Monday, November 06, 2006

Sick

No fun to write this particular post - I'm sick. Was out sick from work today after being sick all weekend and, I must say, a couple of days late last week as well. And now that I'm sick, Madison's sick too... we've entered the vicious cycle - much earlier this season than I would have liked - that all families with young children know all too well. From now until next spring, give or take a few universally healthy days here and there, at least one of the four of us will be hacking or sneezing or feverish or achy or just plain miserable at all times. At least one of us will be sick.

The Long Tail of the Internet has nothing on the Long Tail of a seasonal illness passed back and forth (and side to side) from one family member to another from roughly October/November through roughly March/April. This year's sick cycle began for our family a little more than a week ago, when Ava came down with a sudden and fairly high fever on Saturday morning. I went out to get a haircut about 9 a.m. and returned with a ball of her favorite fresh mozzarella to find Ava asleep on the couch in front of the television. Gwen and Madison were in the basement and reported that she just cuddled up and conked out. I felt her head and she was burning up... a diagnosis later confirmed by an in-ear thermometer that pegged her temperature at 102.9 degrees.

I have discussed the force of Ava's will on here several times, here's the latest example - she won't take medicine. As soon as she woke up we tried several times to get her to imbibe her prescribed 1.5-teaspoon dose of Children's Tylenol, no go. It was during this extended dialogue that she projectile vomited on Gwen (for some reason over the years, Gwen has always been the one lucky enough to be holding, speaking with or otherwise attending to our children when they have suddenly opted to throw up, urinate, soil themselves or produce some other form of unpleasant residue, a perfect record Gwen never fails to point out during its most recent manifestation.)

The vomit gave us a good excuse to put Ava into a tepid bath, and during the course of that bath we did get her to drink down some grape Triaminic - after she had rejected carefully poured and offered doses of bubble gum and cherry-flavored Children's Tylenol. We would repeat this process several hours later during a subsequent bath, when grape was rejected in favor of cherry, but I digress. At one point we tried a packet of those Tylenol "flavor crystals" in an attempt to sell the grape, but as far as I can tell giving a feverish and congested child who is having trouble breathing in the first place a cup of medicine with sugary powder floating on top is more choking hazard than cure.

In any event, Ava woke up Sunday and was feeling fine, after a difficult 24 hours that represented the christening of this year's "sick" season here in our little home in Anytown, USA. We had a few clear days and then I developed a terrible sore throat on Wednesday that took a little break on Thursday, was back Friday and has gotten progressively worse and more complicated ever since. Gwen thinks this may have something to do with the flu shot I got at work a couple of weeks ago in an attempt to do my part not to run our family health ship aground on the rocks this year, I'm not sure.

I called my doctor's office this morning and asked for a walk-in appointment. They told me I could come in at 3 p.m. and be seen by the first available doctor, which I did. So after putting on street clothes (no small accomplishment), hauling my a-- out of the house, driving to the office and sitting in the waiting room for a half hour listening to dialogue that would have been worthy of a Seinfeld episode - elderly woman next to me muttering about the length of the wait with every breath, older couple across the room discussing options on the new Mercedes they were considering, "We're not spending $2,500 for another in-car navigation system, you never use it," and the office unexpectedly running out of flu shots the moment the Jacobson's arrived, "They said we could come over anytime this afternoon!" - I got in to see a doctor (not mine) who told me that my condition was common, was viral, as opposed to bacterial, and would have to "run its course," over the next few days. End result: no meds.

Being sick over this last weekend was a particular bummer, because we had planned to have a big family dinner Saturday night with my sisters, their kids, my grandmother and parents, and the whole thing wound up being cancelled due to my condition and inability to make sauce without exposing an even broader array of relatives to this unpleasant condition. Those who had the option of staying away were the lucky ones... Madison was not in this group, and when she came trudging into our bedroom Sunday morning with a raspy voice and hacking her lungs out I knew we had truly entered the seasonal cycle for good.

She was home today, too. So far Gwen and Ava are clear and we hope that remains the case but based on past experiences it won't. Right around the time I'm feeling better and Madison is back at school this will kick in for one or both of them, and so it goes, this thing of ours.

[At least until next spring.]

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