Young Ladrinka got sick last week which was super inconvenient because I had an out of town trip planned the following week.
First he sneezed.
Then he blew his nose.
Then he coughed.
Then he got the thermometer and stuck it in one ear after the other and announced that he had a fever.
“I have a fever,” he said. “99.2 in one ear and 98.9 in the other.”
And on Monday morning I took him to the pediatrician. (I did some other stuff over the weekend, but they are unrelated to Young Ladrinka’s illness and that’s called editing.)
The pediatrician examined him. “He has a cold,” she said.
“But he’s also coughing,” I announced. I was sort of hoping that he had something antibioticable so I could fill the prescription and catch my flight later on in the week.
“The cough is part of it,” the pediatrician insisted.
“I see,” I nodded with what I hoped was a wise expression. “What course of treatment would you recommend?”
She sighed a little too dramatically for my General Hospital-viewing taste. “There really isn’t a magic cure for the cough—honey, Vic’s vapor rub, lots of fluids.” (I hope it’s clear that she was recommending honey, not calling me one. Although it certainly wouldn’t be the first time a member of the medical profession hit on me. )
“L-o-t-s of f-l-u-i-d-s,” I pretended to make a note. For whose benefit, I don’t know. “This is certainly useful information, doctor. I thank you .”
And then we left after Young Ladrinka confirmed that it would be best if he missed school for the duration of what he predicted would be one of the longest colds in the history of mankind.
That evening I shared the medical news with Husbandrinka. It was when I finished telling him about the need for fluids that he sighed.
“I don’t understand why every time one of the kids has a temperature you run to the doctor,” he said after he finally exhaled. “It’s like you think that they’ve secretly found the cure for the common cold and are telling people one by one as they come in.”
I didn’t say anything because I was trying to come up with a comeback, which, since this conversation occurred over three days ago, seems to be taking an unusually long time. I bet when I finally get it, though; it’s going to be amazing. Check back here often for an update!
Then on Wednesday morning, I took Young Ladrinka back to the pediatrician’s office. It was the day before my trip to Miami and I was concerned that he still had a fever
Besides it’s been a few days since our Monday morning visit, so science had plenty of time to find a cure for the common cold.
The doctor didn’t seem happy to see us.
“Yes, a cold takes a while to get over,” she said.
“Cold, yes, but what about the fever?”
“What’s the highest it’s been?” she asked.
“100.2,” I reported. I’m practically a nurse, you know.
“It’s not a fever until it hits 100.4,” she told me.
“It’s not a fever until 100.4,” she repeated.
Blink, I blinked.
“Anything under 100.4 is not a fever,” she tried a different approach. I was pretty sure she was going to reach for the sock puppets next.
“Oh,” I said.
This was entirely new information and I was wondering why no one in my 13 years of mothering ever mentioned this to me. And also I was wondering if she said 100.4 was a fever because I showed her my hand with 100.2. I made a mental note to ask her next time what she considered to be a fever before giving away any information.
Young Ladrinka, however, was having his own existential crisis.
“100.4?” he gasped. “That means that I’ve never even had a fever!”
He looked as confused—not unhappy, just confused in a way a person who no longer knows who he is or his place in the world looks. He looked the way I did when I found out that my Reagan Republican father was considering voting for Obama.
Young Ladrinka was still muttering to himself as we came home. “This whole time I thought I had a fever and I didn’t,” he was saying. “Have I ever even had a fever in my whole life?”
I tried to reassure him that he had, indeed, had fevers in the past, but it wasn’t going well. I couldn’t provide him with dates, nor the exact temperatures, so he was understandably dissatisfied.
He’s feeling better now, which is a good thing.
Because I’m on a beach in Miami.
Trying to recover from Young Ladrinka’s non-fever.
One year ago ...
- A Letter - 2011