Please Tell Me They Deliver Margaritas

Who? Who, who, who?? WHO are these… these… these PARENTS who take their sick kids out in public so that my kids lick, inhale, absorb and catch EVERY SINGLE VIRUS ON THE ENTIRE PLANET??!!

(Deep breath.)

That’s right… I was back at Seattle Children’s Hospital tonight (for those keeping track, that’s twice in ten days; quite the average*), this time because the 21mo had a rash around his mouth and behind his legs that was spreading, oozing, and getting worse as the day went on.

Okay. The story starts a couple of days ago. The 9yo and 5yo were home from school for parent-teacher conferences**. The rain was coming down in a steady downpour that didn’t let up for two days. And the toddler came down with a fever. Yes… this is what I call a PERFECT STORM.

After two days of the kids literally bouncing off the walls and furniture (Me: Liam, you’re hurting the furniture! If you bounce on the couch once more you’ll have to sit on the floor for the rest of the day! Liam [momentarily standing still, staring at me in awe]: The couch has feelings?? Me [Eyes rolling like a 14yo teenaged girl]: I. Give. Up.), I – I mean we – were SO looking forward to this morning’s Opening Day Jamboree for the 5yo’s T-Ball season: hours and hours of fun outdoor time just perfect for burning off some wickedly crazy amounts of excess energy. I’m pretty sure the only reason I didn’t give in and buy an indoor trampoline (other than the fact that I have no idea if such a thing exists, that I have no room for such an apparatus, and that I know it’d just lead to more hospital visits) is the belief that I could last – I could! – until the Jamboree.

Which was cancelled because of rain an hour before it should have started.

In desperation, and in fear that I was about to stick the fork left on the table by my 9yo (who was apparently on a hunger strike, so at least it was a clean fork) into MY TEMPLE, my husband suggested taking the kids to the zoo. In the rain. Hey, why not?? But first, he asked, had I noticed that Broder’s rash seemed to be spreading?

“I’ll call the doctor’s office,” I said. It was 12:30pm on a Saturday. Guess when the doctor’s office closes?? That’s right. Noon.

So I left a message for the nurse hotline to call me back.

An hour and a half later (that’s honestly how long it took to wrestle our three kids into their socks, rain boots and coats), just as we pulled up to the zoo, my phone rang… Right?! I described the symptoms to the nurse as we crossed the street and headed toward the main gate… The kids were running full speed ahead, on a mission to see the fruit bats (for some reason, these are the critters they are obsessed with as of late)… And instead of handing over our membership card for inspection, we turned everyone around and headed back to the car. The nurse thought I should take Broder in to the Urgent Care at Seattle Children’s Hospital to make sure it wasn’t chickenpox. Chickenpox?!

So, how many of you guessed that the kids started crying? Mm-hmm. Well, you’re only partially right: the 5yo was beside himself; he had his heart set on seeing those fruit bats. The 9yo, however, was quite content stomping her foot on the ground and insisting (yet again) that she’d be going to the hospital with me: “that’s my baby brother!” How do you argue with that??

Having some experience with how slow the hospital can be (just a teensy-weensy, itty-bitty, little bit of experience), I returned first to the house to pack a bag full of snacks, water bottles, and books to read. And off we went, again on the 30 minute drive to Children’s. They SO have to open up a branch closer to my home…

And Broder promptly fell asleep (he’d been so fussy that he never had settled down for his usual 3 hour morning nap). Poor kid!

Broder on the way to Urgent Care

Broder (21mo), totally crashed out on the way to Urgent Care.

But of course, he was pretty cranky about being woken up to be poked and prodded by nurses…

THAT was fun.

Turns out, he does NOT have chickenpox. Yay! He has Hand, Foot and Mouth disease. Say what?? Yeah, apparently it’s a very common viral infection. It lasts 7-10 days. There’s no treatment. And Broder’s fussy because he has a rash IN HIS MOUTH, too. That can apparently be quite uncomfortable. YOU THINK??

There’s NO TREATMENT.

Ugh!! We headed back to the car… Paisley was quite upset because she “didn’t learn anything new” (she thinks she might want to be a doctor when she grows up, and was expecting to see something as cool as the “hair stitches” Liam got last week at Children’s), and Broder was hungry. It was past our usual dinner time. As I drove us home, I was SO VERY TEMPTED to pull into the parking lot of a Mexican place to order us all up some well-deserved nachos. And, duh, a margarita for me.

I turned around to tell the kids the plan. Just as I was about to say “Nachos” (though only thinking “Margarita”), I looked at – I SAW – Broder’s cute little face.

Covered with spots. Contagious spots.

And realized that he’d be sitting in a highchair. Where another child would sit after him.

And I’d be one of THOSE parents.

