My Fresh Hell
Life in Scribbletown.

Things Fall Apart

Damn. Everything kind of collapsed on Tuesday night. I blame my mother because otherwise I'd have no one to blame and I NEED to blame someone. So she's my scapegoat.

My mother came to dinner on Tuesday, as she does every week when I can't find an excuse for her not to, and not two hours later, Dusty was sick. Some kind of stomach bug. Then, my husband succumbed to it. Then, Red's cough got so bad she screamed and coughed all night long and the only way I could calm her was to hold her and walk her around. Which meant I couldn't take care of Dusty so my husband just had to suck it up and deal with her by himself. Red finally drifted off into a fitful sleep around 2:30am, waking up every hour to cough and cry, and I knew that she'd have to go back to the doctor's in the morning because the nebulizer treatment was not only NOT working, but making things worse. (She had gone in the previous week for a cough and had been diagnosed with a bronchial problem brought on by a seasonal allergy-type condition, meaning she had a runny nose and cough. Last winter, Red was diagnosed – twice – with RSV. Apparently this is to be her chronic problem. And we all need a chronic medical problem, don't we?)

The highlight of the doctor visit the next morning was when I left the following note on the window of a vehicle in the hospital parking deck: "Thanks for hogging up two spaces, SUV asshole!" Yes, I did feel better. Thanks for asking. Have you ever had to carry a 22 lb child down three flights of parking deck steps, after three hours of sleep, all the while being assaulted by the smells of garbage, cigarette smoke and construction vehicle exhaust? All because a number of gas-guzzling monstrosity owners felt the need to use two parking spaces instead of one? Because middle-class America is lazy and inconsiderate? It's Fun with a capital F. And THEN, the leaf blower asshole landscaping shitheads got going and really, it's a miracle Red and I still have our hearing and sanity still intact.

But I digress. Red and I see the doctor. She says, "Hmmm, it doesn't sound good in there," after placing the stethoscope to my screaming toddler's chest. (Now, we all know that stethoscopes do not cause pain but Red is apparently not down with even this level of personal space invastion.) "I can't really tell, because she's screaming, whether there might be pneumonia present or not. I hate to do it, but I'm going to send you down to get her a chest X-ray."

Red and I hung out in the out-patient waiting room. Waiting. She ate saltine crackers and chomped away at the banana I had in my purse, waved and smiled at strangers who admired her super adorableness. Then she screamed while the incredibly annoying technician spoke in baby-talk to her and took a few x-rays. And then the woman couldn't find some magnetic marker doohickey that she needed and flapped and fluttered around, annoying not only me but the other no-nonsense technician who was clearly up to HERE with Technician A. And Red was getting fed up. Finally, x-rays were done. Red calmed down. It was naptime. She was tired. The x-rays were examined.

And they found pneumonia. How in hell does a little runny nose and a cough turn into pneumonia? In October? When it's 75 degrees outside? Damned if I know. I suppose I now qualify for the Worst Parenting Award for 2005. Or maybe not, since I had the sense to take yet another day off from work and haul her ass to the doctor's before things got really bad. I don't know. Like I said, I blame my mother. She must have brought some Typhoid Mary-like vapor into the house.

We then go back to the doctor's office and Red is nebulized. Prescriptions are written. Next step: CVS. Red perked up at the drug store and, being my child, ran straight for the Natural Light display. She beamed at me as if to say, "We must be here for beer, right mommy?" Sadly, no. Would that it were so.

Finally, we were on our way home. I gave Red her sippy cup of water and when I looked back in the rear view mirror, I saw that she had fallen asleep gripping the cup. With the spout in her mouth. Just fell asleep mid sip. Poor Red. Makes you cry. Well, it made me cry at least. You must just be heartless if that didn't make you feel a little…..something.

We had left the house that morning at 10:30am. We arrived home at 3:00pm. Things were stable on the Dusty front. My husband was better. Red and I took a nap. Dusty had a relapse and then slept until 7pm. I went in to check on her and she was up, naked, picking out clothes to put on. She thought it was morning. We both laughed about her understandable confusion. We played in the art room awhile with a little craft kit I'd bought her at CVS – includes sequins, pom poms, feathers, glue, jewels, beads, etc. – and we made her a princess crown. Then necklaces. Then bracelets. Then it was time to medicate Red again. Then it was bedtime for Dusty. We read a couple of chapters of Charlotte's Web. Then it time for mommy to watch Ghost Hunters. (God, I love that show. And they caught a ghost on tape last night! A ghost in a cap that nodded at them!)

This weekend we plan to head out to a local farm/nursery to ride a hay wagon out to the pumpkin patch and pick pumpkins, something I've promised to do for a couple of years. This time, even if we all have to arrive on stretchers, it's going to happen. If it doesn't, I have only my mother to blame.


11:00 a.m. ::
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