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July 2014

Constantly interrupted sleep = the cure for convictions

I had to go back and re read what I'd shared with you about the Cough That Will Never Die, because I have now never slept and my brain is dribbling out my ears.

Seriously. I probably shouldn't be allowed to drive.

Okay. The Cough. Max had The Cough, and was put on antibiotics. Normally I'm heavy on the antibiotic avoidance. The doctors hands me a prescription, and I say "um...maybe we'll wait a few days and see?" It actually kind of drives the kids' pediatrician nuts. We have an understanding. His part of the understanding is that I'm annoying. I can live with that.

But this time, when the doctor handed me the prescription, I was in a small panic about it possibly being whooping cough, so I filled that puppy and Max took the first dose in the car on the way home. And lo, he felt better! Right away! It was a Z-pack, which sounds all snappy and effective, doesn't it?

Then Sophia got sick, and we toddled back to the doctor's office, and left with an antibiotic prescription. Not the same one Max got, but whatevs, am I right?

No, I am not right. Because Sophia's antibiotics didn't work. She just kept not getting better. Then she spiked a fever. Then she got worse. BACK to the doctor. Apparently this is probably mycoplasma? Which is often responsible for pneumonia? And does not feel the least bit threatened by the antibiotic Sophia got, but is wiped out by a Z-pack?

So now she's on the stuff, and then Raphael got so suddenly sick that I took him into the doctor during their SUNDAY office hours (the doc on call showed us a picture his wife texted him while he was examining Raphi, of his kids at the pool without him. Nice), and now he's on the mighty Z-pack too. My dad's on the same stuff. Tre is coughing, but swears he's fine. Someone has been coughing and/or throwing up all night for the last...thousand years, I think.

And within the course of a week and a half, I am entirely converted from someone who would rather avoid antibiotics at all costs, to someone who would really like to pick up an extra strength 25-dose super Z pack at Costco, and just dose everyone I know. Maybe make a room mister? Antibiotics for everyone!

And that, my friends, is what a couple of weeks of constantly interrupted sleep will do for you. 

Don't I mind?

Tre went to his recently former high school today, to obtain an electronic copy of his transcript. He was irritated that he had to drive all the way over there, that the office staff couldn't just get him a copy when he called.

"Well, to be fair," I said, "most people aren't requesting copies of their transcripts right now. Most people are done applying to colleges."

"Yeah, I guess that's true," he grudgingly allowed.

And why, you may wonder, isn't Tre done applying to colleges? Tre has been accepted, granted a scholarship, signed up for a dorm room and scheduled to arrive in two weeks for orientation at ASU. Why would he be applying to colleges?

Because Tre is very seriously considering going to college in Turkey. 

I told a friend of mine about it today, a fellow mom whose son is a few years younger than Tre and was also on the (World class) robotics team this year. She sucked in her breath and then sat silent for a moment.

"Are you going to LET him DO THAT?" she finally said.

"I...don't have to let him. He's doing it." I answered. 

I've gotten this reaction several times. Is that wise? people ask. Right NOW? You don't MIND?

I think about their questions as Tre works his way through paperwork. Is it wise? I don't know. I don't think that's as easy a question to answer as you might think. Is he statistically more likely to be in mortal danger in Turkey? Possibly. Probably. Maybe. I don't know, and neither do you. But I've never trusted statistics to protect my children anyhow.

Right now? Yes, now is when he's going to college. Right now. The days slip past us and this summer, already not-new, is all I have left of his childhood. Right now. Do not think I'm under reacting. Don't imagine you know what happens in my heart when I realize all I have left are weeks. A handful of days. I am not crying every day, or even most days, but my eyes are never dry. Right now. The finish line is in sight. Now. 

I don't mind? Oh, I mind. I mind it all. But I also feel a surreal peace, for now. This is actually not my decision. I am a consultant, but this is his own life. I mind, but the only thing worse would be for it to be up to me. I want him to make the right choices, but even more I want him to make his own choices. 

I don't know what's going to happen. Tonight, the sun has gone down and the heat slipped out of the sky, and the air breathing in through the window is soft and cool. I can hear Tre downstairs, rustling around. He doesn't have to work in the morning, so I suppose he'll stay up too late, then sleep in ridiculously long in the morning. I listen to the sound of him. I don't tell him to go to bed, but it's not because I don't care. 

I care. 

Oversharing. Sorry.

So remember the cough Max had? Well, it wasn't whooping cough. You knew that, right? Max was trundled off to camp, and all was well.

