Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Someone to Watch Over Me

Okay, can I just say something? I am really ready to be rid of this cold. I woke up with a stopped-up ear and it's still stopped and painful after a hot shower. I was up during the night, taking care of the kiddo. He's on the mend, but is still having a few coughing fits during the night. Not too much coughing, if any, during the day, however. Tomorrow he has an eye doctor appointment that I made a while ago. Since making that appointment, the kiddo ruptured a little blood vessel in his eye when he was coughing and throwing up last week, so we'll have that checked as well, although I'm sure it'll resolve on its own.

But back to me. I am cranky. I have work to do and I feel crummy. I wish someone would come over and take care of me for a while.

Okay, back to reality, where editing and demanding clients await. I just popped two extra-strength Tylenol and am about to take a decongestant in the hope that it'll reduce the pressure in my ear. I'm feeling much more sympathetic toward my dad and his lifelong ear troubles. He's almost deaf in one ear, so when he gets sick, he can't hear much, if at all.

On the bright side, it's sunny out today and there's food in the house, so I don't have to worry about that. I called the urgent care facility that I saw on Sunday, and asked if the doctor could write me a prescription without my coming in. I know you medical professionals love that. ;^) But I just can't take the added expense of another doctor visit right now. (They're going to call me back, but it doesn't look great.) Okay, now I'm just making myself sad. Off to take the decongestant and hope for the best. It's times like this that I wish I were married, or maybe not an adult. I want to be looked after for today.

*** Update: Well, the doctor (the one I saw on Sunday) called me back earlier today. We spoke, he looked at my file, and he phoned in a couple of prescriptions for me. I may be a little in love with him now because of this. Regardless, I picked up a prescription for an antibiotic and took the first dose before leaving the pharmacy. On the way out, the kiddo and I ran into his teacher, who was also sick and had had foot surgery last week. It was nice to see her, and I was glad I'd showered. Tonight I'm wrapping up some work and will be going to bed very soon. Tomorrow the kiddo has that appointment with the eye doctor, and we'll need to be out of the house by about 8:15. No lollygagging allowed tomorrow morning (although I may do a bit of it when we get back home). ***

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Thank You

Thank you to everyone who has wished us well with this latest series of illnesses, both mine and my son's. I'm not always good at responding individually to everyone who comments, but I want you to know that all your kind words, both on this blog and off, do have an effect on me, and I appreciate you guys so much -- lurkers included. :-)

My eye is doing a bit better tonight. I got to the urgent care center right when it opened at 8:00 a.m., then had to wait around at the pharmacy until it opened at 10:00 a.m. By 11:00 I was on my way home with the goods. I gave myself a dose of antibiotics, called my son's dad to see if he could hang onto the kiddo for an extra day (he could), and took a couple of naps, putting more drops in my eye in between. My cold is still going gangbusters, but I think that tonight I'll be able to sleep better, now that I don't have to worry about getting up to hit the urgent care in the morning. *yawn*

Anyway, you guys are awesome. I hope you're all staying well, or at least getting better (for those of you whom [who? I'm too tired to figure this one out at the moment] I know are sick).

Now...Nyquil and bedtime. Nighty-night...


Nope, not the kiddo. Me. Fabulous. I was out all day yesterday, and I went to a movie last night. During the movie, my eye started tearing (or so I thought), but soon afterward it was just all red and cruddy -- and still is! So guess where I'll be going. On a Sunday. And to top it off, I've got a cold.

At least my son is now on antibiotics and recovering nicely at his dad's house. He's due back in the morning, but I think I'd better call over there early and ask if he can stay for a while longer. I'd rather just deal with a cold than this eye thing. It's so uncomfortable. I haven't had this since I was a kid! :-/

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Asthma, Schmasthma

We took the kiddo to the doctor again today because he was coughing nonstop and finally vomited blood. :-( I requested a different doctor than the one we saw on Tuesday because I don't believe the asthma diagnosis was correct, as the inhaler wasn't helping one bit. You know how some doctors have their own agenda before even seeing the patient? That's the vibe I was getting with the previous doc. Well, the second doctor tapped all over the kiddo's chest and said he heard a squeak in one part of his lungs, which he thinks is walking pneumonia. He prescribed antibiotics and ordered a chest X-ray. (The kiddo also had a fever of 101, even with acetaminophen.)

