I swear I am not making this up

By Mir
August 6, 2012

It’s official; we have reached the portion of 2012 where things have been so incredibly suckalicious that my hands hover over the keyboard while I wrestle with the very real fear that you will just stop believing what I’m saying. Because it’s outlandish. How can one family have such incredibly bad luck? Surely I am just making some of this up, or embellishing, or I’ve just completely lost my marbles or I’m just screwing with you now.

(It would be nice if that was true, kind of. Except for the part where I’m either crazy or sadistic.)

Anyway. EVERYONE IS FINE. Let’s start with that. At last count everyone is still alive and has all their limbs, so not to worry! It didn’t kill us, it just made us wish it had made us stronger!

So. When last we spoke, my parents had arrived, and Monkey was on his second day of high but mysterious fever. I even noted that “he seems fine.” Cue the ominous music!

Those of you who’ve been around here for a while may remember that Monkey is a champ when it comes to sickness. Thanks to his particular set of sensory weirdnesses, he is rarely aware that he is unwell. There are benefits to this, of course—who wants a kid suffering if you could just have that same kid be all “Oh, I’m fine!”?—but drawbacks, too. It can be hard to get him to rest when he needs it, for example. Also, I don’t really enjoy the disapproving looks from his doctors when, say, I notice he looks a little off and it turns out he has a double ear infection.

So on day one of Mystery Fever, Monkey said he felt “a little cold.” On day two of Mystery Fever, Monkey said he felt “much better,” but then I found him “resting” in the middle of the kitchen floor at one point, plus he busted out with this weird rash, so I just kept giving Advil and put some cream on the rash and assumed he had something viral.

Now, on day two he also started having some stomach symptoms (YOU ARE WELCOME for sparing you the details), but I figured this was a side effect of having a high fever and generally feeling crappy. After all, he wasn’t complaining (yes, I’ve been this child’s mother for twelve years and I still sometimes think “oh, he’s not complaining…” means he’s okay, because I AM STUPID), so he was probably fine.

The plan was that we would all go take Chickadee out for a leave on Saturday, but with Monkey still obviously sick on Friday, Otto and I discussed it and decided that he (Otto) would stay home with the boy on Saturday and my folks and I would go take Chickie out. It was a bummer, but it was the logical thing to do.

Well, that was the plan until Saturday morning, when Monkey got up before 6:00 and I found him SCREAMING in the bathroom. Here’s the thing: when your kid never complains when sick, when he DOES complain, you pay attention RIGHT QUICK. I paged our pediatrician, got a random on-call nurse call back, and she gave me a few suggestions and gave us a 10:00 appointment at the covering doctor’s office, but added that I should feel free to take him to the ER if things got worse before then.

Things got worse, so we went to the hospital.

I’m a big fan of prime time medical dramas, and in years and years of watching Chicago Hope, ER, Grey’s Anatomy, etc., I have never seen what ACTUALLY happens when they suspect you have appendicitis. On TV, they suspect appendicitis, they poke and prod, and someone screams “Book an OR!” and off they go. In real life, they take you in pretty quickly, but then you wait. And wait. And wait. And wait some more. And after you’ve waited forever and your kid has writhed around for a while and a doctor has poked him and your normally cheerful and agreeable Aspie has snarled “THAT HURTS, STOP IT! ARE YOU TRYING TO KILL ME??” they order a giant canister of contrast and tell your child he has to drink it all and then they’ll do a CT scan two hours later.

Guess what a kid with a horrible stomachache doesn’t want to do! Drink contrast! Because they don’t want to drink anything, really, and contrast is disgusting. Poor Monkey was DEEPLY OFFENDED at the cheerful label proclaiming it to be “berry flavored.”

“They typoed this label,” he kept saying. “It is NOT berry flavored. It’s BARF flavored. And I think they just came up with this to TORTURE people who already feel awful. Maybe we should make the DOCTOR drink it, see how HE likes it!” Oh my, was he cranky. And I felt bad for him, I really did, but all he needed was a pint-sized cane to wave at all of those kids on his lawn. It was kind of pathetic yet adorable, is my point.

Eventually I managed to locate some cartoons on the television and squeezed onto the gurney with him to administer soothing Mama things, like stroking his forehead and making fun of SpongeBob.

[Sidebar: Somewhere in here I called Chickadee’s hospital and explained that I needed to speak with her briefly because we had a change of schedule—normally phone calls are only allowed during a specific time period in the evening—and when she got on the phone, I told her we had a slight change of plan, and she immediately said, “No leave today?” in such a sad voice that I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. “No, NO!” I assured her. “Leave today! But it’s just going to be Otto and Grandma and Grandpa. I’m so sorry I can’t come, but I’m in the Emergency Room with Monkey.” She did a brief verbal celebration before thinking to ask if he was okay, then recovered and made a comment about how this is REALLY not our year. Um, YEAH.]