Except of course, Sophia has the same not-whooping-cough, and please kill me now. Because the cough is now causing her to gag. And throw up. She's not that adept at throwing up, and she doesn't like it (go figure), so she tends to clap her hand to her mouth, causing a spew-out-the edges reaction. And then she offers me a handful of vomit. No. No,thank you. I'll have none.

Or she coughs in her sleep. And gags. And throws up. But doesn't wake up. So I hear her from the other room, and come flying to her bedside to find her snoozing in a puddle of puke. And she does not appreciate clean up.

All I really do these days is laundry. Except when it's time to sleep, and then all I do is spring out of bed at the slightest rustle of a cough, shoving towels, bowls, and fervent prayers at my sleeping girlchild. It got so bad that I took her into the doctor's office, and let them put her on antibiotics. She's been on the drugs for three full days now, and she responded tonight by...spiking a 102 degree fever and falling asleep on the couch in the middle of the afternoon. What GOOD is it, resorting to the Devil Antibiotic, if it's not even going to HELP? 

So that's my story these days! I'm sorry to subject you to it. What's up with you? How many times can you wash a down pillow (The Comfy Pillow) before it disintegrates? Let's share.

Summer tiiiiime...and the livin' is...oh. Never mind. *UPDATED*

This week has been pretty relaxed. We needed it, after the wall-to-wall business of last week. Yikes. I tend to think of this sort of week as being "regular summer days" even though not much of summer is very much like this. This weekend we're taking Max to camp, he'll be gone for two weeks, then we take Raphael down for two weeks. Run run run. 

So anyhow, this week has been fairly chill.

Until Max stopped breathing.

Early this morning, about 1:30, he staggered into our room and flipped on the light. When that didn't wake us, he pounded his hand on my desk, so I leapt out of bed and ran over to him. He was gasping for air, eyes huge. The breath he managed to pull in whistled in his throat.

Clay ushered him over to the sink, because it looked like he was trying to throw up. He stood there, gagged and gasped, hunched over the sink. I patted his back helpfully, thinking things like "This will stop any second. This has to stop. This will stop." and "Clay could probably give him a tracheotomy if he had to. I'm just betting that's something he could do."

And then I got hot all over, and everything went black and white checkerboard, so I decided to sit down on the floor, and help that way.

Max threw up a little. Gasped a little. And then...he could breathe. 

He could breathe. 

I sat on the floor and blinked up at him as he spit in the sink and breathed. I asked both Clay and Max later how long they thought the episode lasted. Clay guessed two to four minutes. Max said a year. It was somewhere around in that general vicinity.

He's had a cough, you see. For a couple of weeks at least, this awful cough that's been getting better. Now Raphi and Sophia have it too, but other than the hacking cough, it hasn't been that bad. No fever, no other symptoms at all. Just an annoying cough that makes our house sound like a TB ward at night. But last night, Max started coughing and his throat decided to contribute to the proceedings by locking down.

So as you can imagine, we toddled off to the doctor's office today. Doctor looked in his throat, listened to his lungs, had us tell her the story a couple of times, then looked at me and said, "Well. I think we need to have him tested for whooping cough."

Did you catch the part, earlier, about him leaving for camp this weekend? Yeah. Not so much, if he's got whooping cough. Public health officials are Very Serious about that. He already started antibiotics, so even if it is whooping cough, he'll be good to go by tuesday, but the director of the camp is kind of wench, and I don't know if she'll let him come. And yes, "heartless wench" is the most polite way to describe her I could come up with. Yes, it was.

Anyhow, the doctor sent us off to Children's Hospital for a whooping cough test. We walked in the door and told the nice lady behind the desk what we were there for, and she shrank back, just a tiny little bit. "Okay!" she said, just a little too brightly, "See those yellow face masks in that box right there? Why don't we have him put one one - and how about Mom puts one on too? GREAT! And I'm going to put one on! FABULOUS!"

They hustled us back to a room, where a fully gowned respiratory therapist came in to do the test. This turns out to be a nasal swab, which Max assures me is actually more like a nasal stabbing. If it does turn out to be whooping cough, we'll be quarantined, and EVERYONE gets to go in for testing and to have antibiotics. 

I would like to apologize in advance, if it is whooping cough, to all the people who have been in our house in the last few weeks. And the people they've seen since. So. I'm sorry to the entire state of Colorado. And Georgia. Heh. And Arizona. And Washington. Oh lord. And North Dakota. Feeling a little woozy again.

Fun fact: one of the shots Sophia got on Monday? Was for whooping cough! HA! HA HA! So. That was good.

I don't really mind about the rest of the nonsense that comes along with a whooping cough diagnosis, but I don't want Max to miss camp. I really really don't. Bah. Out of my hands. Also, I would like him to be able to breathe. At all times.