We got the X-ray (different facility) and the radiologist says he didn't see an infiltration (?), but the pediatrician called this evening and said to still give the kiddo the antibiotics and come back in 10-12 days so he can listen to his lungs again. (He'd already said the infiltration might not show up on the X-ray.) I feel much better about this approach, but then I might be one of those "antibiotics people," so who knows? The kiddo's dad wants to consult with an ayurvedic doctor regarding immunity and prevention, so I agreed to a consultation only. Somehow the thought of sending the kid to an acupuncturist or loading him up with weird herbs seems extreme, but I will go to the consultation.

The kiddo finally started getting hungry after the X-ray, but then fell asleep when we met back up with his dad to eat and get the prescriptions he'd chased down. The kiddo is so, so tired; we got home not long ago, and he promptly fell into bed and fell asleep immediately. I have a feeling that he'll be a lot better tomorrow. I wish we hadn't wasted our time with that useless asthma diagnosis (and expensive meds/inhaler), but at least now I feel much better about where this is going, and I feel much more optimistic now that the kiddo is able to sleep without coughing. As y'all know, it's amazingly hard to see one's child sick, but I feel like we're on the right path now. :-)

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Well, Yeah, We Have Drugs (Just Not That Kind)

A few months ago I got a new cell phone to use only for emergencies, and not for casual chatting. When I gave my new number to my son's dad, I told him to call it only if the kiddo got sick or injured and they needed to get in touch with me. Because of this, as you might imagine, it's very unusual for the phone to ring.

However, I swear, in the three months that I've had this phone, I've received more wrong-number calls than I can count. Some of these people have called so often that I've programmed their numbers into the phone and given them a special "wrong number" ring so I can at least know I don't need to answer the call. I've also looked up several of these numbers on switchboard.com and mapquest.com and discovered that a handful of them belong to addresses close to the prison near the border. My son's dad used to work there as a psychotherapist, and we saw the outside of the facility once. Creepy. Guards with guns stationed on the rooftops. Prime real estate and beautiful sunsets, however, if you're not locked in a cell.

As a side note, and for whatever it's worth, when I've given in and answered any of these calls, the voice on the other end is never a native English speaker. That's not necessarily significant, given the area I live in -- just one more piece of information. It is interesting, however, that none of the answered calls or voicemails (yes, I've listened to those, too) have ever been from native English speakers. Not sure what to make of that. I guess I'd have thought there would be at least a few native English speakers scattered in there somewhere. The voicemails are usually open lines with Spanish being spoken in the background, and the callers who get through to me ask me who I am. I tell them they've reached a wrong number and ask them to please not call my number any more.

Recently I told my sister-the-shrink about the profusion of wrong numbers and the unsettling fact that so many of them are coming from an area just down the road from the prison. Her response: "Maybe you got a drug dealer's old number...?"

Hmm. Hadn't considered that. Whether she's right or wrong, though, I think it's time for a new number.


In other news, the kiddo is coughing in his sleep, so the only drugs anyone will be getting from this house are children's cold medicine and Tylenol. About an hour ago, he woke up to go to the bathroom and wash his face because his eye "was hard to open" because of some discharge. I considered the possibility that it was an allergy thing (thanks, Mary!), but he's never had this problem before and we've lived next to a field for the past three years, so I doubt that's it. (I, however, have allergies in the spring when the beautiful wildflowers start to bloom.) He does have a cold but, again, he hasn't had this problem with past colds. It's still not as extreme as pinkeye cases I've seen, but I think we have a trip to the doctor on our schedule for today. And I think the kiddo will be staying home.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Two Households, Two Mindsets

I'm involved in one of those frustrating parenting situations that I'm sure married couples experience, but which is made more difficult by the fact that my son's dad and I parent from separate households.

