Wednesday night Patrick felt a little warm and feel asleep on the couch before bedtime. We gave him some Tylenol and brought him up to his room. An hour and half later I checked on him and he felt like he had just gotten out of the pool. His hair was drenched. His sheets were soaking. We could have melted cheese on his skin (ummmmmm, raclette). He was ridiculously feverish, you see.
Thursday my mother arrived for a long weekend and Patrick slept. He took a three hour nap in the morning, woke up for some more Tylenol and then crashed again. I asked him if anything hurt and he said, no. His throat? No. His ears? No. Stomach? No no n.. zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. So I decided to just let him sleep. My mother kept giving me incredulous aren't-you-going-to-take-this-poor-sick-little-boy-to-the-doctor looks coupled with you-are-the-mother-and-I-am-not-going-to-interfere-but sighs. She made dark and repeated mention of my childhood hamster, Maxwell Montague, who went to that great squeaking wheel in the sky while under my loving care (he was old! he was, like, TWO!)
I consider myself a savvy, veteran parent. I no longer race Patrick to the pediatrician every time I notice his ears attach a little higher on one side than the other. I have realized that each time I take Patrick to the doctor when he is sick it winds up being just a virus and the pediatrician puts a switchblade (courtesy of Merck) to my throat and threatens to cut me if I so much as even think about asking for an antibiotic to treat a virus. And I'm all, no no, I wouldn't dream of it, I didn't know it was only a virus, don't cut meeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee. So it is a wasted trip and to top it off Patrick usually picks up some sort of auxiliary disease while we are in the office thus prolonging everybody's agony. This is to say: I try to avoid taking the child to the doctor if I possibly can and I did not see any reason to change this policy despite the fact that we were using the back of his neck to toast s'mores.
It wasn't Patrick's high fever or his inability to stay awake for more than ten minutes that moved me in the end, nor was it my mother's patent disapproval of my Marquis de Sade parenting. It was when I noticed that his lips were swollen and his eyes were bloodshot and he kept sucking his fingers and you could see the veins in his ears. Not so much because these four things are familiar warning signs to me, but because they seemed so disparate and strange. Kid with a high fever: normal. Finger-sucking kid with a high fever looking like he had an enthusiastic Botox job while blood is trying to escape his body via osmosis: weird (go ahead! play web md! diagnose him! I'll wait).
When the doctor came in Patrick was cuddled on my lap with his arms and legs in the air like an up-ended turtle. He righted himself. He uncorked his fingers from his mouth. He looked at her with obvious relief and said, "My throat hurts."
His throat hurts? Hadn't I asked him that about a zillion times already? Hadn't he already told me no? I guess you don't give your sworn statement to the crossing guard... jeez what a snob this kid is.
She took a look at his throat and whistled and said, "I can see that! Your tonsils are very big and bright red. You must have been feeling pretty sick for a while, huh?" She looked at me accusingly. My mother looked at me accusingly. Patrick probably would have looked at me accusingly but he was too busy staring with adoration at the pediatrician.
"It's probably strep. I'll take a culture."
"OK," I said, "but it is never strep. We have had him tested for strep five hundred times and it is never strep. But fine. Culture it. Please. Go ahead. But it is not strep."
It was strep. He was sucking his fingers because his throat hurt because he has strep. His lips were swollen because his entire mouth and throat were inflamed because he has strep. Blood vessels were visible in his eyes and ears because his body was struggling to cool itself because he had a high fever. Because he has strep.
Two days of amoxillian and he is sparkling around the house again. I, however, have slipped to a third-rate power.
Pregnancy feels quite normal. So far. For what it is worth. Tired, vaguely nauseous, sacroiliac joint killing me on the left side, breasts need forearm support when going downstairs in my pajamas... five weeks and change normal for me.
I have been pondering the hcg levels and have reluctantly concluded that we can deduce nothing from the sudden upswing. I notice quite a few of you started chanting twins! twins! twins! with triplets! and quads! booming as a round composition (like Row Row Row Your Boat or, if you are feeling more sophisticated, your favorite fugue). I dunno. Maybe. I originally thought twins, just because, well, this sounds silly but I have always believed we would one day have twins. Cross my heart, true story. I psychically intuit twins. Oh, right, and the 80 mature follicles I had. Those too. Then the hcg levels were so... average that I thought no, not twins. Now I am back to maybe. We'll see. My mother leaves tomorrow and Steve returns (he went looking for property in Iowa this weekend. you know, a safe house. because I beat him. hahahahahahahaha) and then ultrasound on Monday. I am, um, if I say I am optimistic will you laugh at me? I know it is foolish to think this one might turn into an actual baby but there it is. I cannot shake the optimism.
Hope you are having a good weekend.