So Monkey and I passed the bulk of the day in the ER, watching cartoons, waiting and waiting and waiting, and my folks and Otto headed off to see Chickie and deliver the second wave of hygiene supplies.

Finally, they came and got Monkey for his scan. The actual event took about a minute, then they told us it would be read and we’d have the results in “maybe 30 minutes.”

Commence an hour of Monkey complaining that the doctors are clearly stupid and don’t care, because WHERE ARE THEY? Fortunately, I was saved by Pokemon coming on the television, because there’s really no cartoon I enjoying poking fun at more than Pokemon. (Where on earth does it make sense to have super-fighting magical creatures who possess all manner of special powers who can… only say their own names? POKEMON!)

Eventually the doctor came back to tell us Monkey did not have appendicitis. PHEW. They had, however, determined that he had some sort of intestinal infection, though they would need to do some cultures to determine what sort, and here’s an antibiotic in the meantime but we may call and give you a different one once we get the lab results. Alrighty.

As we drove home, my sensitive little guy apologized several times that I was missing seeing his sister, and then I melted into a puddle of goo. I assured him it was fine and I would go see her the next day. At home he said he felt “a little better” and promptly fell asleep on the couch.

A good time was had by the visitation team (heh) and my girl, and the next day my parents and I drove in to hang out with her for a couple of hours and play Scattergories. While we were gone, the hospital called to tell us that Monkey had tested positive for salmonella (the hell??), and they put him on a different antibiotic.

No one knows where he got it, but we strongly suspect he has secretly been licking chickens. (Not really. It’s fun to accuse him of that and watch him get all indignant, though.)

And on the one hand, all’s well that ends well, and while our run of bad luck seems to know no bounds this year, it could’ve been SO much worse. I’m not complaining. On the other hand: I would really like a nap. Like, maybe for the rest of 2012.


  1. KirstyB

    Oh, Mir….you are beyond “when it rains, it pours!” Wishing for some less sucky days and months ahead….or a time machine to take you to 2013 where, hopefully, sunny skies are waiting! HUGS!

  2. deva

    Oh my goodness. This is so not your year. I am hoping and praying and holding your family in the light that this time next year you’ll be sitting in the living room with Monkey and Otto and Chickadee chuckling over how crazy this year was and OH how 2013 is so awesome!

  3. Liza

    OMG, you are right. If you wrote fiction we would mock it for not being believable. And I am so terribly sorry that it is not fiction. I am mentally replaying the scene from Fried Green Tomatoes where Cecily Tyson’s character jokes about people eating eggs that come from a chicken’s ass.

  4. elizabeth

    Yeesh! Not a fun weekend! That sounds really rough.

  5. Karen Chatters

    What the hell? I guess the “good news” is that it’s August and then fall and then Christmas and the year is over. Yeah, sorry. I got nothing. Hang in there, you’re kicking ass and fairing extremely well considering all the shit. (Sorry, there’s no way to sugar coat your year – shit it is.)

  6. Tiffany

    Oh man! We are on vacation and all 3 kids have been sick with suspected food poisoning..I hope monkey feels better soon!

  7. diane

    My boyfriend in college had something very similar. We thought he had appendicitis too. After a VERY LONG time in the ER, it was determined he had an infection of the membrane that holds your intestine together. How does one get an infection like that? NO IDEA!
    Somehow, you are still managing to keep your sense of humor in all this. That is a godsend!
    Feel better, Monkey!

  8. T. Clark

    OMGosh. Unbelievable. But I’m so glad Monkey didn’t need surgery, and your parents were there to visit Chickadee while you were with him. I admire your attitude because you’re right-even as difficult as everything has been, it truly could be worse. Hang in there and keep counting your blessings! I hope you have a good visit with Chickadee!

  9. el-e-e

    I don’t usually say this but JESUS. JE.SUS!!

  10. karen

    hmmm… I’ve heard people get salmonella from pastry that has cream in it, eggs, cutting boards and even lettuce! So the best of intentions and food preparation can’t always prevent it. UGH! But thankfully and answer and a curable ill.

    OK, you’ve gone way beyond your quota, so please, powers that be… no more suckatude for Mir & Family!

  11. Angela

    You know in maybe 15 years you’ll look back on this year and be all….”That couldn’t have all happened at the same time…” Either that or it will become 5x as epic as it already is and it will grow into an even nuttier story. Perk up. Have some ben and jerrys karmel sutra ice cream and watch some olympics. Or just keep breathing. You’re making it.

  12. The Domestic Goddess

    SALMONELLA???? He was playing with raw eggs, right? I mean, we all do that!

