My 8-year old son hasn’t been to school since the nurse sent him home on Monday morning. He’s hardly eaten a thing and looks noticeably thinner, but today, he perked up a bit. He laughed at cartoons and played his Nintendo DS and ate a little. I thought tomorrow he’d go back to school.
My 3-year old suddenly grew whiny this evening. She was playing Candyland with her daddy when she complained that her legs hurt. She quit the game and had her evening bath. When she came out of the bath, she was shivering and crying. My husband kept saying, “I think she’s sick,” and I didn’t want to believe it, but by 7:00 p.m., she wanted to go to bed. She cried and said she was cold. She felt warm. I covered her up and turned off her light.
At 8:00 p.m., my son finished his bath and from our room, we heard him crying. I rushed to him and found him shivering. “I’m so cold!” he cried. I dried him off and dressed him in pajamas while he asked to go to the hospital. He described feeling weird and cold and pain in his muscles. I brought him medicine and covered him in four blankets. He looked up at me, his green eyes shining with tears and said, “Mom, if it gets any worse than this, I want an ambulance.”
At 9:00 p.m., screams startled me. I hurried upstairs to find my daughter shrieking and burning hot. She’d had a bad dream (the t.v. was going up and down in her dream, how horrific!). I attempted to coerce her into swallowing one teaspoon of ibuprofen, which she promptly dribbled out of her wide-open-screaming mouth. At which point, I, Miss Florence Nightingale, hollered and scolded while she shook and cried.
Then I washed us off and carried her downstairs, where we tried again. This time, she cooperated, even though her hand trembled and tears ran down her face. We rocked for a while and then she told me she was tired and so I took her back to her room, where we rocked again. Then, to bed.
I have now been sitting anxiously, wondering if I hear a child crying somewhere. I telephoned the mother of the baby I watch to let her know we seem to have the flu. They’ve already been exposed, all three of the kids I watch, so I’m not sure what to do now but carry on.
Arrrrrgh! That’s my hearty pirate yell, which I reserve for situations such as this which leave me with nothing to do but yell. My grandmother’s 100th birthday is Friday. We’re supposed to attend a huge family dinner (a reunion, really)in her honor that night. Clearly, we can’t go if we are contagious with the flu, because it simply wouldn’t do to have anyone ask: “And what did you give your grandmother upon the occasion of her one hundredth birthday?” because then, I’d have to say, “The flu,” and how rude would that be?