Timing is everything. And my kids have lousy timing. When Christian was six weeks old, he had seizures. To this day, I blame the cats because my husband was out buying cat food for them when they started.
Rushing to the hospital with a now-sleeping infant, I looked sufficiently scary that the truly sick and injured people in front of me parted like the Red Sea and let my son get treated first. I still have no idea who parked my car when I pulled up to the ER doors. I do know that the hospital did not have valet service.
Since a stomach virus struck him for 5 hours last month, he has been occasionally whining that his "tummy hurts". These dramatic outbursts are short and sporadic. There is no reason or logic to them. He recovers within 30 seconds and continues to run amok though the house demanding food. Having absolutely no medical experience or training, we chalked it up to boredom or feeble attempts at pity and/or attention. We prescribed trips to the bathroom, water and rest. All were ignored or heeded grudgingly. Life continued on and everyone lived.
This morning he awoke at 5:30 a.m. crying about stomach pain. I had him use the bathroom and return to bed. Two hours later, he woke up again with claims of pain. He ate a waffle then proceeded to curl up on the couch. Very strange behavior for a 4-year-old boy who thinks he is a super hero who needs to save the planet daily.
Off to the doctor we go. He is examined every which way and declared healthy. He acted fine. His mood was better. His energy has returned somewhat. He scammed 2 lollipops and a couple stickers on the way out of the office. He was a little sleepy on the ride home.
When we get home, he doesn't want to get out of the car. I carry him into the house and he flops down crying that his tummy hurts and he cannot take off his shoes. Now I'm thinking it's male PMS and he is just being moody. Then he announced that he is ready for his nap at 10:30 in the morning. Very, very strange but I oblige and follow him up the stairs. He doesn't want to read stories or sing songs. He just wants to sleep. Now I'm wondering if he is just tired from our weekend trip to the beach or suffering from malaria.
He sleeps for a couple of hours and wakes up with a fever. He was just checked and had no fever!! How does it come on that fast?! He couldn't have had even just a mild one so the pediatrician doesn't think that I have Munchhausen-By-Proxy syndrome?! And maybe get treated for whatever bizarre ailment is afflicting him? I give him some medicine and he improves slowly over the afternoon. Well enough, in fact, to fight with his sister and chase her around the house.
I am so intent on working on having them learn to resolve their own fights, I forget to give him more medicine. My husband arrives home from work and we have family dinner. All is well and harmonious. Out of the blue, again, his fever is back like a pesky neighbor selling Amway. I mean, this hit him like a Mack truck. Now I feel like the worst mother on the planet. His fever is dangerously high and I am ready to have him Med Flighted to the Mayo Clinic. My husband and I comprise and call the pediatrician.
I HATE bothering doctors at night and on weekends. Maybe it's the catholic school girl in me and I'm afraid they will channel their inner-nun and scream at me for bothering them. Routine call with no judgements about actually paying attention to a feverish child. No diarrhea or vomiting, we assure the doctor. We give him the recommend medicine. He promptly throws it up.
Now I get to call the doctor back 3 minutes after the first call. "Hi, it's the idiot mom who got so easily distracted with her kids and their fighting that I forgot to give him medicine. Well, remember how I said there was no vomiting? Funny story- he just puked all over himself, us and the carpet. How's that for great timing? You didn't really want to spend time with your loved ones tonight, did you? You really wanted to spend the night answering my calls every 3-5 minutes. I'm like labor pains but you don't get a cute baby at the end. You just get more phone calls about my puking child".
See what I mean about timing? Lousy. Add to it that I am supposed to drive Sara to sleep away camp tomorrow. Do I leave Christian home with a sitter and hope for the best? Do I make Sara miss her first overnight camp experience because her brother is sick? Or do I drag a sick kid back and forth in the car? Paul is swamped at work and cannot take off or work from home.
Great timing for a sick kid and an older sister who has been packed for sleep away camp for a month. I am never someone who would be described as calm, cool and collected.
When my kids are sick, all semblance of maturity, firm grasp on reality and grace under pressure fly out the window. I immediately conjure up every possible worst-case scenario and spend all night running them through my head. I spend all night listening to the monitor and waiting for a child's cry. Is there ever a good time to have a sick child?
To read more from Barb, visit My Crazy Life - Live, Laugh, Love