When I opened my eyes yesterday morning, had I known the sort of day that was awaiting me, I would've pulled the sheets up over my head and remained there until it was dark again. Unfortunately, my crystal ball hasn't been working to well lately, and even if it was, I have this sort of stubborn streak in me that refuses to perceive even the most obvious hints life offers me.
Kyla had been up all night. Allow me to clarify for my uninformed readers what I mean by "all night." Some people may use that term when they should really say "intermittently through the night" or even "a time or two through the night." When I say all - that's what I mean. Kyla was up approximately every thirty minutes crying and demanding to be walked or rocked or shushed or fed or changed or medicated. Over the course of the previous day, she had developed a high fever, and not long thereafter began draining heavily from her nose; her face looked puffy and she was pretty non-interactive aside from crying. All this hit within twelve hours of my commenting rather proudly that we had made it through her first cold and flu season. So after my last thirty minute sleep session prior to getting up for the day, I had deducted Kyla must have had some sort of ear infection on top of just a cold to be keeping her (along with Jim and I) up all night as she had done.
My mind was foggy as I began the day - it usually is in the morning, but yesterday's fogginess exceeded even my normal level. I fumbled between getting myself dressed and the kids ready for the day. I knew I was going to be late dropping Jimmy off at school as I just could not think clearly enough to be even mildly efficient. I set Kyla in her booster seat and dropped a handful of cheerios in front of her. Then I began carefully organizing my day: "Kyla needs her fever medicine, which reminds me that I need to call her doctor to set up an appointment, and I need to find the number to the doctor because I have no idea where it is; also I should load up on vitamins so I don't get sick too, and Jimmy needs his vitamins and allergy medicine. . oh, and his breakfast needs to be started, and I'll heat up the water for my oatmeal. Both of the kids need to be dressed soon, which means we all need to eat quickly or we're going to be really late!" So with that level of clarity I succeeded in taking my vitamins and pouring a bowl of cheerios for Jimmy before it dawned on me that Kyla wasn't eating a thing (probably because she was sick), and she had a stinky diaper. I pulled her out of her booster seat and brushed off all the sucked on cheerios which clung to her night clothes or had buried themselves in the roll of her neck. All the while my mind was racing: "Jimmy's teeth need to be brushed, and we need to remember to grab his show-and-tell along with his folder; I've got to pack granola bars for after school so Jimmy and I aren't passing out on the drive home; Kyla's diaper bag needs diapers, wipes, a bottle, cheerios; don't forget the coffee above all else!!!".
I was pretty much on auto-pilot picking out Kyla's clothes for the day and beginning her diaper change, but as soon as I pulled open her diaper all of my racing thoughts came to a dead halt. The stench was so incredible that it literally blew me away. Upon vague observation of the contents of her diaper, I realized this was no normal diaper. . no, this diaper had all sorts of goodies for me in it. First there was a pacifier in her diaper; over the course of trying to soothe her through the entirety of the previous night, we had lost almost all the pacifiers we owned, whittling down our available stock of pacifiers to a mere two. . well, here, hilt buried in her poo, was one more to add to our collection. It took me a moment to confirm that she had not actually passed the paci, but rather it had somehow mysteriously been lodged in her diaper awaiting discovery. The second and more normal entity in Kyla's diaper was poo. Yes, I know poo in a diaper shouldn't be a surprise, but this poo was marvelously grotesque. There, in whole and completely undigested form was the rice and bean lunch she had consumed the previous day. The sight of the rice and beans and paci was alarming, but the stench was much more so. In fact, the mere thought of this whole diaper was enough to thoroughly nauseate me; nearly five years of mothering, and I'd finally met my match (the vitamins in my empty stomach did not help the situation at all).
I succeeded in quickly wrapping up Kyla's booty in a fresh diaper while tossing the soiled one face up on the carpet. I then ran to the kitchen sink where my vitamins along with any tidbit of food or drink I had managed to sneak in that morning were rather violently expelled. I hovered over the sink hoping that was the last of it as Kyla bawled at my feet and Jimmy wandered through the kitchen questioning out loud if I could help him fix his car (clearly oblivious to my situation); "Just give me a minute, honey."
I did eventually manage to get my oatmeal breakfast before fishing out Kyla's paci from the diaper. Jimmy and Kyla were both clothed, prepared, and packed into the van only a half hour later than normal. Given the morning that had just unfolded, I was feeling pretty good about that.