    I have a “never complain but when he does take it seriously” aspie. Once went three days with a broken arm. Never complained it hurt, kept using it. ER staff was so thrilled with us, they kept us 7 hours and interviewed us separately seven times. Good times! Good news is my aspie can’t lie because it is against the rules. Thank goodness.

    Glad you got to see her this weekend and that he is on the mend!

  13. Reb

    Totally incredible. If the universe has any sense of justice, your next 10 years will be great.

    Hang in there, and I hope Monkey comes right in record time.

  14. ~zandra~

    Well good grief. I’m very sorry for Monkey and the pain he was in but glad it wasn’t appendicitis. Hope he feels better quickly- and really hope your family can catch a break now.

  15. Mandy

    My goodness! Hope Monkey is on the mend. Ask him if he’d like his mama’s fans to send him some tampon lemonade to help him recover. ; ) If he’s outraged, then he’s recovering.

  16. liv

    wow. just wow. this has to mean that for the rest of your lives, *nothing* will go wrong. because you’ve totally already had your share of shitty stuff. you’re done now. right??

  17. Arnebya

    I’ve learned not to ask the dreaded “what else can go wrong” (because inevitably, your grill will fly off onto 95 in the middle of rush hour) but damn if I don’t want to ask it here. I’m glad chicken-lickin’ Monkey is not as bad as he could have been, that the car situation wasn’t worse than it could have been, and that Chickie is doing well, tampon brigade continues. This optimism crap is hard to maintain.

  18. victoria

    I’ll just go find some high quality mahogony or some such wood and knock on it for a few hours in your name.

  19. Katie K.

    Holy heck! I am so sorry you have another thing to add to the list. I hope Monkey is feeling better very, very soon. Has he been at a friend’s house playing with a pet reptile? That is another way to get it. I worry and chase my kids with hand sanitizer because my kids SO want a dog, but my husband and daughter have really, really bad allergies so I finally caved and we now have a bearded dragon and a tortoise.
    Your family remains in my prayers regularly.

  20. brigitte

    Woman, what did you DO in a past life!?
    Either that, or Karma owes you BIG time.
    Not that I believe in such things . . :-(

  21. Korinthia Klein

    So sorry. Hope you catch a break (or a nap) soon.

  22. KSM

    My family and I had a year where everything seemed to totally suck back in 2010. Fortunately, the suck started in 2009 so when it came time for me to take the bar exam in 2010, the year turned enough by November for me not to fail! So just know that the bad year does pass… eventually!!!

  23. Jen H.


  24. Chris

    Oh goodness. I think the only thing I can say is glad there wasn’t surgery and everyone made it through the weekend. I am also with the sentiment that you are well beyond the “when it rains it pours”. Looking for some sun ahead.

  25. Tracy B

    I know you must be asking, “What next”? Don’t…don’t ask. I’m so sorry all of this stress has made it’s way to you and set up camp….just keep swimming! (eventually even stress gives up)

  26. Kate

    Holy Schiznickle! I am on my knees on your behalf today! Just keep swimming!

  27. macwade

    In looking to make the glass half full, I can’t help but notice that the hospital actually let you talk to Chickadee outside of allowed hours (maybe that is why we sent so many supplies?) AND when you talked to her she both remembered to be concerned about her brother and realized that you all are having a bad year. Yes, I am loking for even a sliver of silver lining, but at least there was something there. Hope you get to relax and enjoy the parental units for a little bit.

  28. Marsh

    Most people think that Hell looks like flames and heat and a red man with a pitchfork, but I think it looks like an ER. You are worried and you have to sit on uncomfortable chairs with someone who is very sick/uncomfortable/injured, and you can’t leave to eat or drink because the doctor will come at just the moment you step out. I’m sorry. Hope things look up soon.

  29. Sheila

    Good gravy. Poor Monkey. I’m glad for small mercies, like your folks being there and it not being surgical, but now the Universe should go pick on someone it’s own size, I think.

  30. liz

    Honey, you need to get some horseshoes to protect you from all the hand-grenades life is throwing at you.

  31. Little Bird

    I have a horseshoe I could send you! I don’t know the protocol for them, but I found it on a street in Chicago a few years ago. I will join Victoria in knocking on wood in your name for now. I would take the salmonella for Monkey if I could (I could stand to lose the weight)! I really hope you get some time that you can use for yourself! Hot luxurious baths, a mani-pedi (hey, would the hospital let you take Chickadee for one of those?) SOMETHING!

  32. Headless Mom

    You get to join the FUBAR club. Which, while being sucktastic, includes a bunch of my favorite blogging women. So, yay?

    Sorry. 2012 can suck it.

  33. Leah

    Maybe this is all happening because 2013 will be the year of unicorns and rainbows so you have to get everything out of the way now? Just a thought.

