This was the last day of winter break. Whit’s stitches were healing nicely and both kids were having some “screen time” with various Apple products. For some reason I find it charming that Whit’s favorite place to curl up with the ipad is his sister’s bed. Over and over again, left to their own devices, she will pull the beanbag into a corner behind the chair in the family room, and he’ll hop into her bed.
On Thursday, Grace, Whit and I went to the doctor to have his steri-strips removed and to have his scar checked out. Apparently it’s healing great. All I can think is wow that new freckle on his temple shows that I am a little lax about sunscreen. And, frankly, doesn’t it seem medieval that we still fix skin by stitching it together with a needle and thread? And, also, at the same time, miraculous?
Friday afternoon, I had the bags all packed with helmets, skates, snowpants, hats, and gloves, preparing to take Grace, her friend Caroline, and Whit skating after school. Pickup is at 3:00. At 2:30 the phone rang, and I recognized the school number. Never a good thing. I picked up. “Hello?” “Lindsey,” the school nurse’s voice was animated. “Everything’s okay! But I have Whit here, and there was a group of them in the assembly hall, and, well, his scar has split open.” “Um, what?” “Well, do you mind coming to get him? He’s bleeding.”
Bleeding he was, and forlorn, too, when I picked him up. I teased Nurse K about the fact that she always says, “Everything’s okay!” because, well, if she’s calling me during school hours, pretty much something is not okay. Right back to our favorite place, the ER. (aside: thank God for friends I can call and say, hey, do you mind if we skip that whole lovely skating idea and you pick up my daughter instead of the other way around?)
He kind of looks at home there, no? He watched TV – this time in English – while he waited for the numbing cream to set in. Two more stitches, right over the scar line of the first seven.
Visual aid. Again, medieval and miraculous, at the same time.
Sunday morning we finally had our skate. We were the first people at the club when it opened. This is a tennis club in the summer and in the winter they flood the courts and open for outside skating whenever it is cold enough. That’s not that often, actually. Saturday it had snowed on and off all day and during the night too, so there was a light layer of snow on the ice.
Each of us made tracks and I, of course, photographed them.
Monday morning Whit woke up complaining of a sore throat. Assuming he was angling to stay home, and that his throat hurt from the dry air, I took him to school. At 10:30, that same old number on the phone. I picked up. “Hi, Lindsey,” Nurse K said brightly, “I won’t even say everything’s okay.” I laughed. “It’s not. Whit just threw up several times. He has a fever.” I got in the car, grateful yet again that we live a mile from school. When I arrived he was more than forlorn. He was curled up on the bench in Nurse K’s office and looked miserable. We went home and he lay on the couch and fell asleep while I moved all of my afternoon meetings to conference calls and made an appointment with the doctor. Intermittently he woke up to run to the bathroom to throw up, and his fever ran up to 102.
At 1:20 we arrived and while we waited to see the nurse practitioner, Whit fell asleep on the paper-covered examining table. This is definitely a first. He has a raging case of strep and we went straight to CVS to fill his prescription. As we waited in line at the pharmacy he tugged on my sleeve and said, “do you have a bag?” He’d been throwing up into plastic bags in the backseat of the car. I didn’t. We rushed out to the parking lot and I helped him curl over the big public trashcan to throw up. As his little body convulsed in my arms, the cold air raking both of our hair, I wept. My poor little guy. He was in such pain, and in such a public way. What a trooper he was though. We filled his prescription and headed home.
As we drove home I told him I’d cancel my plans to go out to dinner with some friends to celebrate a birthday. “Would you like that, Whit?” I asked, looking back at him clutching the empty CVS plastic bag to his chin. “Well, Mummy,” he answered slowly, “Do you really want to go out?” I caught his eye in the mirror. “Well, if you want me to stay home I’d be happy to do that.” “Well, I’d really like it if you put me to bed tonight,” I saw that he closed his eyes and leaned his head back in his carseat. Of course, little man. Of course. A moment later I asked, “Whit, why did you ask me if I really wanted to go out to dinner?” His eyes opened and he looked at mine in the mirror. “I didn’t want you to be disappointed.” Cue the tears. Again.
He spent the rest of the afternoon sacked out on the couch. That stuffed Santa dog (dubbed Santa Paws by Grace) was given to him at the ER on Christmas Eve and has become a favorite (even coming to the pediatrician’s office). For some reason his little bare legs slay me.
He was already feeling better by bedtime, back to his hilarious wise-cracking self. I must admit, there’s a sweetness to him when sick that I don’t altogether dislike. Still, I wouldn’t mind if we stayed out of the doctor’s office for a while now (though we have to go back on Thursday to have the stitches removed and next week for his 6 year old appointment).