Emilie caught a cold. So she gave it to Zoie. Who then gave it to me. When I taught my kids about sharing, this isn’t what I meant.
Now my house is filled with a chorus of coughs. A symphony of sniffles. A frenzy of fevers.
The past two nights I’ve spent lying in bed with a hot, stuffy, sticky toddler on my chest. Dead weight crushing my lungs, pinching my bladder. The slightest movement on my part setting off ear-splitting screeches as she protested my right to breathe, swallow, think. I had a wedgie I couldn’t resolve for 3 hours. This, is the definition of self-sacrifice.
And in between these fretful nights, I sat in class. My longest was a 6 hour stretch. Slumped in my seat. Straining my brain to focus on contemporary art, the film industry, Italo Calvino, huh? I subsisted solely on vending machine fare scavenged from the uni cafeteria during 15 minute breaks. Paprika flavored corn crisps, blueberry fruit bites, and frosty cold Dr. Pepper. Wholesome delicacies.
Dinner came in the form of a tub of chicken yakisoba, slurped greedily on the 21.43 Southwest train service to Alton. Heartburn was par for the course. And when I lumbered into the house minutes shy of 23.00, my real work began. Shrugging off my coat and scarf, hurriedly taking a minute to pee. There were medicines to be administered, little people to soothe. The shower, she is a luxury.
And to ice the cake, is my own sore throat. A bitter, grating, I’ve-swallowed-razor-blades type sensation. Thankfully it has eased somewhat. Somewhat.
At the insistence of my mother (what would we do without them?) I took Emilie to the GP today to investigate the contagion cough. I sat on a squeaky plastic chair and prattled off a list of symptoms to a slightly flustered lady doctor with a flame orange bob and a pronounced mole on her chin. She’ll never need to dress up on Halloween, I thought. One of those thoughts you have in a split second before filing it away to the back of your mind with the rest of the Thoughts You Can’t Believe You Had — like when you wondered what it would be like to make-out with one of the Hanson brothers…
So the doctor did the ear thing, the throat thing, the temperature thing, the take deep breaths thing. Asked about allergies and aversions. Thought for a moment. Consulted a book. Consulted her computer screen. Had another go with the deep breaths, removed stethoscope, inclined her head and concluded “chest infection” in a decidedly triumphant tone. She returned to her computer and tapped at the keys noisily.
“One spoonful, 3 times a day. And 2 puffs if she’s wheezing.”
That’s all well and good — spoons and puffs. But a little honey and lime and sunshine never killed anyone. The drab weather is the culprit, I’m sure of it. Me and the kids need to be on a beach somewhere. Soaking up some UV love. Could she use that fancy pad of hers to prescribe us some plane tickets home? We are island girls after all.
“It’s going around,” says the doc.
Doesn’t it always?
I gave a wan smile and thanked her. Downstairs I gathered up my sniffling, snotty offspring and we set off toward the high street pharmacy dreaming of palm trees, parrots, and pina coladas.