  34. Valerie

    Don’t compile a running list of 2012 top events — just knowing it exists may feel like 100 pounds of zucchini on your back. Two movie scenes popped into my mind by the end – Lieutenant Dan flipping God the bird during the hurricane in Forest Gump and … well, shit. The cat jumped in my lap and I blinked and so now I can’t remember the second movie scene. Enjoy a big ol’ bowl of ice cream, bottle of wine or dehydrated fruit–whatever helps you make it though.

  35. Tracey

    OH POOR MONKEY. And you of course, because sick kid, long hospital wait and feelings of NO ONE WILL EVER COME TELL US WHAT IS WRONG, but since I had Salmonella when I was a kid I know how miserable it makes a body feel.

    Hope you’re all hanging in there.

  36. jwg

    Have you considered exorcism? That and copious amounts of whatever food you love that are bad for you. You know, revenge eating.

  37. Lil

    I haven’t read all the other comments, so apologies if this is duplicate info, but when my child got salmonella, randomly, inexplicably, the only thing better than his ongoing GI symptoms was the call later on from the Department of Health Services during which they tried to track down the source of the infection. Because nothing makes you feel better about your pitifully sick child and your own parenting skills than someone calling to officially question those skills with a series of helpful queries like “Do you rinse out your sink with bleach after cooking with raw chicken?” or “Have you fed your child any meat that was past its due date recently?” More suckage courtesy of your state government is on the horizon, is what I’m saying!

  38. Rachel

    Hugs to you and your family! I lol’d when I read “barf flavored” that right there is awesome! Yeah, and I think the ER is the wormhole of time suckage… even in our small town there is a lot of waiting… (crickets chirping)… waiting… (crickets…) waiting… going on.

    I hope 2012 gets better for you from here on out!

  39. Beth R

    Oh, Mir! How… Just… Not… Wha-?! I’m incoherent at the universe on your behalf.

    Hugs and more good thoughts heading your way. Thank heavens for your parents being there to help out!

  40. Rocky Mountain Woman

    yikes, woman. have you done something to seriously piss off the gods? lol

    my family had a year like that when i was about 30, my dad had a heart attack, my sister had appendicitis, then she had gall bladder surgery, my brother had a blood clot, we all survived, but weren’t really sure we cared one way or the other!

    keep calm and carry on…

  41. Katherine

    Oh my! You are definitely due some MAJOR good events happening and SOON! I hope Monkey is feeling better quickly so he can have some fun times with grandparents.

  42. Anna

    No, really. I’m pretty sure you’re making it all up now. Maybe all the happy parts, at least. ;)

    The good news is (if you’ve seen the ecard meme) that you will be able to save anyone trapped under a Buick.

    Truly, Mir, I wonder if you could manage to leave things to your family and go find some rest somewhere. Refuel and all.

  43. Jeanie

    Poor Monkey! I hope he’s better soon. 2013 has got to be a better year, right?

  44. Jen

    I’ve had salmonella and it’s awful. I remember telling my mum that I thought I was going to die – not very useful when I was in London and she was in Australia. So hopefully things are on the up for you guys!

  45. Zoe

    Man. When that pendulum swings, you guys are in for a major windfall. Cuz, really, it HAS to swing… HARD. I suggest you guys start playing the lottery the INSTANT your luck changes!

  46. Nancy R

    I’m still giggling over Chickin Lickin Monkey…

  47. Bryan

    You know, I always think that I would trade my “paper cut is same as cutting off one’s arm in terms of pain and anguish” aspie for one like Monkey. Until I read about him screaming at 6am, because I’m sure that jerked a knot in your heart. Glad you got some time with Chickie, and that it wasn’t appendicitis.

  48. Chuck

    Are you sure Monkey hasn’t eaten at any weird roadside cafes? (I used to imagine out loud about a dodgy place near my college, which I called Sam & Ella’s – NOT their real name.) Anyhow, sorry 2012 has been such a year of Teh Suckage, but I hope Monkey feels better soon!

  49. Carolyn

    So sorry for poor little Monkey! My daughter had salmonella when she was 5 and we never nailed down the source. Frustrating!

  50. Stephanie

    Are you Irish? Cause THAT, my friend, is the real luck of the Irish :-(. I hope things turn around soon.

  51. Cele

    Ack! Salmonella, excruciating, messy, and odiferous. I’m not sure who should get my sympathy more… Monkey for his illness (ugh! chicken licking, he needs a new hobby), or Mom.

  52. Aimee

    WTF, 2012? i’m very glad Monkey’s okay, but seriously, 2012, you suck.

  53. Lori

    My husband had salmonella a few years ago and he was extremely sick for a month! I certainly hope Monkey is back on his feet quickly!

  54. Lulu

    wait, do slugs carry salmonella??? As if licking slugs wasn’t bad enough all by itself…..

  55. Kellie

    You have heard of the salmonella outbreak going on right? No cantelopes!!

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