pink elephants on the ceiling? They are most awesome. Also, I need to go run ten miles. Back in a bit.”
With the Albuterol on board, Monkey is feeling no pain. When we went to the doctor’s office this morning, the nurse came to get us and stopped, first, at the scale.
“Okay, Monkey, I just need you to hop up there so I can weigh you—”
“Hop? You want me to HOP? Okay! I’ll hop! HOP, HOP, HOP! I’m a bunny! And this is my puppy. His name is Puppy! Say hello!”
In the exam room, I tried to talk to the nurse while Monkey chattered away, and finally I put my arm around him and stroked his hair and then COVERED HIS MOUTH long enough to say, “I think the Albuterol is making him just a little hyper.”
(She didn’t have to laugh quite so hard, in my opinion.)
Naturally, for my $15 copay they were only too happy to tell me that he has a virus. I knew it was a virus; I just wanted to have his breathing checked and maybe get some new medicine that will open his lungs without making him talk non-stop. And maybe a spacer that isn’t made of cardboard.
I do have to hand it to him; a visit involving peak flows and pulse oximeters has the potential to be tedious. But not with Monkey! He chatted with the nurse, he yammered to the doctor, and at all points inbetween he maintained a running commentary between himself and his stuffed dog. By the end of the appointment, my ears were bleeding, but I had a new prescription clutched in my hand. (Pssst! Everyone who commented about Xopenex not being covered by insurance should apparently join my HMO. Covered! Which somewhat removes the sting from having to pay for a new spacer. But, because joining my insurance is weird and stalkery at best and impossible at worst, maybe you’d rather just go get a coupon instead.)
Off we went to Target, where I plunked him into a cart to keep his contamination of others shoppers to a minimum. I only had to listen to his commentary on everything he saw for about 10 minutes; that’s how long it took for the pharmacist to let me know that he’d have the meds for me tomorrow.
(Rather than killing him for making me wander the store for 10 minutes with my little babbling machine, I allowed Monkey to chew his ear for a bit. “My name is Monkey! And this is my puppy. His name is Puppy!”)
Back home after our morning adventures, I checked the clock and verified that it had been over four hours since the last dosing of the Manic Medicine. His breathing was good, and I knew I had a very small window of opportunity before he needed to be dosed again.
“Okay, Buddy, guess what you’re going to do now!”
“Go to school?” I tried very hard not to laugh. You have to admire that kind of eternal hope, you really do.
“Sorry, Bud. Nope. You’re going to go lie down and have a nap.” He searched my face, waiting for the punchline. When none came, he began to crumple into a heap.
“I’m not TIRED! I want to go to SCHOOL! And it’s LIGHT OUT! And—” I scooped him up and carried him up the stairs while he continued with his litany of reasons why he absolutely did not need a nap. I nodded and clucked and agreed and tucked him in and promised to come check on him in just a little bit.
When I poked my head back into his room about ten minutes later, he was snoring.
I tiptoed back down the stairs and sat down in the silence. Ahhhhh.
About 90 minutes later, I heard the bus give its customary honk at the corner as Chickadee came barrelling towards the house. Upstairs, I heard a thump.
“Mama! I heard the bus! It honked! That means Chickadee is home! And I am awake and I told you I wasn’t tired! Here I come!”
The kids played and I gave Monkey some more Albuterol and later he scarfed down the Happy Meal his father brought him, after having turned up his nose at every bit of food I’d offered throughout the day.
I am seriously considering just dosing him up in the morning and sending him to school with some french fries. He’ll be fine, and I totally need the time away from him to take a nap.