the crankiest butterfly

Ah, Memorial Day weekend. A time to thank those who have served, or currently serve, in the armed forces of our country. A time to hit the beach and work on your tan, or head to a friend’s house for a big cookout with burgers and hot dogs. Or if you’re me, it was a time to take care of your sick wife, sick child and restrain yourself from jumping out of the window.

Early last week my wife was diagnosed with achilles tendonitis, which was brought on by her rheumatoid arthritis. Not only does she have to wear a boot to help cushion her foot, but she has to use a cane to get around. Needless to say she was pretty upset about the whole thing, and I did my best to try and comfort her. Unfortunately, neither asking if I could call her ‘Big Daddy Kane’ or trying to call the cane “awesomely pimp” did the trick. I guess my definition of comfort is different than hers.

The same day this happened our daycare called to inform us that Olivia was running a low grade fever, coughing most of the day and that we needed to come get her. She had already been coughing a bit here and there at home, but it never escalated until then. So I left work early, picked her up and scheduled an appointment with our pediatrician for an hour later.

We arrived early, foolishly thinking that doing so puts you in some sort of good graces with the waiting room gods. Thankfully the time passed quickly due to a TV playing something called ‘MVP: Most Vertical Primate.’ If you haven't seen this yet, let me tell you it had everyone in that room captivated. One of the main stars of the film is a chimpanzee who can both skateboard and play ice hockey. Needless to say, the doctor had to pull me away from the TV so he could examine our child. I hope the chimp won both the skateboard contest and the hockey game he was supposed to be in. If anyone knows the outcome of this film, please email me so I can put my mind at ease.

The doctor sees our child, tells me she may be on the verge of an ear infection, gives me a sample of some meds to use and tells me to call him in the next day or so if she doesn’t get better (which she does not). My wife stays home with her the next day, where she watches our child’s energy level and appetite begin to dwindle. All she wanted to do was cuddle with her mommy and get comfortable, all the while inching around like a caterpillar in footie pajamas.

On Friday it was my turn to stay home with her, and it was here that our little caterpillar moved into the chrysalis phase. She had become completely lethargic and wanted nothing more than to build a little cocoon for herself and sleep the entire day. Her fever worsened, and the few times I could convince her to take liquids she downed them quickly but then passed right back out. For those of you not interested in grossness, please skip to the next paragraph. For those remaining, I offer these little tidbits. She also had a lot of milky white mucous flowing from both her nose and her tear ducts (what the?!?!). Since she wanted to sleep all the time, I had to clear out the affected areas periodically. Her eyes were glued shut from the mucous, and I had to pry them open against her will. There were also a few times where the mucous coming from her nose hardened and gave her a snot mustache. The effect was definitely more Hitler than Magnum P.I., with the latter, of course, being the more attractive way to go if you ever have to choose one to sport while under the weather.

After consulting my wife, I decided to head back to the doctor for a follow up appointment. The new diagnosis: a sinus infection. He sent me off with scripts for antibiotics and OTC drugs, which I got delivered to our doorstep because New York fucking rocks. A few doses of this, a pinch of that mixed with a beer for daddy and we put her down for the night. I made sure the wife was taken care of, since she was beginning to feel under the weather as well, and we all hoped things would get better after a good night’s sleep.

The fever? Broken. The snot mustache? Shaved. The cocoon of mucous and sleep was now a husk, and a beautiful butterfly had been born. A beautiful, yet very cranky, butterfly. Saturday’s waking moments were filled with nothing but her cries and moans of discomfort. At first we thought it was just  sinus pain and soreness from dehydration, but we soon learned that on top of it she was teething (lucky us).

So the remainder of my holiday weekend was spent making my sick wife comfortable and trying to appease our slightly better (but not quite 100 percent) cranky child. Let me tell you, this was no easy task. She wanted to be held, but seconds later she didn't. She pointed to something she wanted, but everything you offered was almost always incorrect. She wanted to be left alone and not be comforted, then got mad because we didn't realize that she wanted those things after all. She wanted 'Smash' to not be cancelled, and demanded that we call an executive at NBC to plead her case.

At this point she's halfway through her antibiotics, eating more but still pretty irritable. We deemed her healthy enough to go back to daycare, and honestly it may have been slightly premature. But my wife needed a sick day where she could rest, and I couldn't stay home from work again. I'm slightly ashamed to say that I also really needed a break from the craziness. There's only so much you can take before you reach a breaking point, and with a sick wife and no family nearby to lean on, you do what you can to make it work. I never really think of work as being a place I can escape to when life gets rough, but sometimes it fits the bill. Now if I could figure out a way to drink beer there, maybe it could become a nice home away from home.