Sick Mommy = Grumpy Mommy. It’s pretty guaranteed. The problem is, the boys haven’t figured this out yet. As in, “you know, Mom doesn’t seem to be feeling well….perhaps we should just be really nice little angels for a couple days.” Nope, instead it seems to be, “hmmm, funny how Mommy can’t talk much right now and definitely can’t yell at us, so….”
So….it’s been a long week….from my perspective. Mostly, the problem is the energy level. When I first get a cold, I don’t feel like doing anything…including entertain kids for a few hours and argue with them about going to bed. I’ve been trying to be very low maintenance this week. So when I picked up the boys after a late meeting on Thursday evening and Micah said “let’s go to McDonalds; I want a hamburger,” I didn’t even question it. No cooking? Perfect. And you want to watch a short TV show afterwards – even better. Okay, now get to bed.
Finally by this afternoon, I was noticing a return of my energy. By 6 o’clock when I looked over at the couch, and saw Noah sitting upright completely asleep, I was thrilled. I could get an early run in. Usually I can get the other two to sleep and then I try to find a way to entertain Noah while I run on the treadmill. (Sometimes this involves his favorite treat of sitting on the floor and watching a video on the iPad, but usually it involves telling him to find some toys and then yelling at him every few minutes to “get away” and “don’t touch the treadmill.” Definitely not a peaceful way to exercise!)
Tonight though was golden – I’d have all my boys to bed by 7:15 and get to running early. And I did…it’s just that Noah then woke up at 7:24 crying that his eye was still hurting him. The boys are big fans of “playing” football at the same time that the Steelers play. This usually involves their aunt throwing around the ball and all of them screaming and yelling and diving for the ball…. and me yelling “hey, I’m trying to watch the game here!” Well, at one point in the chaos, Stephen’s hand hit Noah’s eye. He cried, I comforted him, the game continued.
But now, two hours later, he was crying again about his eye – definitely not a good sign. I gave him some advil…and looked up the hours for the express medical center on my phone as I rocked him. Hmmm, open until 8….time now 7:35….off we go.
Mind you, I am a doctor. And the last thing a doctor wants 5 minutes before the end of their shift as they set their eyes on home is a new patient. But here we are. And I’m feeling really bad about it (and hoping they are not thinking that I’m a really callous mother who kept telling her boy – oh you’re fine – until the end of the Steeler game and then, whoosh, into the car and off to the doctor’s!! Just because the timing is suspiciously similar, doesn’t mean that’s what I was doing).
Noah was a brave boy and turns out he does have a pretty nasty corneal abrasion (small tear to the cornea). So, I felt justified for having to keep the doctors and nurses late and felt terrible for Noah in all that pain and with a mother telling him, “shhhh, you’re fine.”
I got him tucked back to sleep around 9 and headed down to the only 24 pharmacy
around. It’s a pretty unique experience in the heart of Oakland on a Sunday evening. A homeless man sits at the edge of the parking lot asking you to bring something on your way out. I pass by a woman in her pajamas picking up her medications, the college student sitting in the magazine aisle leaning against her backpack and reading an assortment of magazines spread upon the floor. I get in line right before a tattoo-clad, earlobe-drooping young man and stand behind a very distressed woman trying to get a prescription for birth control. She’s having trouble making sense of the fact that her prescription is at another pharmacy and they’re closed and the pharmacist can’t do anything for her and even if he called the doctor, they probably wouldn’t care. She’s spiraling into irrational frustration when I step in to say “sorry to bother you, but I am a doctor, and yes, he’s telling the truth.” I somehow say the right words, she leaves, the pharmacist thanks me, the tattoo man concurs that the emergency room is way too busy tonight and she wouldn’t want to go there but he had to get his seizure meds which ran out and he wants to get his drivers’ license so he needs his meds so he doesn’t have a seizure…..and I am just thrilled when they call my name and I can take some drops home to my son and pray that they will guard his eye against an infection.
And I sit here now thinking about how thankful I am. That I could jump in my car and take my son for medical care and my sister doesn’t even flinch when I yell upstairs that I’m leaving. That I do know where the 24-hour pharmacy is and can get to it even if it is a strange place at night. That Noah is safe and back in bed (and I’m praying will sleep through the night). And that despite my stuffy nose, I am not too sick anymore and shall try not to be grumpy with any of the boys tomorrow. But it certainly is always something.