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??!!
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!
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.