Cloudy in the sick house

Sunday, 09/29, 2 pm

I feel all cloudy.

I wanted to write so I pulled out my machine. It reminds me that I’d like a new machine. The battery drains too fast on this one. I bought a new battery last year, but it drains just as fast, so now I’d like a new machine. I’m pretty sure I’m in a perpetual state of wanting a new machine. New machines are as shiny and ripe as the produce aisle in the grocery story. All that vibrance, bright with potentiality.

When we walk down the street, C is as seduced by every colorful bobble hanging outside every colorful store as I am by the produce aisle and the shiny new machine shop. Walking by, he points, and says “I want that!” I look to see what he’s pointing at, but most usually it’s just a colorful mop bucket, or Halloween decorations, or a tool display.

I say “no,” and he says “why?” I tell him “because that’s a mop bucket,” or “because you have plenty of toys,” or “because we’re not getting anything today.” And he’s 3, so he says “why,” which is less of a question and more of a thing to say, a thing to keep the conversation going. We chatter along as we walk.

C is sleeping. Been a few rough days of him not feeling too well. Yesterday I spoiled him a little, and we bought some new cars, crayons, and a coloring book. It’s a funny thing, buying little random toys. Inside the package, C sees something wonderful, I see another thing to try not to step on. It’s strange to spend money on things that lose value the moment you buy them: like toys, and new machines. Produce is at least edible.

He’s been pretty sick, with a big cough, and even a trip to the ER Friday night. We took an ambulance, and I don’t remember hearing the sirens. Everything seemed deadly quiet save for C’s rasping breath. Infrastructure is amazing, when it all works right. Friday it worked exactly right for us. Ambulance was here in 10 minutes, at the outside. Paramedics were kind, calm, and well-able to treat C immediately. They took all of our information in the ambulance, and passed it on to the hospital staff when we arrived. The ER staff started treatment right away, explaining in detail what they were doing each step of the way, making sure I understood and consented to the treatment as they were going. They left room for me to tell them what treatments we’d done at home, ask questions, explain C’s medical history with respiration, while being kind to him, and asking him how he was doing. Once we were in the clear, but still under observation, Dave headed home so he wouldn’t be dead for work on Saturday. C and I were there for 5 or so hours, and when we were ready to go home, there was a patient services person who called a car, and gave us a voucher to pay for it. It worked just like it was supposed to, soft infrastructure at its best: a big, wide, safety-net, protecting us from the brutality of life.
I’m super tired, not sure when C will wake up. He’s been sleeping since dawn, but I was unable to stay sleeping. I’m not sure how much time I have to drink my tea and write up cloudy thoughts.

When a child is sleeping during the day, it’s like a temporal no man’s land. Is there time to start a new project? Finish an old one? Clean the bathroom? Make lunch? Yoga? Shower? Drink tea? All of these things? None?

I can’t tell. So I’m watching Angel on Hulu. And drinking tea. And writing to you, so that I may feel connected to the world outside my apartment.

****

Monday, 09/30, 4:05 am

The child is making me crazy. He’s been up since 3 am hacking his brains out and refuses to drink water. Or ice cubes. Or juice, or popsicles.

Me
You need to drink this.

C
Why?

Me
You need it to fight the cough.

C
Why?

Me
Because you’re not feeling great, and this cough is zapping your super hero strength, and water replenishes super heroes.

C
No it doesn’t.

Me
Yes, it really does. Water is good for bodies.

C
Why?

Me
Because your body is made up of mostly water.

C
No it isn’t.

Me
It really is, and when you’re sick, you lose all that water, and you need it!

C
No!

Hack, hack, hack.

Having a child who’s too much like yourself is a frustrating thing. Because you know you made it this far, perhaps only by the skin of your teeth, and you know how frustrating it was to be you, and how much easier it could have been if, perchance, you were slightly less like you than you are.

****

Monday, 09/30, 9:11 am

No school for C equals no work for me. It’s not really a problem for me to take a sick day, I work for very nice people, but the fact remains that the work needs to get done. I had alot planned for the five hours I would have been at work today. Last week I sketched out a whole plan of attack in my notes, which I left at work.

I’d been planning a pretty writing heavy weekend before the little man got super sick. Friday night, I was just sitting down at my desk with a cup of tea and a few fresh ideas, before we had to rush off to the hospital. I felt really selfish when I complained to Dave about how I’m losing writing time recently. I thought I’d have more time, with C in school, but instead what happens is that I drop C off to school, rush to work, work real fast, rush to school for pick up, play for the afternoon, figure out with Dave, via text, what we should do for dinner, see who feels like cooking, if we should get take-out. We try to all eat together on school nights, then bath, and bedtime. Clean up. Then sit down to write. I was telling Dave how that’s not what I imagined at all. I’d pictured a beautiful quiet desk in the middle of a vast field of daisies, pure sunlight falling at the exact right angle to not disrupt my screen brightness, and ideas flowing like red wine at the Wedding of Cana. Or at least a quiet nook at the library around the corner from C’s school.

“This week is crazy,” Dave said, “but let’s next week make a full writing day a priority.” Sounds good to me. Here’s to things going as planned.

It’s a big juggle. And I’m not even trying to have it all. Those people must be fucking exhausted.

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Nebulizer.

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Painted mermaid ceiling tile in the tricked out pediatric ER. photo credit: C

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Feeling better, heading home.

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Sleep.

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