All sorts of swear words passed through my mind…

HUGE SIGH. Fine. Fine, fine, fine! I turned right and headed home.

Someone really really REALLY needs to create a margarita delivery truck. I’m just sayin’…

 

* Yep, just last week we were in the ER because my 5yo split his head open. It was a blast! If you like blood and gore, you can read the whole story: Not What it’s All Cracked Up to Be (Or, I’ll Take My Eggs Scrambled, with a Side of Stitches).

** The parent-teacher conferences had me craving a margarita, too: Of War Hawks & Love Doves.

Not What it’s All Cracked Up to Be (Or, I’ll Take My Eggs Scrambled, with a Side of Stitches)

Liam (5yo), in good spirits, waiting for the doctors to stitch him up.

Liam (5yo), in good spirits, waiting for the doctors to stitch him up.

My week started out sunny-side up… I got the kids to school on time. They were in clean clothes. I put together the week’s meal plan and the attendant grocery list for that morning’s visit to the store. I even drank my coffee and ate my toast at home, rather than rushed in the car, for the first time since Daylight Savings Time scrambled up my morning schedule.

I was feeling good! That was probably my first mistake…

Yeah, so… I returned from the grocery store with the week’s worth of groceries; that’s a lot of bags, right? So, I decided to bring the 20mo inside with the first load, rather than leave him strapped in his car seat while I finished moving the rest of the bags inside…

BAD IDEA. BAD.

When I returned with the second round of groceries (I swear, it only took 30 seconds!!!), I found the little monster already on top of the kitchen table (of course!), having a very merry time SMASHING an ENTIRE CARTON’S WORTH OF EGGS, one by one, onto the floor (six eggs). Or the table (four eggs). Or in the other grocery bags (two eggs). Organic eggs. Not one egg survived.

Broder (20mo), helping unload groceries.

Broder (20mo), helping unload groceries. You can't see them in this picture, but there are six cracked eggs on the floor. And the four on the table? They're cracked, too. As are the two eggs he split between the two bags.

The best part? When he saw me come back in, he started to put the broken eggs back into the egg carton (!!). Honestly, I couldn’t tell if he was being cunning (“She’ll never notice the mess if I’m fast enough!”) or helpful (“Mama’s back; I guess it’s time to put the toys away!”).

Well, I suppose it could’ve been worse, I reminded myself; I could’ve brought the wine bottles in first…

Thinking that just might be the low-point of the week (bahahaha!), Tuesday arrived, and I figured, “Hey! It’s early enough in the week to start afresh.” I did the dishes, cleaned the house… Okay, so the baby refused to take a nap – no big deal. I used the extra time to run an errand. Picked the kids up on time; had their favorite snack ready. Headed home to start preparing dinner, and our dear family friend, Jeanette, came over to visit.

The kids LOVE Jeanette. And, of course, so do I! Having her over for dinner was like icing on the cake – or if you will, (keeping with the egg-theme), like caramel on the flan…

Literally bouncing up and down in excitement (honestly, I could’ve named all my children Tigger, and it would’ve been totally appropriate for each one), the kids quickly hustled Jeanette to the play room for fun and games while I returned to the kitchen to save the onions from burning in the pan. Just as I finished putting the veggies in for the stew that would eventually become dinner (but not for several more hours, mind you, but I’m getting to that…), I heard a loud CRASH coming from the playroom, quickly followed by a scream – no, a WAIL – of pain. The kind of scream you know is FOR REAL. This was no “I’m so insanely angry you took my toy that I haven’t played with in six months, I’m going to scream like a banshee since I have no idea what words to use that would make you properly suffer for this outrage, you dirty cur!” kind of scream. This was the kind of scream that made me sprint down the hall…

To find my 5yo son howling from his spot on the floor, the back of his shirt absolutely COVERED in BLOOD. Kicking toy garbage trucks and balls aside to get to him, I brushed his small little hand away – the one that was tentatively trying to feel the extent of damage – and put my own hand to the gnarly 3-4” GASH on the back of his head. As I started to apply pressure to the cut, I literally felt SPURTS of hot blood against my palm, matching his little heartbeat.

At which point I FREAKED OUT. As calmly as I could, of course.

Picking him up, I frantically rushed to the linen closet to grab a towel to cradle my (in my mind: tiny, little, helpless) son’s head, all the while watching in horror as drops of blood splattered the floor as I looked for the “fucking telephone to call 911” (yes, I’m sorry to admit, I dropped the f-bomb in front of all three kids and my guest; I’m hoping they either didn’t hear me or will forgive my deplorable lack of manners – I usually reserve my sailor-mouthed ways for the minute right after tucking all kids safely into bed), and thought of every grisly scene of every scary movie I’ve ever seen where a severed artery spews blood across walls and the faces of innocent bystanders, the life force of the victim quickly ebbing away in an Oscar-worthy death scene (and, why yes, I am indeed thinking specifically of the over-the-top bloodshed of King Arthur hacking off the limbs of the very resilient Black Knight in “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” – that’s just where my brain goes, okay?!).