On Friday morning, as I was getting the kiddo ready for school, I saw that his eyes looked a little red. I wasn't sure if they were just irritated from the dust kicked up at the previous day's tee-ball game, or if this was the onset of pinkeye, so I gave him a bath and a shower (he loves to rinse off in the shower), called his dad to let him know what I'd seen, and decided to take him to school. I visited him at school right after lunch, to see if his eyes were getting better or worse. They looked more or less the same, or possibly a teensy bit better -- it was hard to tell. His dad picked him up after school and said he would monitor the situation.

All sorts of contagious diseases float around the kiddo's school, as they would any other school; I swear, since the kiddo started kindergarten, he's had more colds and coughs than he ever had in the preceding years combined. I'm sure the sore throat I've been enjoying this week is due to my time working with the kindergarteners. Prior to this year, I think I got about one cold a year, usually around Christmas. Now it seems I get one every few weeks.

Anyway, since the kiddo is at his dad's for the weekend, I called him this morning to see how his eyes were doing, and to see if we needed to take him to the doctor. I have to explain that I'm not being particularly neurotic here. My behavior is based largely on what happened back when the kiddo had strep throat. He'd developed the symptoms of strep at his dad's house on a Saturday, and although I told his dad that a contagious disease report had been sent home from school, saying the kids had been exposed to strep, his dad minimized the situation and didn't take the kiddo to the doctor. As a result, when the kiddo came home that Monday morning, his throat was all swollen and he had rashes all over his body, as well as a fever. I took him to the doctor and guess what it was? STREP. So my goal this weekend with the eye thing is to prevent that sort of situation from happening again, in which my son's dad minimizes an illness and the kiddo has to suffer all weekend, and then a full-blown illness lands in my lap come Monday.

And don't even get me started on the time the kiddo swallowed a lollipop stick while in his dad's care.

So this morning when I called my son's dad, he said the kiddo's eyes were looking great, weren't red at all, and had no discharge. This afternoon, I went to the kiddo's tee-ball game, took a look at his eyes and they were a little red, with a little yellow discharge in the corner of one eye. I should mention that my son's dad does not see well up close. He had laser eye surgery to correct his vision a few years ago, and now needs reading glasses to see up close. On certain occasions, when he's been in a good mood and I've needed him to read something, I've offered to hold the item across the room to make it easier on him. Like any self-respecting fifty-four-year-old, he loves this. ;^) I, on the other hand, am nearsighted (meaning I need glasses in order to see far), so when I take off my glasses, I can see every little detail of my son's face with microscopic clarity. And his eyes were still red. (Earlier this morning, my son's dad had laughed when I asked if the capillaries in the kiddo's eyes were still inflamed, but that's how I see them.)

I mentioned to my son's dad that we should probably take the kiddo to the local urgent care center to have them look at his eyes and possibly prescribe an antibiotic. My son's dad told the kiddo we were going "because *Mommy* thinks we should go." (Whatever. I gave up long ago on hoping for even a hint of a united front.) When we got to the urgent care center, the place was packed, and my son's dad started talking about how he didn't want to wait in the room for two hours while the kiddo was exposed to "all the germs in the waiting room." I said I thought we should stay, so we could get the kiddo's eyes checked and start making them better, and I got The Stare in return. I mentioned the strep weekend, and he misunderstood and said he didn't think the kiddo had strep. (So, yes, I explained what I meant.) He was paying, and it was "his" weekend, so I felt like I had less control than I should have had, and I was very frustrated.

Finally I asked him to please bring the kiddo back in the morning if his eyes were still red, and although he said he would do so, I have a feeling he'll ignore or just "not see" any symptoms. I left the waiting room feeling very upset and frustrated, and wondering if I was doing the right thing. I had to get out of there before I started saying things I might regret, but I did tell my son's dad I was super-annoyed by the whole situation, which confused my son and had no visible effect on my son's dad. He's like a stone wall a lot of the time.

