I’m eating chia pudding and sitting home with a sick kid. He doesn’t feel sick, but he sure looks sick. He’s got little bumps all over. It’s coxsackies, and it’s pretty gross. Almost as gross as the chia pudding, despite it’s cute cup and self-contained spoon.
It all started Friday. I was halfway out the door to take C to camp when he started complaining that he couldn’t walk. I thought perhaps we’d done too much physical therapy and his legs were sore, or that maybe he’d grown out of his shoes overnight (wouldn’t be the first time), but I was determined to get him to camp. Friday was supposed to be my writing day. I’d been building up to it all week, knew exactly what scenes in my new play needed to be written, my laptop was charged, and the coffee was icy. I was all set, and a whiny four year old was not going to get in my way.
When I was a kid my legs hurt quite a bit. I remember waking up in the middle of the night with agonizing pain in my knees. My Gramma Dag said it was growing pains, which is a thing doctors don’t believe exists. But what else could it have been? Doctors could find no cause for the pain, and began to get annoyed that I kept coming back with hurt knees. After a while I stopped complaining about it, and then eventually I discovered other things that hurt worse, and the knee pain didn’t seem quite so pressing.
I felt C’s knees, his feet, pressed against his toes, asking if there was pain. There wasn’t. I didn’t think he was faking it, but I was pretty sure that if he’d had more experience of pain, he would be able to power through and get on his feet. We considered the ER, but didn’t go. Called his pediatrician, who said we could come in if his condition didn’t improve. C didn’t want to go to, and I wasn’t convinced that it was a serious thing, so we stayed home, and he got back on his feet, but was lethargic.
Kids get sick all the time, and the perpetual question for parents is: does this require medical intervention or is this something we can handle at home? We’ve had plenty of both kinds. Croup attacks so bad he needed oxygen at the ER, and croup attacks mild enough to be alleviated at home. Major surgeries and splinters. Fevers that sent us out into the snow in the middle of the night and those that resolve themselves. Which would this one be?
I was super frustrated that I’d lost my writing day. When you’re a mom and have a normal-ish job, writing time needs to be planned and orchestrated or else you find yourself up in the middle of the night with a half-charged laptop, crying into a pint of ice cream, while willing the words onto the screen before you pass out from exhaustion… And then your kid wakes up and wants a drink of water. I was super frustrated about losing the time and I felt super guilty for feeling frustrated when maternally speaking I should have dropped everything else and been concerned about C.
In point of fact I did drop everything else, and spent the day massaging his legs, making sure he was comfortable, monitoring him for signs of additional illness, which came in the form of high fever and vomiting. But I remained frustrated, like sex interrupted before orgasm. I’d been anticipating for days, having this time, and then it was gone. Dave suggested that he could take C out on Saturday, and I could get some time then, but on Saturday C was sick enough that we took him to the doctor (coxsackies virus, which is apparently going around, symptoms include joint and muscle pain, to be treated at home). I didn’t feel right leaving him home sick with his dad while I went out to work somewhere (guilt > frustration), and by Sunday, Dave and I were both exhibiting symptoms as well.
By Sunday night, nursing my own moderate fever, heading home from rehearsal for a reading I have tonight, I just wanted to get drunk and fight with someone. I didn’t do either of those things. So much the pity. Now C and I are both home, contagious but otherwise feeling fine, and going stir crazy, in more ways than one.