Saturday, April 19, 2008
PigPen and I, Kindred Spirits
It certainly hasn't been the best week on record for me. The kids have been sick, I've showered no more than three times all told, and I've incriminated myself to a number of individuals whom I will be forced to have continued dealings with. In general, I feel kind of like PigPen on the Peanuts Gang - just sort of walking around in a cloud of my own dirt and dust - both literally and figuratively. The atrocities of the week all seemed to culminate yesterday in one big mess-fest.
Really, the days sort of blended together with no real definitive ending and beginning point for Thursday and Friday. Between Kyla and Jimmy, we were up all night - every 45 minutes to an hour, calming Kyla's cries, taking Jimmy's temperature or administering medicines to whomever happened to be making the most fuss at any given moment (the squeaky wheel gets the grease!). In my state of complete and total disillusionment that night, I actually remember thinking to myself, "Gee, it's not so bad not getting any sleep. At least I can know that should I get Kyla and/or Jimmy down, I can go back to bed myself - at least for a few minutes."
The last time I remember looking at the clock, it was 4:45 AM - and then there were two and a half glorious hours of uninterrupted sleep (at least from what I can recall). . . But at 7:15, I awoke with a start realizing we were all late. Jim had approximately zero minutes before he needed to be driving to work in order to not be late, and I had 20 minutes to get myself and the kids around (this included clothing, medicines and breakfast for the kids, and at least clothing for myself). I also needed to haul the dog's crate into the back of the van and get him loaded up for his vet visit (yes, we adopted a new dog - more on that later).
I managed to achieve loading all individuals into the van in a reasonably timely period. If I sped just a little, we'd arrive at the vet at the scheduled 8:30 deadline to have Bear checked in to be fixed. Because we'd adopted the dog in another county, he had to be fixed in that same county; thus, the extensive drive first thing in the morning. I felt quite accomplished pulling into the vet's office at 8:30 on the dot, having navigated far from my normal stomping grounds. Now, I know this isn't really technically the thing to do, but given the circumstances, I felt it would be wise to leave the kids in the car with the doors locked and a stern lecture on strangers while I ran in and dropped the dog off. Attempting to simply write my name while, Bear, our 65 pound puppy, heaved on his leash in an effort to fully inspect every other animal in the waiting room, was quite a task in and of itself. "You can have a seat and fill out this paperwork, front and back" the receptionist informed me . "I thought I could just drop him off?" I questioned the innocent woman with a hint of annoyance. "No, you'll need to meet with the vet and the technicians first."
Protesting audibly against this vet's office located centrally in the middle of nowhere, I drug Bear back to the car where I managed to get Jimmy out and Kyla seated in her stroller. Bear then led the way in a run, pulling both myself and Kyla in her stroller, back to the office. I then sat down and attempted to fill out the paperwork with the kids parked next to me, and Bear continuing to try to with all his might to inspect the premises. "Is this really necessary? I mean, you want my driver's license number and all? We don't live here, so I can reassure you that I'll never be back." I commented wryly to the receptionist.
"Yes, ma'am. We need all the information for our records. And we're out of rabies tags, so we'll have to . . "
"I'm NOT coming here again to pick up a rabies tag!" I snapped at the woman.
"Yes, that's what I was getting to; we'll just mail it to you."
OK - ya, I felt like an idiot. "No need to shoot the messenger" I tried to reason with myself.
After about twenty minutes, when I had calmed down some and was even beginning to accept my new roll as "Bear's strangler" while throwing out a few monotone commands to Jimmy to keep him in order, we were called back. Upon meeting the technicians, we were informed that Bear had a temperature of 103 and could not have the surgery. He was given an antibiotic shot, a ten day round of oral antibiotics, and some ointment for his runny eyes.
This was just great; Bear had caught the same virus my kids had. The technicians insisted that it's impossible for viruses to jump between various species, but I beg to differ! Bear had the exact same symptoms as my kids: green snot (as evidenced by the numerous, dried, algae-green colored markings in front of our door where Bear sleeps), fever, pink eye, and a cough. I don't know if I was more horrified by the fact that our "family illness" now included a dog too, or the fact that I was going to have to return and again face the receptionist whom I'd told we'd never be back.
Standing in line for another ten minutes, again wrestling my dog whilst robotically correcting my son, I actually began talking to myself - aloud. Sadly, I've found when in difficult situations, I actually talk out loud to myself as a means of coping - sort of talking myself through the given issue (yes, I'm considering getting treated for this). "I've been standing here for ten minutes. This is ridiculous. Overbooked and under-scheduled - that's what this place is; they've scheduled way too many appointments, and now look at this mess!". I noted various individuals in the crowded waiting room periodically glancing my way, clearly wondering if I'd actually lost my marbles. One elderly woman who kept sympathetically glancing at me eventually stepped aside and offered that I go ahead. When I got to the counter and turned over my $60, though I knew better, I commented to the receptionist "Shouldn't the shelter be paying for this?! Here they've sold me a sick dog, and now I have to pay for it. I don't even want a sick dog - I've already got two sick children." She gave the standard answer which I fully anticipated, but another man up there, obviously a bit triggered by my situation spoke up, "You know, there's a lemon law. I don't know if it applies in this situation, but you should be able to get your money back. That's just not legal." I had no comment for the man because his suggestion was even more bizarre than my own twisted reasoning at that point.
