The boys and I spent the afternoon lolling in the little coffee shop downtown today. I sat at the table drinking my tea while Charlie played with the train table and Wesley sat in his stroller playing with whatever piece of the train set I was able to shame Charlie into letting him touch. I had just exhaled for the first time since returning from our trip. Finally feeling on top of the housework again, finally feeling rested again. Enjoying the nice afternoon and the break between all the little emergencies that punctuate our day.
Then I ran my fingers through Wesley's hair. And he felt warm. I felt him again, felt his feet and legs and tummy. Wow. Really warm.
Hmmm, cheeks pink? Eyes glassy?
I gave Charlie the five minute warning and told him that Wesley was sick and we needed to take him home because it feels much better to be at home when you don't feel well. He put away the trains and climbed up into his stroller. Love that kid.
Pediatrician Man asked "How long has he had the runny nose?"
Wild estimating. Let's see, his birthday is in September, so that's one-two-three-four-five...... "Two weeks?"
"Well, we definitely need to see him if he's had a runny nose for that long."
Three false alarm appointments in as many months and NOW I decide to tough it out. If I brought them in each time they had a runny nose we might as well have Pediatrician Man move in with us (not that I would be opposed to that. Ryan might.), but apparently, this time, I had missed some important opportunity and now Wesley was very sick.
I made the appointment for the next morning. Wes looked more and more miserable while we stopped briefly at the grocery store, which was probably very theraputic what with the copious amounts of air conditioning they blast into that place, unlike my house, where due to one enormous electric bill we now keep the thermostat at a balmy eighty-one degrees during the day. Maybe I should have just left him in the dairy case so he didn't spontaneously combust upon entering our home.
I took his temperature at home. When the thermometer blasted past one-hundred one degrees with no sign of stopping I asked Charlie fourteen times to get my purse so I could call and reschedule Wesley's appointment for that afternoon. Unfortunately he had suddenly lost his listening comprehension skills. Or maybe the hint of panic in my voice made him nervous. He later refused to go potty which led to an interesting background conversation for the nurse I was trying to talk to on the phone.
We made an appointment for 6:10 and it was only when I was sitting in the waiting room with my feverish, coughing, miserable baby that the thought of H1N1 entered my mind. My mind started racing. Are his lungs OK after the bronchiolitis? Should I make him wear a mask? Who has he played with recently (Labmama's kids, that's who. My only friend who reads about viruses for FUN. That's ironical)
It took them forty minutes to get to us and I don't think I relaxed my core muscles once.
Pediatrician Woman took one look in his left ear and said "Ouch, that ear looks awful." And I exhaled.
"Wonderful!" I shrieked "He doesn't have Swine Flu!!" The words came spraying out of my mouth before I could stop them. Then, of course, big smile.
She smiled vaguely at me for a few moments.
"I am not opposed to testing him" she began slowly "but if he hasn't had the fever for a full twenty-four hours then the test will be inaccurate." Look of doctorly concern. Look of doctorly concern was for me and my mental health re: step away from the cable news.
So we're all sure this is the same cold Charlie had early last week. And also the ear infection. Because if I've learned anything from Law and Order Criminal Intent, it's that if you hear hoofbeats, you don't look for a zebra. Or something.