So to sum up: substantially older today than yesterday. Feeling guilty about all the people who have been coughed on by my children over the last few weeks. Really really really hoping it's not whooping cough.




Randomness, smoked ice edition

I just read something on a cooking website that urged me to transform my cocktails with smoked ice, and now I'm pretty sure the internet is just making fun of me. 

Smoked ice. That's not a thing.

Sophia had a checkup yesterday, and you'll be pleased to know that although she's holding steady at the 8th percentile, she has SOARED all the way up to the 10th percentile in height. I know! She's so big! For a garden gnome or something!

She also got one shot in each leg, which she responded to with steely silence. If I hadn't been holding her, I wouldn't have felt the frisson run through her. She had brought Max along as her security object, and she clutched his hand and stared at the nurse as though she were possibly plotting the demise of her entire village. It was pretty awesome. 

Then her leg started to ache, so she dragged Mom's old orthopedic boot out and wore it all afternoon. I fail to see how a large, plastic boot that comes up to her upper thigh and weighs nearly as much as she does could be soothing to a sore leg, but I'm assured that I am wrong, and it helps.

Also, she needs to gain another 4 pounds before she can be moved out of the car seat and into a booster. She is in despair about this, because on our scale at home, she weighed in a full pound heavier. When the nurse mentioned that she was only four pounds away, she whipped around to me and whisper/shrieked, "FOUR? FOUR POUNDS?"

Heads will roll. Maybe next time she should wear the boot for weigh in!

However, the scale fiasco can only work in my favor, because I assume that means our home scale is hopelessly wonky, and when I work out the complicated equation to figure out what I actually weigh, it turns out I must be a size four. My pants are just wrong, but that's because they don't know math. 

IS smoked ice a thing? Would you put it in YOUR drink? 

Raphael buzzed his green hair off, and is left with the merest shadow of green. In certain lights, he looks a little like he's molding. 

Also, he is now 13. He turned 13 on Friday the 13th, under a full moon. I now have three teen aged sons in the house. Insert joke about our food bills here. 

And that's WITHOUT the smoked ice.

Life is funny

Mir and her family were here this weekend. Her whole family, staying in my house with almost my whole family (Tre came home from Turkey Monday night, and they left Tuesday morning). It was, as you can imagine, a house chock-ful! Full of people, full of noise, full of love. Full of cups. We all appear to be heavy drinkers, even if it is of the stay-hydrated sort of heavy drinkers. It was lovely. 

At one point Mir and I mused for a few minutes about blogging, and what makes it so very difficult to DO these days. Part of it, we agreed, was having teens with bigger issues that just aren't as easy to talk about as potty training. Some if it isn't for sharing here at all. And part of it is the fact that those teens never ever ever go to bed (and also never ever ever get up in the morning - I'll let you figure out how that works), and so the hallowed quiet evening writing time is gone, baby, gone. 

Mostly, I think it's that life is so noisy. So many people, so much stuff to do. It's hard to get a moment to think about it all, as it whips past, much less compose a post about it. If once my life consisted of a rapid paced series of vignettes, now it comes at me like I'm trying to take a sip out of a fire hose. 

And then, all of a sudden, Mir and her people left this morning. My kids and I are bereft, wandering around the dishevelled house and being fractious with each other. Tre is mostly still jet lagged. Oh, and he works at 6 AM tomorrow, which is an excellent plan.

To top it all off, tonight Clay is working, because he was on call and everything he works with responded by breaking. It's almost 11 PM, haven't seen him since 6 AM, and I don't know when I will. Despite the fact that he's out there, working relentlessly, and I'm here at home, with all the comforts therein, this still leaves me feeling miserable and abandoned. I mean, after all, I don't really like any of the ice cream in the house. The struggle is real.

There is so much happening in my life right now. Raphael turns 13 on Friday. And on the same day Clay and I will be getting married in the Church so I can finally get all Catholic and stuff. Tre is seriously considering going to college in Turkey, which I am entirely sanguine about. As one would expect. Sweet Carmi is working on dying, which is cosmically unfair. I moved the new baby chicks (who are now not-so-new adolescent chickens) outside today, and I'm almost entirely certain they will be fine, which turns out not to be the same thing as actually entirely certain. 

What I'm saying is that my head is buzzing with things to think about, things to say. And for once, the house is conspicuously quiet (although Max did just come downstairs. AGAIN). Sometimes I feel like I have much to say, and no time to say it. And then other times, in an unexpected lull, I step up to the microphone here, and find I hardly know what to say. Life is funny.

I miss my own voice though. I think I'll keep trying. Again.

(On a not-so-side note - is anyone interested in me finishing the series about how Clay and I fell in love?)