Thursday, May 2, 2013

Boy Germs (no, the REAL kind...)

Today's report concerns Medical History--fortunately not of a catastrophic nature, but nonetheless notable in our family, due to the rarity of both its occurrence and its consequences. (How's that rank on ye olde cryptic-meter? Do I sound like a doctor, 'cuz that's totally what I was going for...okay, not really...) Anyway, I'm referring to Derek and his recent illness. I couldn't blame you for thinking: who cares? Everyone catches something from time to time, right? And that is certainly true, but we've been very lucky (knocking wood with one hand whilst typing with the other, not as easy as you might imagine) with our boys so far. Each of them tends to miss one school day each year, and never two in a row. In fact, here we are in the 4th quarter of this academic term, and the last time Derek was absent from school courtesy of germs...was two years ago in 5th grade. (Yeah, I know: jinx!)

So when he commenced sneezing and sniffling, I figured it was either caused by the evil demon pollen...or the somewhat-less-villainous common cold. I kept a watchful eye on his symptoms, to try to determine if I could help him in any pharmaceutical way, but he seemed to be managing. He powered through his scholastic responsibilities, as well as multiple soccer practices and games-- although as the week progressed he definitely showed signs of flagging energy. Then came the delightful new visitor to his beleaguered upper respiratory system: an incessant, hacking cough. By Sunday, when we were supposed to celebrate my birthday with a family dinner out at a restaurant, he was not fit to inflict upon the public-at-large. Monday morning, Husband made the call--after viewing a miserable Middle School specimen pre-7 a.m.--to keep him home for the day. And when I laid eyes on him a bit later, I immediately called the pediatrician. The words "death on toast" sprang to mind as I gazed upon his drooping eyes, sagging posture..and the preponderance of..."mucosal excretion" that continued unabated. And did I mention the loud, dry, endless coughing? In short, he was a hot mess. (Don't worry, I tried to be more objectively descriptive for the doctor...)

Sure enough, Dr. S stuck the lighted-observation-thingie (that's the technical term, I'm pretty sure...oh wait, I just remembered: otoscope. But I like mine better anyway...) in his ear canal and asked in a surprised tone, "Does this hurt?" "No," he instantly responded. "Because it's infected," she added. After peeking in the other side and in his nose (ewwww, better her than me, I must say), she presented the list of ailments: left ear infection, fluid in the right, probably moving toward a sinus infection as well. I shouldn't have been surprised--after all, this is the kid who was diagnosed with strep once...without ever complaining of a sore throat. Like I said, he doesn't go down to dreaded bacteria often, but when he does, it's "go big...and stay home"! So, she prescribed a drugstore-worth of meds to start knocking out the bad critters (including the kind of decongestant that you have to request from behind the counter, and show your ID, and sign for...I felt like such a shady character). Then I allowed him to sit on the couch and watch ESPN all afternoon. (He proceeded to remain in the exact same position, wrapped in a blankie, from about 1 to 6 p.m. At which point the next show was about to start and he groaned, "Ugh, not MORE SportsCenter!" Yeah, I think five hours just about catches you up on all the possible sports news out there for about you move to your bed and take a nap, big guy...)

When Riley arrived home and was given the update on his brother's health, his only comment, delivered with absolutely no hint of levity whatsoever, was: "Well, at least he doesn't have the Black Death!" Oh. My. Goodness. Thank you sooooo much, Derek, for regaling us with the graphic description of that awful disease earlier in the year when your World Studies class was learning about the Middle Ages. (Clearly some things are just too memorable to be erased...and also you've apparently scarred your younger sibling for life...) Tuesday continued more of the same, so Derek was granted an extra recovery day, by the end of which he admitted, "I kind of want to go back to school; I'm bored." Your wish is my command, son--Wednesday you shall grace the world with your presence once more. So he did, and survived...and I know for a fact he must be feeling more like himself, because after he strolled into the house, he asked permission to meet a friend at the nearby park. Um, which part of "recovering" is unclear to you? Or, if that proves too complex a concept, try this one: "making up all the homework you missed".

Obviously he's back on the road to good health, headed in the right direction. (Alas) Even his typical smart alecky humor has returned--as he smeared mentho-rub on his chest before bed, he glanced down and noted, "Ooh, I'm shiny...Team Edward!" Yeah, he'll be fine. And as long as the rest of the household can avoid catching the...ahem...Black Death, everything will be back to normal by the weekend...just in time for Attempted Birthday Dinner...Take 2!

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