Sunday, October 25, 2009

H1N1 and me

Sport came home Monday from school feeling poorly: fever, congestion, and vomiting. It was inevitable, I suppose. The H1N1 virus has been sweeping through the schools.

Tuesday was the worst of it. His fever spiked to 103.2 and I called the doctor to see if I should bring him in.

Dehydration is dangerous, she told me. If he continues to vomit and have diarrhea, then come. Other than that, give him Motrin or Tylenol every 4 hours and try to keep as comfortable as you can.

It's the sickest he's been since a double ear infection as a baby. I literally could not step out of his sight. "Mom," he'd call weakly. "Mom..."

I plied him with liquids and medicines. Ran him baths and showers. Kept a cool rag on his head. Slept on the floor of his room while he napped. Rubbed his feet with lotion. By the end of the day, I was exhausted and he was wrung out and near tears.

"Tomorrow will be better," I promised. And it was. But it's been a long week and I'm grateful that he had no complications.

His reliance on me made me think of all the times I relied on my mother when I was sick. I was a rather sickly child. One family reunion, we all contacted stomach flu and spent the drive back vomiting into a plastic bag.

"Mommy!" we demanded, retching. Rub my back, hold my hand, make me feel better.

My poor mother had her hands full. I can't remember if she was sick as well. I was too consumed by my own misery. But she never complained. That I remember. Never threw her hands up in the air and shouted, "You kids are driving me crazy!" -- although I'm sure she wanted to. My mother was a saint. Thanks, Mom, for setting such a good example.

But I did draw the line last night. He hadn't had a temperature in 3 days and was milking the "waiting hand and foot" mama option for all it was worth.

"Could you get me a drink of ice water?" he asked, heading for bed.

"You've got legs. Use 'em."

So he did.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Bucket list

A couple of my co-workers celebrated their 50th birthdays recently. It won't be long before I'm facing the same grim milestone.

I feel like a grump admitting it, but I've grown to hate birthday celebrations. Unless you're under the age of 19, is a birthday party really necessary? I don't expect anyone to mark the day I entered this world, except for my parents and my spouse. Are any of us with a driver's license all that excited about getting older?

SO and I figure we have about 25 good years left. Anything after that will be gravy, and depending on our genetics and environment, it might be lumpy gravy at that. Our own parents, well over the age of 65, have a combined list of ailments that includes (but is not limited to): osteoporosis, arthritis, high cholesterol, bipolar disorder, prostate cancer, fallen bladder, and cataracts.

Sometimes I ponder the sentiment, "Die young and leave a beautiful corpse." It's catchy, but a recent brush with the Grim Reaper left me certain that an early death is not on my Top Ten list of things to do. Heading westbound on I-40, a semi-truck threw a tire in the eastbound lane. My hands gripping the steering wheel, I watched as it bounced (in apparent slow motion) on the line dividing my car from one to my right. In the rear view mirror, I saw it hit the shoulder and roll harmlessly into a ditch. There was a surge of adrenalin. My hands started shaking when I imagined it deviating slightly and crashing into my windshield. I would have bit it but good. As for a beautiful corpse -- well, I'm sure it would have been a closed-casket ceremony.

If I had a bucket list (and I don't), I'd feel pretty good about marking off some things. True, I'll probably never tour Europe or hike up to Machu Picchu, but I've seen the Grand Canyon and driven up Pike's Peak. I wrote and published a book and I found my True Love. I had a part in creating two unique and entertaining individuals and I've laughed -- a lot. So when the end comes, it comes.

I just hope it comes without any surprise birthday parties. I hate those things.

Sunday, October 04, 2009


This fall, Sport's slowed down a bit on the soccer field. He's carrying a little extra weight around the middle, getting ready for another growth spurt, I think. Over the last year, he's shot up five inches. He's not as fast as he usually is, though he's just as skilled. He anticipates where the ball is going to be and he tries to beat it there. He passes, takes corner kicks, and encourages his teammates.

He's always got a grin on his face. Hair tousled by the wind, he's in his element.

The second half of the game, he volunteers to be goalie so the kid who usually tends the onion bag can get a little time on the field. Sport lunges, grabbing the ball not just with his arms but with his whole body. He doesn't waste any time, putting the ball back into play as soon as he can.

A hand ball in the box results in a penalty kick. Way back at the other goal, Sport claps his gloves together.

"Can I take the shot, coach?" asks one of his mates. Two or three others volunteer.

"Sport!" yells the coach.

My son glances over, squinting.

"Take the shot!"

He's confused for a moment. A goalie taking the penalty? Is the coach serious? Benched kids from the other team look to their own coaches for confirmation. What's going on?

"Take it!" Coach motions for Sport to run down the field. He doesn't have to be told again. Confidently, he sets down the ball, peers at the goal, then kicks.

It's in! Our side erupts into cheers. The boys slap Sport on the back as he races back to his spot in the box. It's a perfect moment. I take a snapshot of it in my mind. Beautiful.