When Kids Are Sick

I’m writing this with Maverick in my arms. At just one year old, he still fits in my lap, and he’s a cuddly little guy. Truth is, part of me is afraid to put him down (but not so afraid that I didn’t stick him in his crib to scream awhile ago because I was weepy and dirty and desperately needed a shower – don’t worry, his dad rescued him).

We’ve done two ER visits and two clinic visits in two days. One more follow-up appointment today, just to make sure he is really truly not going to need another ER visit over the weekend. The vomiting and diarrhea got so bad that he was dehydrated and needed an IV at the first ER visit. He was so out of it that he didn’t even fight the IV. The second ER visit, the doctor wanted to give him an IV but they tried & tried & couldn’t do it. Now his little arms are all bruised, but he’s had plenty of fluids (read: occasional sips of Pedialyte and/or Gatorade, & nearly constant breastfeeding) and his lips are finally no longer chapped.

I know parents who have kids with chronic illnesses or congenital defects that require repeated surgeries and hospitalizations. We got just the tiniest glimpse of what they go through. Holding the baby while the nurses try and try to get the needle in. Watching as they do necessary (but horrific) medical procedures to get him well. Keeping the older kid occupied and entertained while waiting and waiting and waiting. Trying to make decisions on fast food and not enough rest. Curling up on the hospital bed behind him, watching him sleep peacefully because although the hospital isn’t home, we are his home, and as long as we’re there, he knows it’ll be okay.

Homes and I have done a lot of bitching about how many times we’ve all been sick this year. Even now, on the tail end of Maverick’s Tummy Bug of Doom, he’s getting my cold. Z’s sick, too. It’s not fair. With illness, nothing is fair, and it totally sucks, and I’m glad we’re getting better, that this isn’t permanent, it’ll soon be a bad memory, and even though I’m sleep-deprived I can see how lucky we are.

Migraines: So Much Fun

Now that I’ve had five or so, I guess I belong to the Migraine Club. For awhile there, I worried about how much I was missing out on migraines. Great excuse to lie around in bed all day with the blinds drawn, possibly weeping on a fainting couch and moaning, “Oh woe.”

Actually, I didn’t think about migraines. At all. If someone told me they had a migraine, I’d make sympathetic noises and promptly forget about him or her (ask Homes – I’ve never been a good sympathizer with the sick).

Shortly after I turned thirty, I had this fantastic visual disturbance. It looked like a ferris wheel – but only half the ferris wheel, going around at night, with little green and red and yellow lights. And I could only see it on the left, and only with my left eye.

Intrigued, I went onto my health insurance member’s page and followed the little symptom checker until I discovered I was probably having a stroke.

So then I called them to ask if I was really having a stroke, and the advice nurse asked me all kinds of inane questions, like, “Are you breathing right now?” “Do you know your name?” (Okay not really, but when I’ve called in about a minor rash for Z, they have asked, “Is she turning blue? Has her tongue swelled to fill up her mouth?” and really? I’d be calling 911, not the advice nurse. But I guess sometimes the answer must be, “Yes, my child is blue,” otherwise why would they ask and then my hope and faith in the world just plummets. I’m a little depressed as I write this, can you tell?)

After making sure I still had a pulse, the advice nurse asked if I had a headache. I thought about it for a minute. “Yeah, a little one.”

“Oh,” she said. “You could be experiencing an ocular migraine.”

Well, that sounded fancy. And it didn’t really hurt. Thus reinforcing my belief that migraine sufferers were a bunch of whiners, on par with Frodo:

I got my eyes checked and got some rockin’ reading glasses, while Homes made jokes about me getting old & gray & needing glasses (because I’d just turned thirty, see. No, I didn’t find it funny either).

Fast forward to my latest migraine. Probably my fifth or so, but I’m not exactly keeping tally with hash marks on my fainting couch. And I couldn’t keep tally because…


I’m sure I could purple-prose us all to tears with my vivid and melodramatic description of the pain I suffered, and my martyrdom that I still sat up to breastfeed Maverick, tears splashing down my face to land on his little fuzzy head. The valiant Homes, making our bedroom as dark as possible (it can get damn dark, and it wasn’t dark enough), and darling Z, whispering on the phone to her Gran,  “Mommy has a really bad headache.” And the doting Gran, distracting Z as long as possible so I could rest.

But the truth is, lots of people get migraines. And they’re horrible. And if I could go back in time and slap 29-year-old, pre-migraine me, I totally would. Actually, I wouldn’t slap her. I’d just wish a migraine on her.

Oh my gosh. That’s totally what happened.

I brought this on myself.

The Germ Factory

There was one glorious day – Monday – when my nose wasn’t runny and itchy, and my throat wasn’t sore, and my head didn’t ache. Then came along late Monday night, and the whole cold has begun again.

On the bright side, I got tons of work done on le manuscript yesterday, so today I am totally, completely justified in doing nothing but watch the BBC’s Pride and Prejudice. This is best done over one long stretch, you know, block out five hours without interruption. But I did a few other things (no chores, don’t worry), like check email, look up recipes for vegetables in the CSA box that I’ve never even heard of before, play a round or two of solitaire (not twenty – I’m finally getting tired of it), tinker with the synopsis and pitch for le manuscript…then I came back to the television, ready to watch Mr. Darcy get rejected by Elizabeth Bennet.

Husband called and I answered the phone with, “Mr. Darcy is about to propose. Can’t talk now.” I could hear him roll his eyes.

But really, it’s like a pilgrimmage into a comforting, familiar world. When I’m sick with my second cold in two weeks, at least give me that.