Anyway, I'm going to see what happens tomorrow (Sunday), but my gut feeling is that my son's dad will do nothing about the situation, and on Monday I'll be taking a kid with a full-blown case of pinkeye to the doctor, and the kid will miss school for a day or two. I may just ask my son's dad to bring the kiddo to the pediatrician's office on Monday. If the kiddo's eyes are better by then, I'll just take him to school from there, and if they're not better, we'll at least be at the doctor's office already.

I realize I may sound like I'm making more of this than I need to. For me, the whole thing rides on my history with my son's dad, and the way he has always behaved with me, even before the kiddo was born. I have always felt that I have a lot of practical knowledge when it comes to childcare, having been the oldest in my family and thus having seen and practiced a lot of conscientious childcare in my own family, as well as in the numerous families for whom I babysat. My son's dad's approach is alternately "suck it up" or "try every trendy New Age herb at the healthfood store." We are so not on the same page, and it's frustrating. I do realize that there's a place for the "suck it up" approach, and I do practice that with the kiddo in regard to daily bumps and bruises (he gets a band-aid [if necessary], a hug and "go back and play now"). When it comes to more serious stuff that requires antibiotics, I want to be on top of it. Part of me wonders if I should have insisted that we stay at the urgent care today; it would've been hard, because the kiddo didn't want to to be there, so I would've had two oppositional people to deal with. Maybe I should insist on taking him there tomorrow. That gets tricky, though, because technically that's my son's dad's time and I can't just go over there and take the kiddo someplace.

I hate this two-household thing so much I cry over it a lot. I also realize that pinkeye isn't the end of the world, and at the very least, I'll have the kiddo back on Monday so I can handle the situation as I think it should be handled. And I know that the kiddo is getting older and easier to take care of (in the sense that he's getting better at recognizing and reporting his own symptoms when he's sick, instead of my having to play detective), so that's reassuring. I just wish I didn't have to deal with his dad and all that entails, because it's so very hard to be in disagreement so much of the time, and not always have the ability to take matters into my own hands.

This is very hard to explain, but maybe other separated or divorced moms will understand it best. Maybe tomorrow will be better. I'm so tired right now.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Yet Another Girlfriend

My son wants a piece of paper. "So I can draw a picture for B.," he tells me. "Actually, she told me to make it for her."


I tell him he can have some paper, but that he doesn't have to draw a picture unless he really wants to. He wants to. "Because if I don't, B. won't be very happy tomorrow," he says.

Hmph. I'd brought the kiddo's lunch to school today and sat with him and B. She hadn't struck me as a pushy broad, but I'd been wrong before.

So now the kiddo is on the floor, drawing a picture of him and B., all smiles, coloring more than I've ever seen him color before. "B. said I should put three hearts on it, but maybe I'll put more. Maybe I'll put ten," he tells me.

I hope B. likes my son's picture. (If I don't keep it for myself, that is.) ;-)

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Is It Bad If I Put Gin in My Thermos?

Phew. It's my day to volunteer in the kiddo's kindergarten class and I'm home for lunch. This morning I stayed in the classroom with M. and S. while the others went to the assembly, because the kids hadn't finished their project. It was a very challenging time. M. has some emotional problems and S. is a little instigator. I was actually a little bit scared that M. was going to flip out on me; he's large and strong for a kindergartner, and very impulsive and emotional.

I felt like a broken record: "Oh, I see S. is making good choices! I think M. is about to make some good choices, too! Oh, M. is making good choices! I bet S. is just about to make a good choice...M., please put the stick away. S., please do not spank M. Please sit in your chair. Oh, you're almost finished with your project! Good gluing! M., please stay in the classroom. Stay in the classroom. Do not go outside. Stay in the classroom. Are you making good choices, M.? S., you're only in charge of yourself. Please do not tell M. what to do. No, nobody is a poopy butt here. I see only good boys. Good job! Who's making good choices here?"

Shoot me now.