Eventually we were headed home. I was glad to have everyone loaded in and to be done with the vet. . . at least for today. On the drive home we listened, yet again, to the "Cars" story on CD - a recent gift to Jimmy which had become the bane of my driving experiences. Still I couldn't complain; I was no longer corralling three different individuals through a medical visit, and anything seemed easy compared to that. (As a side note, just to give an idea of how remote this place was, I actually passed a dead wildcat on the side of the road. . . Yes, I turned around and drove past again just to make sure my eyes weren't deceiving me.)
Upon arriving home, I had about an hour to get everyone ready before our next appointment for Jimmy with the ear, nose and throat doctor. This appointment was originally scheduled for several weeks down the road, but after taking both kids into their pediatrician on Wednesday, each with pink eye, the doctor informed me that Jimmy had a ton of fluid in his ears. "Geeze! What is up with your kids!" the doctor exclaimed as I stood their crying. And then he looked in Kyla's ears and informed me that one of her surgically implanted tubes was clogged and her eardrum was bulging. "Can you guys try to make the ENT get us in sooner" I requested pathetically. Sure enough, they got us scheduled quickly. It's truly amazing what a little waterworks at the doctor's office will do.
When we got back from the vet, I hastily fed and medicated everyone - Jimmy, Kyla, and now Bear too. I even had time to empty a few garbage bins; somehow though, while emptying Kyla's diaper pale I managed a lovely display of grace, and fully tripped on the pale bruising my shin. It was really classic; I'm sure had anyone seen, it would've made their day. Annoyed, I realized my clumsiness could be in part due to the fact that I'd missed my morning coffee. I grabbed some cold coffee from the fridge and loaded up Jimmy and Kyla for part two of our day.
The ENT's office was very nice, and really quite quick. I found out they'd scheduled us over their lunch in order to squeeze us in so quickly - a courtesy for which I am extraordinarily grateful. After gathering some info, the doctor decided to test little Jimmy's hearing since I had told him it was quite bad. While the technician was testing my son, him in a little soundproof room and her on the other side of a glass giving instructions to him through speakers, my shin began throbbing where I'd tripped over the diaper pale. I sort of zoned out as I rocked Kyla and held her paci in her mouth to keep her quiet so the technician could easily perform her tests. Somehow, I must have been gazing at the computer screen, because the technician stopped her testing and looked square at me, "Ma'am, I'm going to have to ask you to have a seat over here." she said pointing to the chairs on the other side of the room. Obviously I looked like the type who would violate patient privacy - wanting to know every patient who'd ever seen this ENT, because that would be truly valuable information to me!
It was once I sat down that I realized how terrible I looked, at least from the waist down; my zipper was down, and there was a large blob of white crusty stuff (yogurt that had spilled when I cleaned out some of the junk in the van between appointments earlier) and several purple marker lines on my skirt; definitely looking classy - and I hadn't even looked in a mirror to glean all of this! Eventually the hearing test was over, and everyone concluded that, lo and behold, Jimmy's mom was actually right, and he did have some pretty serious hearing loss. Long and short of it, Jimmy is scheduled to have surgery in a couple of weeks to have his adenoids out, and to have tubes put in his ears. At that point, his hearing should return, and he should have far fewer infections (so I've been told).
After leaving the doctor's office, we headed to Wal-Mart to pick up a cake for Kyla's 1st birthday, which actually is today. Still, you know how Wal-Mart is, you go in to pick up a few things and leave with a cart full. It was after unloading the cart and placing Kyla, still neatly packaged in her car seat, back into the car, that I realized we'd left without paying for an item. It was a $5 item, and at this point, I have to say that I was willing to be considered a criminal as there was no way I was going back into that store for any reason.
By the time we got home, it was about 4:00. Jimmy oddly went to his room and laid down on the floor. It then dawned on me that I hadn't given him any fever medicine in a while and figured he was probably a bit overdue for some. I got my nifty little fever scanner, and was appalled at the reading: 105. I ran to the kitchen and hastily poured some Motrin and grabbed an ice pack and some wash cloths. This was just great - the perfect ending to a day like this; I could totally see my son going into febrile seizures. Fortunately, the Motrin worked and a few minutes later it was down to 104, and eventually 102 etc.
I'd like to say the day ended there, but after dinner and getting the kids to bed, the night continued just as the one before it had, with one day blending together with the next. Monday is Kyla's ENT appointment where they'll hopefully be able to unclog her ear tube so she can sleep a bit more peaceably. As for Jimmy, his fever continued through the night with us administering fever reducers every three hours.
Kyla's first birthday party set for today was canceled. It seems kind of sad, but we'll do it later when we're all feeling better. Despite the non-stop poop we're facing, I'm really holding out hope that at some point it will get easier. The cloud of dirt and dust around us will settle, and much to my own satisfaction as well as all those whom I have dealings with, I'll get a shower every single day.