Wednesday, January 23, 2008

What Do You Think This Is? An Infirmary?

I hinted last Wednesday that humpday blog content would forever be dedicated to food and eating. Who knew the flu would hit our house like a nuclear bomb and put a halt to everything? Short of reading the directions on a Royal gelatin box, not a lot of cooking has taken place. Add to that the continuing burden of my "nutritional plan," and there's really not much to say these days, except "just how big is a 3-oz. piece of fish?" and "hey, who measures out 12 green beans?"

When a child is sick, maternal instincts kick into overdrive, we clean, we make soup, we take temperatures, we administer medication. This should be a mom's finest hour. But it's not. I'm tired, stressed and suffering a slight case of cabin fever. You hear about remote places that sit under 10 feet of snow every winter, and after so many days, the local child abuse hotline runs a crawler across the TV screen. This makes sense to me. While I certainly wouldn't hurt my children, particularly when they're sick, I have had thoughts of leaving unannounced, just for a few hours.

In recent days, I've kept a mental diary of A Flu Patient's Caregiver, which I will share with you here:

Day 1 (Monday): No school; MLK Day; celebrate by going to Quizno's, just as MLK would have wanted us to; certain 12-year-old doesn't look too good, maybe even a little gray; headache worsens as the day goes on; I blame it on watching too much TV; by bedtime, his eyes look suspiciously sunken in, sort of like the zombies in I Am Legend.

Somewhere Between Day 1 and Day 2, around 3 a.m.: Oh, the whining! Make it stop!

Day 2 (Tuesday): "Are you SURE you can't make it to school? Just try; maybe you'll be OK once you get there," his dad assures him; I take the child's temperature, which is remarkably high and may explain his bizarre facial color; he sleeps with his mouth open for most of the morning; wakes up and watches the VHS version of A Bug's Life and drinks from a C3PO mug he has had since he was 4; I won't let him lie in my bed, for fear of sharing his nasty germs; he is lying on my bedroom floor in front of my TV; I turn him every 3 hours to prevent bedsores; midday debate between parents via telephone that ended with "Hey, maybe we should go see a doctor;" broke into his locker and gathered all of his books; concerned about the newspaper article taped to the back wall of his locker, something about the Retirement Systems of Alabama; saw the doctor; ranked as his first official flu diagnosis of the winter; I think we're in the running for a plaque in the waiting room; paid a $50 copay for Tamiflu, which provides an outside chance of shortening the duration; seems kind of a pricey way to test it out; patient reads "Jolly Jokes for Older Folks" at Publix while waiting for prescription; not sure what to think of this; could be the high fever. (Favorite joke from this book: the short fortune teller who escaped from prison was a small medium at large.)

Day 3 (Wednesday): Oh, when will this end! Have moved patient from a supine position to almost upright; graduated from yesterday's entertainment and refreshments to Mythbusters and G2; slight concern over the mounting homework; bigger concern that man cannot live on Jell-O alone; am considering doing his homework for him; decided against it, as I'm not up for The Screwtape Letters; thought we were witnessing some improvements until he leaned over to pick up something and the room started spinning; tried to tell him that's a sign that the medicine is working; he's not buying.

Tomorrow: Day 4. Oh, my. Day 4. This is beginning to feel like the Iranian hostage crisis during the Carter administration. I will make time to walk to my deck wearing a blindfold and wave at the crowds to assure everyone I'm still OK.