Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Living with Carriers

My youngest, always the energetic type who's hearing cannot parse words like "stop" or "hush" or "please quit standing on my groin," was unusually sedate Saturday on the way to my company picnic.  Ordinarily, I'd be wishing for hair to sprout on my bald pate so I could pull it back out again when my two boys start getting bored in the back seat of our aging Mercury wagon. He just sat quietly in the back, taking in the scenery through slightly squinting eyes. 
It didn't take long for my wife and I to notice the lack of violence in the back seat.
"You alright, Hon?" my wife asked
"I tired," he replied, as always sounding like a serial TV-show Indian from the 50's.  It wouldn't be out of the character for him to spout "we smoke-em peace pipe." "Being" verbs don't come easily to him as yet.
He had been restless the night before, so we shrugged and decided to take advantage of the 50% reduction in parental stress by listening to the car radio for the first time that we could remember since having children.
When we finally arrived at the lake house for the company party, my wife (ever resourceful) produced a digital thermometer seemingly from nowhere and proceded to take his temperature.
"Aha!" she proclaimed, discovering the source of our temporary reprieve.  Our youngest son had a fever of 101.5, damning him (and by extension) one of us from the day's activities.
Well ... it wasn't me.
Later, after returning home exhausted from constant thrill-seeking on the lake, we noticed that he was the color of a boiled lobster, in spite of being cloistered away in the back bedroom of the lake-house all day with my wife.
"Stick out your tongue," I instructed.  Dutifully, he proceded to eject an object that only a fan of French cheese would find attractive.  I recoiled at the sight of his heavily-coated tongue and began running down a checklist in my head.
  • Scarlet coloring from head to toe
  • Fever
  • Not too distant run-in with strepthroat
Oh, criminy, I thought. My child has Scarlet Fever.  I managed to contract scarlet fever while on vacation with my parents when I was probably only five or six years old. Vividly, I recall how unpleasant it was, as well.
Apparently, he wasn't nearly so bothered by my memories as I was, because his only complaint was itching all over and a headache.  By Monday morning, his coloration had mostly normalized, but he was still splotchy in patches and still running a mild fever.  His doctor gave him a shot to treat him for the strep virii in his little body, and sent him on his way with the admonition to stay away from other children for another 24 hours. Today, he's probably back to driving my wife nuts again, unable to shout at him as he bounces off the walls at our house. She's home with him today, not only because he needs the supervision, but because she herself started exibiting symptoms of strep yesterday and has completely lost her voice, to boot.
Come to think of it, I'm starting to get a headache myself ...


Blogger HeadCheese said...

24 hours later, I'm still fine and only missed Aikido class last night because my poor wife was in no condition to deal with two reasonably healthy boys bouncing around the house and climbing all over her while she tries to recuperate.

Really, it's not in my nature to speak ill of my wife, but she really looks like hell.... poor kid.

July 21, 2004  

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