Right now, as I am writing this, I am barely able to sit up, much less get up from the sofa and go into the kitchen to refill my iced coffee. This is because I am in the middle of what has to be the longest, ongoing backache of a lifetime of backaches.
I’ve been in this situation for the better part of two weeks, but it has gotten worse over the last couple of days. The small of my back feels like the Seattle Seahawks defense used me for tackling practice. When I do get up, I have to slowly take baby steps until I’ve warmed up enough to shuffle my way across the living room. I’m like car that you warm up for 20 minutes before you can drive it on a sub-freezing morning.
This isn’t the only ailment affecting me, however. I’ve also picked up a nice, fat cold that in less than 24 hours has gone from being a couple of annoying sneezes at my desk to a non-stop stream on sniffling and snotting, with the cherry on top being a raspy soreness in my chest. I now know what it felt like to be 19th-century consumption patient.
By all rights, I should be soaking in the tub, or laying flat on my back while eating Alleve gelcaps like they were peanut M&M’s. I should be hunkering down in solitude, alone for at least eight hours before anyone else gets home. I should be relaxing.
The little four-year-old sitting at the coffee table in front of me has made sure that relaxing is exactly what I am not going to do today.
That’s because as I was just about to pull my truck into my driveway yesterday, I got a call from my daughter Maddo’s pre-school. She had woken up from her afternoon nap with a 103-degree fever. Kids getting sick at home is bad. Kids getting sick at school, or daycare, is so much worse. Because it means YOU are going to be taking the next day to sit at home and take care of them.
Of course, being sick yourself doesn’t make answering to your daughter’s every question/demand/plea for a lollipop any easier. Especially when she, inevitably, asks over and over for more grapes or a glass of apple juice just when you have sat down in the hopes of getting a bit of rest for you trenchant back.
And since this is me, it never fails that when I get sick, one of my kids has to pull the same thing herself. Just a few weeks ago, I had to take a couple of days off because I came down with a brief fever, which I had picked up from my younger daughter, Little Sis. Did I get the house to myself to lounge around in and spend all day working through my Netflix queue or catch up on the four episodes of “The Simpsons” that are on my DVR? Oh, hell no.
That’s because Little Sis, in her unknowingly selfish way, still wasn’t well enough to go back to her daycare. She still wasn’t eating much, and thus, needed to stay home with me while I hobbled around and ate little more than dry white toast myself and had to keep Disney Jr. or “Dora The Explorer” running through the day just to have a sense of peace around the house. I love the little girl, but come on…Can’t Daddy be sick by himself for once? (And I’m not talking “Shouldn’t have had that fourth margarita last night sick.” I mean legitimately ill.)
I took Maddo to the doctor’s office this morning as my wife wanted me to ask about little girl’s fever, her saying her right ear was hurting, why we all keep getting sick and if there is any explanation why Maddo has woken up about once a week for the past five weeks with a bloody nose.
Of course, by the time we got to the doctor’s office, and paid the $20 co-pay, the kid was as well as Disney Jr. is entertaining. Temperature was normal. No signs of an ear infection. We all keep getting sick because we have two kids in pre-school and daycare and they are coming into contact with dozens of other germ-filled kids and putting everything into their mouths, and Maddo is getting bloody noses not because she’s got a secret cocaine habit and is doing rails in her bed, but because she can’t help but stick her finger up her nose and dig a little too far for boogers. Just like her daddy used to do.
It’s time to put Maddo down for a nap. She’s asked that I pause Disney Jr. so that she doesn’t miss any of her shows and gets her 13 hours of TV a day. I say, “Sure, sweetie!” And as soon as she’s down, I go back to the TV and immediately turn on last night’s episode of “The Deadliest Catch.”
Childish of me? Maybe. Vengeful? You bet. Daddy’s got to do something for himself especially when he can barely lift that TV remote.