Next Stop: Batty

Hangin' by a thread, here. I'm just sayin'.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Pox Revisited

(Republished from 2006 because you didn't read it the first time, did you? Hmmm???)

Chicken Pox, Baby! We thought we had thwarted them with the miracle of modern medicine, and then they showed up anyway, ready to PAR-TAY! Taylor, then 7, told me her ear itched. Well, lots of people's ears itch from time to time, don't they? I mean, is it written in the Good Mommy handbook that you have to drop everything every time one of your kids has an ITCH? Lord, when I THINK of all the things that have itched around here...

So, her ear itched. I didn't think much of it. Next day, it still itched. I looked at it. It was red. I slathered stuff on it. Next day, the other ear itched. "What we have here," I announced, "Is an allergic reaction to some new shampoo, soap, or hat." Taylor gently reminded me that we didn't have new shampoo, new soap, or a new hat. But since the alternative theory was that my ear-scratchin' daughter had fleas, some part of me chose the allergy theory; it had a nice, clean ring to it. Slathered stuff on the offending ears -- with love. And, ummm... sent her to school. (Oh, stuff it -- like YOU never made a mistake in YOUR life!)

I did actually plan to pick her up early from school and take her in to the doctor that afternoon, but the doctor's office put me on hold, and I couldn't go into Target without losing the connection, so... I hung up on the doctor and chose Target. Hey! I was on hold for a long time, Sister! I was on hold so long that by the time I got the appointment, I bet school would have been over anyway. I mean, rashes come and rashes go, but those end-of-season sales are a get-'em-while-supplies-last kind of a thing. Wrapping paper, 99 cents. See my position?

Next day, ears itching, neck and face itching, doctor can see us at 11:45.

Here's the problem with doctors today: they make so much money, you can't even BRIBE them anymore. I mean, I offered that doctor $50 NOT to tell me it was chicken pox and she LAUGHED at me! Very funny. And what about your nice VACCINE, Doc...HMMMM? What the heck happened? And by the way, I'm no expert, but those don't even LOOK like Chicken Pox to me. Don't you think it could be some sort of allergic reaction...maybe to a...hat?

The problem with doctors today is they think they're some sort of EXPERT.

It's never a good sign when they fumigate the exam room after you leave and tape that yellow CAUTION stuff over the door.

So, it turned out that everyone on the PLANET but me knew that innoculated kids can still get the Pox. A watered-down version, though. Remember when WE had it? You know what the average number of lesions was? 300 to 400. Holy avian itchies! I can still smell the Calamine. Taylor only had 20 or so. She was still very uncomfortable and I still felt bad for her, but I had to fight like hell not to say, "You call that the CHICKEN POX?! Hah! That's nothing. I SPIT on your chicken pox! When I had it, I was so itchy, Nana wrapped my hands with duct tape and chained me to the bed to keep me from scratching! And we didn't have your Cherry Flavored Benedryl, either. No! We didn't need no stinkin' Benedryl. It was hell. I still have the scars. Wanna see them?"

So, there we were. Kid felt fine except for the itchin', yet she was contageous as all hell and I guessed as a responsible adult, I was supposed to make that MY problem and keep her home from school all week. That's what the doctor said (despite a SECOND generous offer of cold hard cash). If you ask me, this is why the vaccine was developed in the first place: to save us from having to stay home with our infected kids. And here was the rub (or the scratch) -- we were really just stuck with each other, she and I. No playdates. No restaurants. No errands. No Blockbuster. No trips to the liquor store to get mommy some good stiff stuff. No, little miss Typhoid Taylor was quarrantined and therefore, pass the Ben and Jerry's, so was I.

Actually, at the time, Super Pox Girl had a crunchy, lefty, Waldorf school and natural fibers mommy who almost never let her watch TV (I told her it rotted her brain while I counted the hours until I could plop my widening ass and fully rotted brain in front of that week's Project Runway.) Anyway, she was MAJORLY tv-deprived, so all I had toen do was declare open season, and that Partridge Family lunchbox on ebay could've be MINE before I heard from her again.

EXCEPT... by Tuesday, she was TV cranky, and by Wednesday, she was done...D-O-N-E... with tv, computer, playing in the street, etc. Now, this seven-year-old was generally wonderful. She was a joy. She listened and behaved and all that other stuff which will no doubt contribute to her body-piercing, pot smoking REBELLION later on. So, I liked having her around. The problem was she didn't really like having ME around. Well, that's not quite right. She liked me. I was her Mommy. I smeared stuff on her Pox and made her grilled cheese -- AGAIN. But she was, like, REALLY SMART (not enough TV), and keeping her occupied meant having to be able know... THINK and stuff. Who wanted to do THAT day in and day out?

I tried. I really did. I got her some new...what do you call those things?...BOOKS. I broke out a new LEGO set I had been saving for that someone-has-an-oozing-communicable-virus kind of a day. These new LEGOs, by the way! SO COOL! There are all sorts of tiny two-way hinges and ORANGE pieces and eyes and WINGS. Love 'em. We played with those until we hated them. We looked up ATOMS and MOLECULES on the internet because she wanted to know if atoms were really moving around in our Silestone counter top. And really...WHO THE HELL KNOWS? I mean, I GUESS so. Atoms are the building blocks of life -- or the circle of life (no, that's Disney)...or the building blocks of matter...or of manmade kitchen surfaces, I suppose. It broke my heart to see her give up on her mommy's lame-ass explanation and resort to staring at the countertop, hoping to catch an atom moving. We made Jell-o. We took the dog for a walk and squinted against the sun as we felt it warming our now-pasty skin. But eventually, I just ran out of steam. I didn't know what to do, and she didn't know what to do, and we pretty much hit bottom when my poxed petunia sat crumpled on the family room floor wailing: "Oh WHY CAN'T I CRY?? I WANT TO CRY!! BUT I CAN'T!"

That's it. Big gun time. Finally, I announced, "Taylor, we are going to decorate the treehouse." We got out of our jammies and put on those CLOTHES thingies. Loaded up the wagon with whatever seemed cool-treehouse-ish. I got out the power tools (and let me tell you -- it takes A LOT for me to do that). Hooked up three extension cords and headed out to the world's greatest treehouse (built mainly by my dad and surely visible from space).

Here's Taylor's cool "ancient" treasure map showing treehouse and treasure.

God, we had fun. We put peacock feathers in a flower pot. Hung a big orange-framed print on the wall. Suspended those plastic dudes with the tangled parachutes from the ceiling. Made pegs from twigs and hung canteens on 'em. Installed a xylophone and a bell shaped like a pegasus. Fashioned a perch for a stuffed parrot I had bought at a yardsale (HAD to have it). Screwed this little gumball machine thingy to the treehouse table (otherwise, it'll find its way to the woods and anthropologists will find it in the year 2278 and think its some sort of incubator or primitive transporter or something). My girl was BEAMING. She was giddy. She learned how to change the bits on a power drill. She told me she could imagine staying in the treehouse forever.

The child could stay in the treehouse forever.

Smiling as I remember that day: the laundry sat soggy and molding in the washer, the dishes didn't get done, and we had leftovers and frozen veggies for dinner. And I had a GREAT day at work.

Yes, The Posts Below are OLD, but...

...some of them are still worth a chuckle, so READ ON. I plan to re-vamp (this means I "vamped" before? How cool and vaguely racy!) and start writing again. Took time off to start a company, run it, sell it, move to South Carolina, where I am well and truly LOST-O-LA. Stay tuned. This oughta be good.