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Finally sick in bed – and it stinks

Submitted by on Friday, 17 September 2010 No Comment

For years I’ve fantasized about kids being sick in bed – as opposed to sick kids who still fly through the house at warp speed.

I wondered when the day would arrive that they’d learn to  slow down.  I’d be able to get them all cozy on the couch, fetching the occasional  buttered toast, but mostly go on about my business as they watched cartoons between naps.

That day finally arrived for Big Guy this week, and, you know what? It reeked.

He was quiet – more so than he’s ever been in his life. He was chilled out – at least, he was when his forehead wasn’t on fire. He didn’t fire his usual barrage of questions, though he did occasionally ask me to bring water or chicken broth. He was 99 percent of less of everything that usually gets on my last nerve – and I hated it.

The first sign that something was wrong came when he was griping mildly Wednesday afternoon, but I figured it was a ploy to get out of doing homework.

“If you feel bad, maybe you should skip karate,” I said.

“No way! I’m OK!” he insisted.

A few hours later, at bedtime, he was suddenly ailing again – too sick to read, he said. Sure, I thought. But then he wanted Bear, who’s been persona non grata for a year and a half, and he fell asleep within minutes instead of chatting for a half hour.

Sometimes, though, you have to hit me over the head. It wasn’t until he woke a few hours later that I clued in.

“It hurts! IT HURTS!” he shrieked, his hands over his ears as he rocked his head from side to side.

That caught my attention, because Big Guy never complains about pain. He wails about everything else under the sun, but seldom about physical discomfort. He was up and about 24 hours after abdominal surgery, and he was so determined to hobble his way through a baseball game this spring that he wound up not being able to play for the next four days.

I gave him Tylenol and slept next to him the rest of the night. If it still hurt in the morning, I’d call a doctor, I promised.

He wasn’t in as much pain when he woke, though his temperature had spiked. I called for an appointment but couldn’t get one until the next day. I expected him to do a celebration dance because he was staying home from school while Boots had to go. There was nothing.

If he’s too sick to lord it over his brother, he’s really sick, I thought.

And so it went for the next 24 hours – a weak, dispirited boy flopped across the couch, wanting nothing other more than blankets, drinks and hugs. He looked so sad that even his brother was touched. “Aw, poor Big Guy,” Boots cooed when he got home. “I want to cry for him.”

I wondered what dread disease it was that could have felled this giant. I have an otoscope, and I’d used it to confirm that he had an ear infection. Surely there had to be something more than that going on, I thought. He’s had dozens upon dozens of ear infections in his life, but he was never like this. Besides, he still wanted his ear buds. How bad could an infection be if he was sticking things in his ears?

It turns out that it was indeed a mere ear infection, combined with a body finally old enough to protest when it’s sick.

That kind of stinks. I miss the old, rowdy days when he was sick everywhere but in bed.

Copyright 2010 Debra Legg. All rights reserved.

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