Within minutes the fire truck was in front of the house (so fast!), and four (very nice) EMTs came to my rescue. Turns out the bleeding had stopped, and all my melodramatic, hyper-imaginative fears of imminent death were for naught. They did, however, agree that the cut was bad enough that I didn’t overreact by calling 911, and recommended an ambulance ride to Seattle Children’s Hospital.

Seeing the look of panic in my son’s eyes (he doesn’t remember his first ambulance ride, when he was only 10mo – a story for a future blog post – so didn’t realize that it’s not such a scary proposition), I asked if I could drive him to the ER instead. They thought that was fine, and outfitted him with a gauze pad held to his head with a white wrap, reminiscent of every movie-set soldier in every movie-set hospital I’ve ever seen (perhaps I should watch fewer movies??).

Liam, looking like he just returned home from 'Nam.

Liam, looking like he just returned home with a head wound from 'Nam. I stopped using black and white for awhile after this!

Carrying Liam to the door, feeling very grateful that Jeanette would stay with the 9yo and the baby (can you imagine trying to keep a toddler out of trouble in an ER?!) until my husband got home from work, I was surprised that Paisley had other plans: she was coming with us. Ignoring my protests, she stomped her foot (really – she did!), declaring, “I’m going to take care of my little brother and you can’t stop me!” Well, how do you argue with that?

It took 30 minutes to get to the hospital in 5 o’clock traffic. Several times, waiting through a stop light for the third time, and listening to my wounded child bellow in pain, I thought that I should’ve insisted on that ambulance ride. But then Paisley came to the rescue, starting to tell Liam every factoid about “Star Wars: The Clone Wars” she could remember learning from the playground. As Bill and I adamantly refuse to let the kids watch anything other than the original three “Star Wars” movies (on the grounds that the “new” three are complete rubbish), Liam was completely mesmerized, and we made it to the ER with no need to call 911 on the way. Paisley is the BEST big sister, EVER.

Her performance was well compensated, however… While waiting for the numbing ointment the doctors put on Liam’s cut to work, the nurses gave the kids goldfish crackers and apple juice (their favorites) and turned on a cartoon that used the words “stupid,” “dumb,” or “idiot” in every other sentence – the kind of cartoon I’d never, never ever, let them watch at home. They were SO content.

Paisley (9yo) & Liam watching cartoons.

Liam and his Best Big Sis (waiting for the numbing gel to kick in) totally fixated by a cartoon that I'd never, not ever, let them watch at home!

Well, at least Liam was, up until the “stitching” started. Or rather, the “hair twisting” started… Turns out that, instead of stitches or staples, the doctors twisted little bits of hair on each side of the cut to create a sort of string (kind of like working with wool, the doctor described), then twist the two strands together a few times, laying the ends against the head and gluing everything down into what I call a “Hair Band-Aid.” I’m not sure Liam thought it was as cool as I did, but he was a trooper, watching snippets of forbidden cartoons through the doctor’s arm, only crying at the very end that he “wanted to go home!”

The good doctors using Liam's own hair to tie together the gash.

The good doctors using Liam's own hair to tie together the gash. The glue they use will dissolve in 5-8 days, and his hair will be fine.

After three hours (I know, right??), we finally did make it home. Where I immediately poured myself a glass of wine (my theory is that I deserve at least one glass of wine per hour spent in the emergency room) and went to the playroom to see what on EARTH was in there that could actually slice open one of my children’s heads?? The kids joined me and animatedly acted out the disaster. Seems that Liam was sitting on something that wasn’t a chair (the little piece of wood that locks down in order to keep the art easel open, if that makes any sense), and tumbled backward into the Fisher-Price Little People Farm that resides under the art easel. I still have no idea what sharp something-or-other he caught on his way down, but basically…?

Yeah, basically it turns out my son pulled a Humpty-Dumpty.

Fortunately, the good doctors at Children’s managed to put his sweet, little egghead back together again (which is more than I can say for the dozen eggs that Broder humpty-dumpty’ed on the dining room floor).

Liam, put back together and ready to go home!

Liam, put back together and ready to go home!

So, though the first two days of the week weren’t all they were cracked up to be, today is looking up: the sun is actually shining, the baby took a nap, I got the blood out of Liam’s shirt (and though I haven’t started on the playroom rug or my jeans, I’m optimistic), and just to prove there’s no egg on my face…

I actually found another carton of eggs in the refrigerator. Know what that means? I’m serving FRITTATA for dinner tonight, baby! And it’s gonna be DELICIOUS.