Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The Engineer, the Soup Cook, and the Extinct Species

This bright day dawned with Matt collecting the trash. Toby was drawn like a moth to a flame. It was fascinating to watch Daddy lift a thirty-gallon trash bag. Toby wasn't sure whether to try lifting that enormous bag all by himself first, or just to dig in and see what treasures he could find. Unfortunately, he was apprehended and locked in a high chair with some utterly uninspiring cheerios, while Daddy had all the fun himself.

Emma wasn't feeling nearly as ambitious. She woke up coughing, wheezing, and running a fever. She watched, glassy-eyed, as Hannah constructed a tower from upside-down stacking cups. "Whoa!" Hannah yelled as she placed the last cup, "I built the biggest tower! It's the Serious Tower!" I raised an eyebrow and thought a minute, "do you mean the Sears tower?" "Oh yeah, the Sears tower," she said.

A nurse from the Riley pediatric GI clinic called to schedule Noami's biopsy, and a phone tag game ensued. The nurse told me the first available appointment was November 4th. I told her about the severity of Naomi's symptoms and that I thought it would be pretty cruel to make a six year old wait that long when she's so sick. "Um," the nurse replied, "let me check with the doctor and get back to you." Tag, she's it.

By 11:30am Emma had run out of gas. She opted out of lunch and fell asleep on the couch. Hannah and I sat alone at lunch, so I pretended to be an old friend who had met her for lunch at a restaurant. "So, Miss Hannah," I probed, "What do you fill your days with?" Hannah grinned at me, "Happy," she said.

An hour later I checked Emma's temp, 103 now. Her breathing was fast and labored, so I gave her a nebulizer treatment and put a phone call in to my friends at the pediatrician's office. Emma attempted to get up to play, but ended up lying on a blanket on the floor. I picked her up and started reading "Curious George" to her. She was wiggling around like she was uncomfortable on my lap as we neared the end of the book. Assuming she would be more comfortable lying on the couch again, I hurried through the last few pages and said, "The End." Thankfully, I set the book down before Emma threw up. My crossed legs ended up acting as a bowl to contain most of the vomit soup that poured out. I called to Matt for a bowl and a roll of paper towels. He brought them and arrived just as Emma had served me my fourth and final helping. We sat a minute, trying to figure out what to move first, then settled on moving everything to the bathtub for a big hose-down. One bath, one load of laundry, one carpet-scrub, and one shower followed.

Of course the peds GI nurse called back while I was in the shower. At least she bore good news, and the biopsy was scheduled for September 23rd. Strange, since their first available opening was Novemeber 4th.

When my mother-in-law came home from work she sniffed the air, "Smells like someone's been cleaning." I told her to be glad it was the cleaning products she smelled. I explained that Emma was sick and running a fever. "Yeah," said Hannah, "she has a hot, not a cold." I spent the evening washing my hands and passing around hand sanitizer. Toby thought it was such a good idea that he attempted to cleanse his insides with it as well. Luckily, I caught that one before he figured out how to press down on the pump.

Toby wasn't too keen on bedtime tonight. He stood in his crib, howling and shrieking, raking his little claws through the crib rails, attempting to catch anyone who ventured near. He latched on to Matt's shirt and shook it up and down, squealing at obtaining his prey. "Toby," Matt said dryly, "Why are you such a velociraptor?" "Ah-ci-wap-or!" Toby squalled. Then he screamed, lunged over the top rail, caught my shirt and attempted to drag me over the crib rail into his lair. All the girls giggled. I uncurled each white-knuckled claw from my shirt, quickly kissed his head, and dodged his next grasp. "Good-night, girls," I called, "and good-night, velociraptor." He shrieked again as his prey left him alone and completely unoccupied in the dark.

At least Hannah filled her day with happy. Actually, minus of course the lap full of vomit soup, my day was pretty filled with happy too.

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