The week has ended, thank goodness. Between a mountain of paperwork, papers to be graded, students drama, the field trip and my motherly responsibilities, I was really looking forward to this afternoon. This afternoon, when I would peel out of the teacher's parking lot, without a care in the world, if you don't count my three children, my spouse and the mountain of laundry that awaits.
But I have a confession to make. I was a bad mommy earlier this week.
In one of his many early morning rendezvous', Joshua awoke on Tuesday with crusty eyes. Only one explanation for this phenomenon: pink eye. Pink eye in schools is the modern day equivalent of the plague in the Middle Ages. No one wants a child that you even have a suspicion of pink eye. So, the drama started early that morning.
Me: I think Joshua has pink eye.
John: What are you talking about? He looks fine. (I think I detected recognition and a quick turn to denial.)
Me: I can't stay home. I have....(here is where I delineated all the things that would surely cause the school, if not the entire school district, to shut down for the day if I failed to show up.)
And this is where we proceeded to play the grown up version of Rocks, Paper, Scissors. I won. There were negotiations and compromises to be made. In the end, we had a plan. In the mean time, I had old eye drops.
I know many of you are wondering how I could diagnose and prescribe without an actual medical degree. If you have more than one child, you can skip to the next paragraph. You know what golden nugget of information I am going to pass on to the newbie's. If you don't, I will only tell you that the fear of going into a pediatrician's office is a magical thing. You will do just about anything not to have to go to the doctor's office, where, inevitably and without fail, you will pick something else up. That will cause yet ANOTHER visit, and so it goes. That is the real reason doctor's offices are always packed with miserable, sick children and even more miserable and broke parents.
I had been to the pediatrician's office on Saturday, for a well visit. My stomach trembled with fear. My husband scoffed at the idea that you could actually pick up something while you were there for a well visit. If you are keeping count: Mommy: 2, Daddy: 0.
So, yes. I had some drops from December. They were not expired. And I most surely opened up my son's eyes, and I put those drops in and marched my body to work. And for a couple of days, my medical band aid worked.
Until this morning.
Yesterday, Joshua had a runny nose when I picked him up from school. As my children seem to have inherited every unattractive trait that has been carried through in a recessive gene for centuries in my family, I naturally attributed this new malady to allergies.
This morning, in his nocturnal travels, Joshua came into our room, carrying his blanket and an accompanying cough. Again, no problem, I thought. He has post nasal drip. (Who needs an MD from Johns Hopkins, right?).
But the time of reckoning was at hand.
In all my years teaching and mothering, I have never seen a fit to the degree, magnitude or length that all of a sudden came upon my child. After assuring myself, and my husband, that there was nothing actually wrong with him, like a fever, I left for work.
And I prayed.
This afternoon, after a thorough ass-kicking, courtesy of long division with remainders, I got a call from school. Joshua apparently had coughed his way through naptime and was running a low grade fever. I felt slightly ashamed of myself, and didn't know whether to be happy or sad that the phone call had come at the end of the day.
I finally caved and called the pediatrician's office. It seemed that my TGIF Happy Hour was going to be spent in parental hell AKA the sick waiting room at the pediatrician's office. The ensuing phone call did little to quell my feelings of guilt.
How long has he had the symptoms?
You mean, the ones I passed off as pink eye or the ones that made the school call me today?
Fortunately, the doctor understood and seemed impressed with my mad diagnosing skills. He prescribed more potent drops (I hope they don't melt his eyeballs), antibiotics and a cough medicine with albuterol for the "slight" wheezing he could hear in Josh's lungs.
Way to go, Dr. Mom!
And for those of you who are not familiar with albuterol, it is the toddler version of crack. It makes kids super agitated. It is so potent, our local national pharmacy will not dispense it.
So yeah, not only did I have to go to the pediatrician's office, I now had to go to the corner family owned crack house, I mean pharmacy, to get the goods. Did I also mention that every imaginable waste of money toy is stocked right under the counter where you leave your prescription and wait for your stuff?
Good times. Know what the pharmacist's advice was as I was leaving with the cough medicine (and an overpriced junky toy for each child, Catholic guilt ups the score for the kids...)? "Don't give it to him right before bedtime. It might rile him up."
Thanks Dr. G! Daddy: 0, Mommy: 3, Kids: 1,000,000!
On the bright side, the kids were incredibly well behaved at the doctor's office AND the pharmacy. I also went to the local national pharmacy to leave off the other prescriptions (really, just because I had to get my stuff didn't mean I was going to leave everything AND get gauged!) and I even got to go to the fancy gourmet market without nary a fight between the children.
I know Joshua will be okay. He will bounce back just fine. The older boys will continue to be amazed that they scored overpriced pharmacy toys WITHOUT EVEN ASKING FOR THEM! Daddy will thank his lucky stars that he was spared the fate of the pediatrician's office on a late Friday afternoon.
Mommy really wants to be looking at her second, EMPTY Cosmopolitan glass...
Not on this Friday night, though...