It has long mystified me that otherwise rational people willingly choose to pour artificial coloring and flavoring down their gullets by the canful. Seriously, people, if beverages were meant to be bright red and filled with tiny bubbles, nature in her wisdom would have filled the rivers with Diet Cherry Fresca or whatever that crap is called. I just don’t get the appeal of soda, which is way too sweet and in no way resembles an actual food source.
My husband, on the other hand, loves that shit. He drinks at least ten cans of diet soda on any given weekday. No joke. He claims he needs the caffeine to stay awake, which makes sense given that he is never quite sure what time zone he’s in, but it’s still absolutely astounding that the man has an esophagus left.
He promised me before we had kids that he would not let them see him drinking that crap, because for all that I want them to learn to drink alcohol responsibly, there is no earthly reason for them to think soda is an acceptable beverage. I think he’s slipped up a bit, since every time we are in the grocery store, they point to the soda aisle and proclaim, “Daddy’s drink!”
So, when I saw in the bottom of our stroller a crushed green can with a little bit of pink residue around the rim, I knew to whom it belonged. Unlike paper bits or leaves, there is only one person in our household who buys, refrigerates, or consumes soda. And there was no way I was going to throw it away for him, because it’s bad enough I sometimes have to get his damned soda cans out of my car.
Now, keep in mind that we fold up the stroller and put it away every night. OK, sometimes we forget, like one night last weekend. But most nights we bring it in, and I just left that can in the basket and folded it away. Last Saturday, J noticed and even commented on it, whereupon I told him he could throw his own damned can into the blue bin. Yet, come Monday morning, when he left for his business trip, there it sat, swinging along under our umbrella stroller.
Maybe it was the sick au pair who weakened me. Or maybe I was grateful that her key had finally arrived and she could move back into her room. Or maybe it was just because it was Wednesday and our bins were down at the curb, making it easier to empty out the rubbish in the bottom of the stroller. Whatever the reason, I reached down to throw away the crushed diet soda can.
Sitting coyly underneath were Jeanette’s keys.
It is a credit to my sense of humor that I did not file for divorce at that moment. I do not know whether we should blame Jeanette for leaving the keys there, even though she swore up and down she had locked her door. Or if we should blame J for not throwing away his soda can. What I do know is that there is one adult in this scenario who had nothing to do with the house keys sitting out in front of our house all night long, the police arriving on Saturday morning, and the au pair crashing on the couch while breathing flu-infected fumes all over the place. Nonetheless, I managed to see the whole thing as kind of funny.
Until Lilah woke up at 3:00 from her nap with a deep, seal-like cough. The baby had been sporting a runny nose all morning, but the cough sounded just like what Jeanette had before she developed full-blown flu.
I called the doctor’s office and made an appointment for the next morning – Thursday. The receptionist said she’d talk to the doctor about whether Lilah should be seen sooner. When I hadn’t heard back by 5:30 and the cough was getting worse, I called the office again. The service picked up and said they’d page the doctor.
Fortunately, we were armed with some information. We knew just what this illness would look like another day in, because Jeanette had already gone through it. Plus, we knew that Tamiflu would cure this virus, because it had worked on Jeanette. The doctor was able to call in a prescription from her car. The only problem was how I was to get to the pharmacy to pick up said prescription. Because by now it was 6:30, someone had to watch the kids, and Jeanette still couldn’t be near the as-yet-asymptomatic boys for another twelve hours. Nor does she drive. The drugs were in one place but the sick baby was in another.
I called a friend, who will hereby be known as W, since she has objected to the pseudonym of Wanda. She came, picked up Lilah’s insurance card, and spoke to me in very calm tones while I hyperventilated before she headed off to CVS,. Where she proceeded to wait for two hours. It seems that the CVS did not have the dosage the doctor had prescribed, nor were they particularly willing to call around looking for it at this time of night. Only when W insisted did they call the doctor to try to work out an alternative.
Finally, at 9:00, W arrived back at my house with capsules for me to split in half and somehow shake the dust into Lilah’s mouth. Whatever. At that point, I would have accepted the medicine dissolved in a large can of Diet Coke.
I took Lilah in yesterday morning for that appointment, where I was informed by the good doctor that, given that it is early October, this is probably not seasonal flu. And, given that the baby responded to Tamiflu, it is probably H1N1. A nasal wash would not be conclusive, as Lilah had already taken two doses of the white powder.
Fanfuckingtastic. Needless to say, I headed right for the preschool and picked up my sons.
Because we caught it early, the Tamiflu is very effective, and after two doses Lilah had stopped sounding like a four-pack-a-day smoker trying to do a triathalon. As of this writing, Benjamin has also begun to show symptoms. His nose was runny and he was coughing deeply, which is usually cause for me to tell him to go get a tissue, but given the circumstances means he, too, is infected. He started on Tamiflu last night.
My au pair is back in the saddle and no longer contagious. Zachary has no symptoms yet, but he is pissed as hell that he cannot go to school just because his brother and sister are sick. Today is Simchas Torah, and there is a big celebration planned. I called all the parents in Benjamin’s class to warn them that if their kids suddenly started with runny noses and deep coughs, they should probably call the doctor. J got back from the East Coast late last night and had to push past the police tape marked “Plague” to get to the front door. I think he slept in contamination gear last night.
And me? Well, my throat is a bit sore and my neck and shoulders ache. But somehow I think that is just as likely exhaustion as anything viral. On the bright side, with all the stress, I have baked three batches of muffins this week. They turned out great, and I’ll post the refined recipes next week. There’s nothing like fresh, home-baked, healthy muffins when you’re sick.
My husband, however, prefers diet soda.