"Whaddaya mean?" I asked.
"Cuz she was born in cold and flu season!"
"That's true," I chuckled. "Everyone in my family is sick. My mom is sick. My sister's sick. I've been sick. Equis is sick. I feel like my life is a never-ending series of appointments for me and Equis!"
"Me too," she frowned.
"Honestly, I'm grateful I'm a stay-at-home-mom. I have no idea where I'd fit in the dozens of appointments I've had in the past four weeks if I worked a full-time job."
"Yeah," she nodded. "I feel like I'm always at an appointment. If not for me, then for my daughter."
In the past month, I've had weekly therapy sessions, an eye exam, a physical, a gyn exam, a walk-in for my Sinus infection, a flu shot, my blood drawn and a Pulmonary Function Test. Coming up this week for me? A follow-up to the physical, more therapy and a meeting with the psychiatrist to check-in about the anti-depressants I've been taking.
I think I'd be okay if I just had to deal with my sickness and my appointments and let that be that.
But, no. I'm a mom. And guess what?
Mom isn't the only one who needs to see the doctor.
Two Tuesdays ago, I cabbed it to the Bellevue Hospital Emergency Room, where Equis' body raged with 104.6 degree fever, and we watched the "Play Movie" screen of Finding Nemo from very uncomfortable red kid chairs.
Four hours later, a nurse stuck Tylenol in his butt since Equis spit out the liquid version, and the Supervising Doctor sent me home with the words: "Looks like your son has the common cold. Alternate Motrin and Tylenol."
"I told you it'd be a waste of time," my partner said over the phone.
"Better to be safe than sorry," I replied as my son fell asleep on the bus seat.
Early in the morning, we walked through the breezy air to his third hearing appointment to see if we could finally determine whether or not his hearing could be at fault for his speech delay.
I tried to hold Equis still on my lap, but he was restless and uncooperative.
After twenty minutes, the examiner checked his ear pressure and asked, "Has he recently had an ear infection?"
"Well, the doctor said he has the common cold."
"Hm, the ear pressure in his right ear isn't as good as the other times," the examiner said. "It's possible he has an ear infection brewing."
"I see," I glowered.
"I'm sorry to keep making you come back, but we still can't tell if he can hear certain ranges of sounds or not. If this next one doesn't work, we'll have to test him in an OR under sedation."
I felt my eyes widen and nodded, shocked by the word "sedation." Used in reference to my two-year-old, the word terrifies me.
Can somebody tell me why I didn't just cancel this appointment if I knew Equis was sick?
Oh yeah, because they insist there are consequences to not canceling 24 hours ahead of time.
I say "force-fed" because he'd immediately cover his mouth and scrunch his eyes shut every time he saw a syringe filled with red or purple liquid.
"Eeeee Eeeeee," he'd whine from behind his fingers.
After another long night of barely sleeping, Equis still had a fever of 103 degrees. "This is not a frickin' common cold!" I shouted, the examiner's words in my head.
My partner sighed and said, "Well, if you wanna take him to the doctor again, go ahead."
At Gouverneur, our local clinic, Equis was promptly diagnosed with ear and throat infections and prescribed Amoxicillin.
I silently cursed and imagined myself yelling at the ER doctors for not believing me when I told them I thought he may be getting an infection.
We've been through this sickness before. A Mom knows the signs.
Within days, Equis was whining less and no longer burning up. He ate flavorful milk chocolate and basil gelato from Il Laboratorio del Gelato and confidently clambered up playground equipment.
Then, a couple of days later my sister pointed to my son's back, exclaiming, "Equis has a rash!"
I took a closer look, and she was right-- my son's entire body was covered in a bumpy red rash.
Back to the clinic we went. Again.
This time the pediatrician said, "Well, his ear is clear, but I can't tell if the rash is from the antibiotics or from a virus. You're going to have to make an appointment with the allergist."
"I can't deal with this anymore!" I screamed as I threw myself to the tiled floor of his tiny office. "I just want him to be okay already!" I sobbed, my face inches away from the stroller's wheels.
Alright, I didn't really do that, but I sure as heck wanted to. I just stopped administering the Amoxicillin.
"Hallelujah! We can finally start enjoying life again," I thought to myself.
Equis went back to school for the week, and I found some time to start reorganizing my mess of a house and even experience direct sunlight.
"Phew," I told my partner. "We're finally free and clear."
Yesterday, Equis woke up with a fever and a cough. Again.
And Gouverneur called to cancel his Monday appointment. Which means I have to go back to Bellevue's ER. Which is 30 blocks and several avenues further than the clinic. In crappy weather.
I feel overwhelmed, exhausted and angry.
Thanks a lot, Frankenstorm! Or is that Hurricane Sandy?
How have you and your family been handling Cold & Flu Season?