I dropped Jimmy off at school and headed to Kyla's doctor's appointment (which I had managed to set up amidst the morning chaos). At her pediatrician's office, I was informed that while she did not have the flu, they couldn't be sure her ears were clear either. They recommended some sort of over the counter earwax thinner. They explained this would help her, and would also make it easier for them to determine if there was an ear infection in the future. I was at the checkout feeling mildly annoyed that I was having to pay these people who weren't even able to give me a clear diagnosis when my debit card came back with an error code. I tried it again, and the same error code appeared. The secretary commented that she'd never seen that error code, and looking worried, suggested I give my bank a call. It wasn't long after that I found out our card along with a number of others had been shut down by Visa after some crook had attempted to use them. Still, our account was fine, and no money had been lost so I couldn't complain. It was just alarming.
I picked up Jimmy and, in my attempt to not let anyone in our family get any sicker, headed to the health food store on the other side of town. Unfortunately, being newer to the area, I got completely lost. I ended up way past where I needed to be, and then had to try to get myself back to the correct place. . but hey, what's an extra thirty minutes on a day like this one?
It was 2:30 by the time we arrived home. Per the doctor's orders, I placed the earwax thinning drops in Kyla's ears, and thus began the onslaught of her hysteria. . . She cried and cried and cried. My nerves were beyond frayed. To put it as a wall poster at a former place of employment had put it: "When I woke up this morning, I had one nerve left. And darned if you ain't got on it!". I had nothing left to give to this child. In complete and utter desperation, I called up her pediatrician.
"Well, the only reason she might be screaming like that would be if she has an ear infection and as that medicine breaks up the earwax it aggravates her ears further. We can get you in on Monday." the nurse answered unemotionally.
"I'm sorry," I answered rather loudly to the nurse "Could you repeat that; I wasn't clear on what you said over my daughter's screams of pain. She's going to be screaming like this until Monday if this is an ear infection - which, you're pretty much telling me it is, and I can't handle that." I told her, my voice breaking up.
"There'll be a doctor in tomorrow. I can schedule you for then." she replied naively. Obviously this woman did not have children, and had never had the experience of a child with an ear infection (which, as is evidenced by the tubes in Kyla's ears, I am altogether far more familiar with than I'd ever imagined possible.).
"Look, I've done my part. . I've done everything I can do. . I've brought my daughter to your office, and have followed your instructions to the "T." I was up all last night, and I cannot handle being up again all night tonight. I need a solution, and it's your office's job to give me one." I answered the nurse firmly and possibly even with a bit of a crazed tone.
"I'll speak with the doctor when she comes out, and call you back." she replied.
Good enough for me. I later got the call stating both of the doctors at this practice had discussed it and were writing me two prescriptions: one, an antibiotic ear drop, and two, an antibiotic to fill in several days if she was still miserable. Clearly, they did not have any interest in seeing me in the next few days. I had been heard.
Kyla eventually calmed down, and regained a bit of an appetite. Again, I set her in her booster seat and dropped a handful of cheerios in front of her. Jimmy was playing peacefully in his room. It was 5:00 - my chance to tackle a few household chores. I threw in a load of laundry and began emptying the dishwasher. I had put away all the silverware along with the bottom rack, and was just starting on the top rack when I dropped a large ceramic mug. Before I had a chance to begin cleaning it up, the phone rang; it was Jim informing me the prescription the doctor had called in which he was to pick up was out of stock at the pharmacy. "Out of stock?! Are you kidding me! You get our prescription, and let those people know we're taking our business elsewhere!" I answered a smidge overzealously as I hung up the phone.
Disgusted, I pulled out our short garbage bin from under the sink and set it by the oven where I began tossing the larger pieces of my now broken mug. I reached for the last big piece of broken mug, and in an involuntary instant of reflection, directed all my frustration from the day on chucking that wedge of baked clay into the garbage. Sadly, I'm not a basketball player. I missed the garbage and hit the front window of my new oven. The glass on the oven shattered instantly into a gazillion tiny shards that dumped from the kitchen to the dining area. That was it; the straw that broke the camel's back. I knelt to the floor observing the scene and broke into my "siren" cry. Sometimes "it feels just like I'm walking on broken glass" I thought to myself.
And so I reiterate, had I known this was the kind of day that would develop, I would never have allowed my big toe to touch the floor. But I keep on walking - "walking on, walking on broken glass."