Friday, December 16, 2005

The Cure

...not the band, but something which should help us cope with small and highly infectious children. I might make one of these babies even when we’re all perfectly healthy.

Becky is recovering from her first bad cold of the winter, which in her case often manifests itself in a scary-sounding croupy cough (or “barkies,” as we like to call it). We didn’t get medical attention this time because her breathing was still okay, unlike two years ago, when she had croup severe enough that she had, as the doctor termed it, “stridor at rest.” This meant that he could hear her trying to breathe from across the room and over the phone while I was talking to him. A steamy bathroom calmed down her parents a little but did bupkes for the croup. As anyone knows who’s been through this with a little kid, it’s pretty scary. So the doc did his hi-fi audio diagnosis and told us to take her to the ER in the wee hours, which is apparently when this illness is at its worst.

A little epi-neb treatment and Becky was better, though they still admitted her for observation. However, note that the “epi” in the preceding sentence is short for epinephrine, which is identical to adrenaline, which is a stimulant which means that it helps the child’s breathing but makes her WIDE WAKE AND READY FOR FUN! So here we are at about 2 a.m., Becky clad in a cute miniature johnny, flashing her diaper to me and the nurse who were following her as she toddled happily down the dimly lit halls toward her room with a giant metal crib. It looked scarily cage-like but fortunately was large enough to accommodate both of us. The nurses were unfailingly kind and competent, but there was a small fly in the ointment: one of the country’s best hospitals for kids, which at any one time hosts zillions of infants and children, many of whom are obviously not potty-trained, had NO #4 DIAPERS that anyone could locate. I was dumfounded. I thought maybe they were locked up at night in a safe like jewels at a hotel and only the day shift knew the combination. Whatever. So I crammed Becky into a too-small Huggie, crawled into the cage with her and felt thankful that she wasn’t a desperately ill infant clinging to life, as some of the patients in this place undoubtedly were.

Any parent would gladly trade places with their child at a time like this (at a lot of times, actually), and when it comes to illness, we’ve done that too. Like the time our daycare center warned us that a stomach bug was going around, and I had nightmarish visions of changing barfy crib sheets a dozen times in a night. Except it didn’t work out that way. The baby was fine, but Ben and I snapped awake at 3 a.m. and made simultaneous dashes for the bathroom (fortunately there were two upstairs), losing ballast from both bow and stern, if you know what I mean. If nothing else, it was a great way to shed some of those postpartum pounds. And a few years later we got treated to the real thing in which the child was blowing chunks rather than her parents, but thankfully she was old enough at that point to get out of bed and avoid blemishing the faux Oriental carpet from Building 19. So... any couple reading this who don’t have kids, have I convinced you to invest in a vasectomy yet?

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