So I’m pretty laid back most of the time. Sure, I have those days when I don’t hear from Craig and I start frantically calling his friends and Googling terms like “Rockefeller Center attacks” or “deaths on the A train”. And yes, I’ve also sent a neighbor way too many times to make sure my grandma was okay when she really had just left her phone off the hook. I guess I’m a little crazy like that. And when I’m really nervous I get explosive diarrhea. Craig always jokes that if something ever happened he’d know exactly where to find me. He’s so right.
But still, I’m usually laid back. I’m definitely not the first to run to the doctor’s office for my kids. For myself, it’s a different story. I go for annual check-ups and skin checks and paps. If my throat hurts, I get it checked; if I’m itchy in my lady parts, I call in for drugs; if I have a stomach bug, I take a dozen pregnancy tests. Such is life. But when it comes to my kids? I usually wait it out. After all, we’ve never really come across anything that a little Disney Junior and some juiceboxes didn’t fix. Sure, there’s always someone who has a runny nose, an unexplained fever or head-to-toe rashes, but it’s almost always a virus. And I hate viruses because there’s just nothing you can do about it! Like I said, laid back.
This summer we decided to try something new. We needed a change of scenery. (And by we I mean the kids and I, since Craig is still home during the week.) I love our city life. We have a great apartment and a network of awesome friends. My kids’ commute to school is unbeatable and Craig’s is pretty good too. I’ve become about 90% reliant on online grocery shopping, which leaves me with fewer errands run (that’s a Google Express reference for those in the know). The only thing I felt like we were missing was dirt. I love dirty kids. It’s been a weird thing of mine but I love when my kids can run in the dirt carefree and barefoot. So this summer, we decided to rent a bungalow and experience “The Country”. Suffice it to say, the kids are getting their fair share of dirt. They play outside until it’s dark, go for walks in the woods and eat from blueberry bushes, swim in the pool and play by the lake. It’s really been so amazing for them and I’m lucky that Craig let us do this!
The other night I went out for my first girls’ night out up here. It was my first time hiring a sitter and not putting my kids to sleep. I’m not even ashamed to admit how excited I was not to have to put them to sleep. I figured I’d go easy on the sitter and put two kids to sleep first. Baby goes to sleep pretty early and while Lisi doesn’t like missing out on the fun, I knew it would be better that I put her down before leaving. I was shocked that she voluntarily asked to go down around 7:00, and in her clothes no less. It was as though she had read my mind. I went on to have a lovely night with the ladies and Annie and Judah woke up in the morning asking me to find the babysitter because she told them the best stories. Great success.
That day when I picked Lisi up from camp, her counselor mentioned that she was really hot and needed a drink. I remembered the ease of putting her to sleep the night before and, even though was was pretty hot out that day, I just thought oh crap, it’s totally fever. Confession: I don’t always check my kids’ temps because if they actually do have a fever I feel guilty sending them to camp less than 24 hours later. I gave her some Gatorade and she asked to go to sleep at 3:30. Weird but fine, one less kid to watch. A few hours went by and I wondered whether she’d sleep through the night so I woke her. She couldn’t be bothered to wake up so I moved her to my bed, where she just lay there passing in and out of sleep. She was super out of it and burning up to the point that I decided that it was maybe time to check her temperature. I stuck the thermometer in her butt — which, by the way, is apparently her least favorite thing to do. I watched the numbers go up very quickly until she kicked it out at 105.1. It would’ve kept going. Her heart was beating quickly and her eyes were fighting to stay open. I told a friend just to hear her thoughts and she assured me that she’d watch my other kids so that I could take care of Lisi.
I went back inside to put a cold washcloth on her forehead and the next thing I hear is that the ambulance was on its way. WTF? My plan of action was to talk to my pediatrician to hear his thoughts, but ultimately I probably would’ve just let her sleep it off. She was too weak and hot to really go anywhere and my kids have all had fevers that turned into nothing. The ambulance arrived and took her vitals. She was definitely dehydrated and needed some fluids so into the ambulance we went. She was poked and prodded and wasn’t phased by anything; it was actually really sad. When we got to the hospital she was raped by rectal thermometers, had throat cultures, a chest x-ray, a catheter for urine samples, a Tylenol suppository and then more needles. Finally, a nurse gave her two stickers. She looked at them and I could read her mind. Seriously? Two fackockta stickers?? TWO??? And that was the first sign that she was starting to feel better.
The x-rays showed that she had pneumonia, which lead to her dehydration. Pneumonia? Really? But she had been totally fine that day! She went to camp, went swimming, and they even had a special drumming class that she loved. She ate ice cream and played. Pneumonia? Damn. As she laid in the hospital bed with the drugs pumping through her body, you could tell that she was getting better. She was angry that she couldn’t use one of her hands and demanded more stickers. When they brought her three more (I mean really, that brings the total to five — she gets more stickers shopping at Trader Joe’s!) she was pissed off that they weren’t Princess Sofia. Another step in the right direction.
When I finally had a chance to take a look at my phone, I had been bombarded with pictures of my kids back the bungalow. They were all well taken care of and happy. Annie had gone to her friend’s house and Judah went to his Morah and watched SpongeBob. He hasn’t stopped talking about it; you’d think that my kid had never seen a TV before. They even had someone sleepover at our bungalow with Baby. Seriously? Wow. The ladies started a Whatsapp group to keep me company, which involved gossiping about the camp counselors and clothing. I didn’t feel alone for a second.
We finally got transferred to room. Just as an aside, I’ve never had any issues going to “city hospitals”. While I hear that they’re kind of small and gross, they’ve never really bothered me — but wow. This room was probably the size of a studio apartment and the bathroom was bigger than Judah’s bedroom. All of the staff was great and gave Lisi plenty of stickers, bubbles and a Frozen tea set. Craig took an Uber up to spend a second night with Lisi and I went back to my bungalow.
I prepared myself to walk into a war zone. I had left the bungalow in shambles, having just come back from a Target trip, and I was positive that there would be undies and old diapers all over the place. I walked in and it was cleaner than ever. But really! The counters were clear for the first time since we got here. I was also informed that all of our Shabbos meals were taken care of. Whoa.
The next day Lisi and Craig came back. I don’t think ‘take it easy’ is a term that exists in toddler land. She kicked off by eating some of everything that she could get her hands on. I felt like we were living through The Very Hungry Caterpillar because every time I thought she was good, she was still hungry. Then she just wanted to run around. When we went to get Judah from camp she was serenaded by all of these tiny little voices yelling “Lisi’s back!” She played it cool but I know that she really loved it!
Now that all of this is a few weeks behind us I’ve been doing a lot of thinking. What if my friend didn’t call the ambulance? What if I had let her sleep it off? What if it had been the middle of the night and I didn’t even know it was happening? Maybe it’s better not to think about it. This is not to say that an ambulance will be called next time one of the kids spikes a fever but I think this was a very eye-opening experience. While being laid back works for us most of the time sometimes I have to stop being so darn cocky and proud and realize that maybe it’s not the worst thing to ask for help. But when all fails it certainly helps to have good friends and for that we couldn’t be more thankful!