In Sickness

We’ve got it bad over here. The creeping crud. It’s June 3rd, but it feels like February at our abode. PJs all day, medicine lined up on the counter, perpetual bedhead.

Yesterday, I took George out for a breakfast date. Before his pancakes and sausage arrived, however, he’d thrown up in the bathroom. We headed home for the day and my poor boy struggled to keep anything down. When that kid gets sick, he gets SICK. From 0-100 in no time flat. By the afternoon, his eyes were hazy, his skin translucent, his joie de vivre gone.

My George is a talker. When he’s healthy, he’s never quiet. He’s either humming, he’s singing, he’s yelling, he’s story-telling, he’s arguing, or he’s burping the alphabet. When he’s sick, this house is far too quiet.

All day, we lounged around together. He spent a great deal of time in the basement, and I spent a great deal of time reading the brilliant Chris Cleave’s “Incendiary.” Truly, that book is a work of art. A beautiful, shocking, heartbreaking, stunningly well-written masterpiece. And I had all day to soak it in.

As I was reading, however, I began to feel worse. I’d been fighting a cold for the past 10 days, and my throat began to ache in a most uncomfortable way. And the kiss of death? No appetite. Something is seriously wrong with me when my appetite goes. I’m the one who — at age 15 — ate her way through mono. I think that says it all.

At 3:00, the big kids came home from school, and at 3:15, George came downstairs crying hysterically.

“It feels like there are three worlds on my hands!” he cried. He paced around the boxes in the study and shook his hands wildly.

“What do you mean, George?” I asked. “What are you feeling?”

“There’s worlds on my hands!” he yelled, frustrated with me for not understanding. He paced some more, cried more loudly, got Mary Claire’s attention.

“I don’t understand, Sweetie,” I replied. “What do you mean? Are they asleep? Are you feeling pins and needles?”

“No!” he cried in frustration. “There are worlds on them! At least two worlds!”

Mary Claire intervened on his behalf. “I think he means that they feel heavy,” she explained. “That they feel like they’re being crushed under the weight of the world.”

“Yes!” he cried. “Yes! And now it’s my legs, too! They feel that way, too! I can hardly move them!”

He was crying hysterically now, and of course, Mary Claire joined him wholeheartedly.

“He’s scaring me, Mom!”

“I know, Sweetie. I’m trying to figure out what’s going on.”

Meanwhile, George continued pacing and crying and shaking his hands wildly.

“They’re not right!” he wailed.

“Honey, I’m going to take you to the doctor,” I told him. “Let’s get in the car and we’ll have a doctor check you out.”

“I’m coming, too!” Mary Claire insisted. “I want to be with him.”

And so, the three of took off for St. V’s with books in hand.

The verdict? Vomiting, fever, dehydration. A nasty virus. Some anti-nausea medication, a couple of hours of rehydration, and a chance for us to watch “The Blind Side” together at St. V’s. The instant we got some fluids into my boy, his strange symptoms dissipated.

By the time I got him home and settled into bed, I was feeling less than stellar. So, I drove myself to the nearest immediate care, took a strep test, and came home with a load of antibiotics.

Today, Geo and I are laying low. We’re reading, sleeping, resting, recovering. The boxes will get packed this weekend. Today, we’re healing.

If we have to have a sick day, I’m glad we at least get to share it together. Next up? Sponge Bob.

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