31 March 2011

Fog of sick

March is killing me this year; there hasn't been a week this month during which at least one of my children was ill. I was feeling a certain arrogance this year for our relative good health compared with last winter, but the ruthlessness of March has cured me of this.

I can no longer keep track of who's been sick when, and on the rare days when everyone has gone to school, I am at a loss for what to do without all the temperature taking, ministering of bromides, brewing of tea and soothing.

I finally got sick myself two weeks ago. It was the most lovely kind of ill, when you know it’s nothing serious but you feel shitty enough to justify taking a few days off. In a 24 hour period I watched Downton Abbey in its entirety. By the time I started feeling better and tired of being housebound someone else spiked a fever, forcing me to spend another few days indoors.

And so it's been all month, my children lobbing viruses around in a very impressive volley, in what seems like a plot to keep me from ever leaving the house. Last Wednesday I started feeling sick again, and woke in the middle of the night with piercing pain in my left ear. Although I am not a doctor I quickly diagnosed myself with an ear infection. Lacking a medical license, I went to my doctor on Thursday. David just started a new job and can’t take days off right now, and I was incapable of driving myself, so my wife had to take me. Yea, verily it is good to have a wife.

Ear infections are mother-fucking painful. I silently issued an apology to my children for any grumbling I may have done when they woke me in the middle of the night screaming in ear pain. The upper left quadrant of my head was weighty, leading me about like a compass seeking due north. Miniscule creatures bored into my ear canal with tiny pickaxes, whilst another contingent used my eardrum as a trampoline.

I am fairly stoic when it comes to pain — I (reluctantly) birthed a child without benefit of anesthesia mdash; and this ear pain was on par with that point in labor when the pain is becoming uncomfortable enough that you request the epidural. (Which in my case, never came, but that is another story.) I spent Thursday and Friday curled in a fetal position taking steadily increasing doses of ibuprofen to no avail while waiting for the antibiotic to kick in, which it did not. When I stood up, I teetered like a drunken toddler, unable to gain my footing.

Sarah and Gabriel were also home sick, and driving was still out of the question, so I kept Sacha home from school as well. Friday morning I told Sarah that I might need some help taking care of everyone, whereupon she declared, “This is going to be the worst day ever, because we are all sick, and there in no one to take care of us.” When the sad violins ceased to play, I replied, “Well, at least you have tv.” And so my children watched the hell out of that television; by the end of the day I heard it gently weeping in the corner whenever someone approached.

My lowest point came at the end of the day. I hadn’t eaten anything, and by evening I was hungry. David brought home sushi, but when I brought the first piece to my lips I discovered that I could not sufficiently open my jaw to allow it entry. Although I was in no shape for marital relations, I began fantasizing about David fucking me in the ear on the off chance that it might relieve the pressure.  

On Saturday my doctor switched my medicine, and by Monday I began to improve. The pressure is still great, but the pain has diminished significantly. I can’t hear very well, but I’m getting used to the constant ringing in my ear.

My balance is still significantly compromised. Driving is questionable, but Sacha has to get to school, and groceries need procuring. Yesterday I experienced a brief bout of motion sickness as I navigated my cart around the bends in the market. I kept having to stop and wait for my brain to stop bobbing around in my skull. On two feet I careen like a marble in a labyrinth. A sneeze sends my flying backwards, and I’ve learned to hold on tightly to railings and stay close to the walls. It’s physical comedy gold.

Meanwhile, Sarah had strep again! She spent almost a week home with a fever before I could get her to the doctor. She finally went back to school today, and Sacha woke this morning with a fever. March, you are fucking with me.

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