Notes from Mother’s Journal: Thank Goodness for Television Edition

I have learned two important things in the past week, a week which has been spent alternating between reminiscing fondly about last Tuesday, the best day of my life*, and sinking knee-deep into despair because a day that good will never come again, surely, to someone as knee-deep in despair as me.

*no, not my whole life.

What? Melodramatic? Nonsense.

Last Tuesday was a wonderful day. It was sunny, and I went for a run while the kids were in school. It was even more run and less trudge. I paced myself and I felt strong and I thought about writing and pacing and made several satisfying connections in my head between knowing how to tell a story in an engaging way, and knowing how to run for distance without giving myself a heart attack.

Then on Wednesday, all hell broke loose. Trombone got sick, at first with what seemed like the beginning of a cold or flu — fever and sore throat — but then, no other symptoms forthcoming, and the sore throat continuing, I had to take him to a clinic where he was diagnosed with strep throat and given Penicillin, and then the next day woke up with spots on his hands, which were not, as it turned out, signs of Penicillin allergy, (whew!) or chicken pox,(double whew!) or bedbugs,(holy shit, whew!) but of Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease, which is a virus that is very common in children, lasts a week, and causes very painful blisters in the mouth and throat.

(Symptoms: fever and sore throat and spots on the hands and feet. Children can become dehydrated because they don’t drink enough because it hurts too much. Appetite is lessened. Very contagious. Adults can shed the virus without knowing they have it.* Fucking awesome! Best virus ever!)

* But, thankfully, without becoming symptomatic, because what I don’t need right now? Is any stinkin’ throat blisters.

On Sunday, Fresco got himself a fever too and then promptly fell ill.

“B-b-but can we g-g-g-go trick or t-t-t-treating?” he asked, clutching at his throat.
“Of COURSE we can,” we said brightly, intending to drug them and put them to sleep until next Halloween.

We did go trick or treating. The fevers were gone, they were costumed and masked and gloved. Fresco went as Superdog and Trombone was Spiderman, with a full face mask to protect the world from his many, many germs. We went around the block and came home, just like any other Halloween.

Except that Skittles hurt your throat. FYI. But chocolate is fine.

Where Trombone has taken his illness in stride, resting a lot, taking his medicine, doing lots of colouring, occasionally crying when it really hurts, Fresco has really taken to the whole idea of The Victim.

As our resident dramatist, he has been more than informative about what part of his throat hurts the most (I kid you not: the Throat Intestines); how long and dumb this dumb TV show is that he is being forced to watch; how he hates his cold HATES IT with the HEAT of A THOUSAND SUNS; and most galling of all, how he refuses to take any pain killers because he “wants his cold to go away on its own.”

He is three and a half. Too young, in my mind, to be as stoic as a certain grandfather, whom Fresco also resembles physically, I’m not naming names, who also refuses to take painkillers unless he has a broken arm. For example.

Just drink the goddamn ibuprofen, kid. JUST DRINK IT.

Besides the Woe Is Me, hand-to-forehead, bring-me-my-smelling-salts act, which is not an act, I know, it’s real, it’s just so over the top, Fresco has also picked up the habit of anxiety barfing. I haven’t had time to google it and see if it’s a thing and I kind of don’t want to know, but he gets himself so worked up about whatever — sore throat, lost sock, apple juice too cold — that he can’t calm down until he pukes. And sometimes not even then, because then he’s upset about puking.

Now that his sore throat has really kicked in, he has taken to clutching his throat at seemingly random intervals and shouting — SHOUTING — “MY THROAT. MY THROOOAAAAAAT.” All appeals to his logical side, I know, what logical side, but Trombone had one, have failed.

“The medicine will help,” I say.
“NOOOOOOOOOOOOO MEDIIIICCCCINE!” he shouts.
“Stop shouting, that will help too,” I say.
“My THRO –”
“Dude. Don’t barf. Please don’t barf.”

Clutch. Scream. Repeat.

I know, people sneak medicine into their kids’ food all the time, but I never had to before. I have this crazy hope that he’ll come to his senses.

So, the two things I have learned, you are asking. Because I mentioned them and then went on to complain about things unrelated?

1. One good day can live in your heart and give you hope for a very long time, through a lot of bad days.
2. Fresco’s School of Drama is going to make a mint. A MINT. And then I will be greatly rewarded.

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10 Responses to Notes from Mother’s Journal: Thank Goodness for Television Edition

  1. Perpetual Breadcrumbs says:

    As I said on the twitter, that is just god awful. Throat blisters? Dear god.

    But! As a former anxiety barfer (oh yes, for two straight years, almost), once it passes–and it will–the kid will go on to be an almost-never-barfer. After the Dark Time, I threw up once every three years, from 1st until 9th grade, and then that was that (until my gallbladder almost killed me, but boys rarely have that problem anyway). Oh, and I only threw up once when I was pregnant. Again, not important with boys, but do you SEE the power?

  2. HarrietGlynn says:

    Wow he’s TOUGH. I think I might have a small crush on your son. My husband had HF&MD and said it was like swallowing shards of glass and he’s a veteran Strep Throat victim. He was also misdiagnosed and had to throw out the antibiotics as there’s nothing you can do for a virus really. Weirdly neither Theo nor I got it. Jazuz!

  3. Jen says:

    I apparently used to anxiety barf at Christmas. I would get totally wound up on Christmas eve because SANTA! and Mom said she would feed me a million oranges and chocolate to get me to just barf and be done with it so we could all go to sleep.

  4. cheesefairy says:

    On further reflection I think it’s not that Fresco’s that much tougher…but that he had a much milder version of the virus. Probably because he eats as much fruit as your average person-trapped-on-a-desert-island. It’s my own little immunity experiment, right here at home!!

  5. Val says:

    Saint Aardvark’s younger sibling used to be a barfer also, from about age 5 to 8 and then never again until late teens, but that was alcohol related. As a youngster though it never bothered him and it used to happen most at night, and he would mostly sleep through it. SA used to say that he saw him sitting up, barfing from top bunk onto floor, and then collapse back to sleep. Never did diagnose cause but he appeared to grow out of it.

  6. EarnestGirl says:

    We did Hand Foot and Mouth too. Though I thought it was called Hoof and Mouth, farm girl that I am and I was appalled when my not-yet toddler was diagnosed. Probable culprit? The instruments at the community center Baby Music class. I read all of Anne Marie MacDonald’s Fall On Your Knees (which is what we all rather wanted to do} while my little afflicted babe slept fitfully in my arms. They worry us so. It is part of the deal. Their immunities build up. So does our capacity to worry & endure.

  7. Oh mah gah, throat blisters and barf. Please tell me there is a lot of wine waiting as your reward for surviving this one.

  8. allison says:

    Angus had Hand Foot and Mouth. Thankfully, I was in Morocco at the time. I also gained genius points by diagnosing my nephew over the phone. Neither of them had the mouth blisters badly. Until Eve was 3 or 4 she would always declare “I’m not going to the doctor, I”m NOT SICK!” Then she realized the many perks of invalidism. Angus is an anxiety barfer. Eve is a fever barfer. Sometimes there’s just not enough bleach in the world.

  9. I have one kid that will drink anything I label as medicine. Even Oil of Oregano. This scares me. I have a different kid that throws herself on the ground SCREAMING if you even look at a bottle of Green Apple flavoured Tylenol. I used to hate the anti-medicine thing, but on reflection I think I prefer it. Seems safer in the long run.

    Glad you made it out the other side. We need to get together again now that The Sickness is lesser in each of our houses.