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my son, captain howdy

My poor kiddo was sick over the weekend. Indeed, his ailments on Mother’s Day got a little worse before they got better.

He doesn’t have asthma, but his lungs seem to be especially prone to congestion and nastiness whenever he gets a cold.

Saturday he seemed to be sniffling more than usual (we’re all kind of drippy this time of year) and that night he was wheezy and miserable. We sent him to bed and in the morning he didn’t seem to have improved much. He slept most of the day while I pushed fluids and Tylenol, which didn’t seem to help.

We made him eat some dinner and get a long, hot shower before putting him to bed.

Aside: a few weeks ago, he had a stomach virus that thankfully didn’t last too long. We picked him up from school and on the drive home instructed him to let us know if things were starting to go downhill. Close to our house, he suddenly announced, “Things are going downhill!” and then successfully barfed out of the window as we sped home. It was hilarious and cute and kind of pathetic all at the same time.

Anyway, Sunday night, things started going downhill again. From downstairs, I could hear him saying something like, “Mum!” I went up and asked him if he was okay and…well…he began speaking in tongues.

“Mum. Mum. Muuuuummmm. Murrrrmmmm. Maaaaa. Maaaaaaa.”

“I’m here, buddy. Are you okay?”

“Yeah. Yeah. Yeeeehhhh. Yeaaaahhhhhhhh. Ahhhhhh. Yeeeeeee,” he replied, in a growl.

“Buddy, wake up. What’s wrong?”

“Caaaaaa. Caaaaaa. Caaaaaa. Cuurrrrrrppp.”

Well, shit. That’s never a good sign, is it? I could tell that he was not fully awake but it still freaked me out, so I called for the husband, trying to figure out the best way to inform someone that their son is possessed.

The husband came upstairs, still chatting on his cell phone to a friend, but abruptly ended his conversation when he got to hear some of the baby’s demonic freestyling. “Uh, my son is…ill. I’ll talk to you later.”

We got him out of bed and he started to seem slightly more…of this realm, especially when he informed us that he had wet the bed. We peppered him with questions and he still seemed mostly out of it, saying stuff like, “I don’t like life,” and his breathing was still not great. I declared that we needed to go to the hospital, worried that perhaps he was having serious trouble breathing while laying down, which could have caused the Regan performance.

The husband wanted to cool him down first in the shower, since he seemed to be running a fever. I scurried off to get dressed. However, once the baby was in the shower, the cool water snapped him out of whatever half-sleep he had been in and he started making way more sense.

The husband told me that the baby seemed okay at that point, just a victim of fever-induced nightmares, and that we should just sit up with him for a little bit and then decide if we should continue on to the hospital. I stood in the baby’s room wearing nothing but a bra and some pajama pants and, in that get-up, had the audacity to peer at him cautiously and make decisions about his sanity and well-being.

We let him watch Treme with us and I pulled him into my lap so that I could pat his back. The husband watched us and laughed at the sight of our 8-year-old curled up on my shoulder. “He’s too big, Kel!” he chuckled. Never!

Despite making a dramatic improvement overnight, we took him to the doctor yesterday anyway. The doc commended me on my detailed chronology of his illness. I did not get a sticker. Harsh. However, I didn’t think my account was all that stellar. What must other people do? Plop their kid on the butcher paper, point, and say, “It’s broken?”

The baby politely asked the nurse, “Will there be shots involved?” He was relieved that there weren’t but became slightly alarmed when the doctor prescribed him a steroid for his condition, especially since we had just been talking about Barry Bonds a few nights prior.

“Steroids?” he asked, perhaps worried that he might get kicked out of Little League for juicing. And, besides, heads run big in our family. His small frame can’t support domes of the Bonds or McGwire variety

“Yes, but not the kind that make you…” the doc paused, and curled his arms to flex his muscles.

We were sent home with our prescriptions, which included breathing treatments. We had been through the nebulizer routine once before, a few years ago, when he had persistent congestion. We used to jokingly refer to it as huffing gas. “Okay, kiddo, time to huff gas!” I bet his teachers love all of the colorful phrases that he adds to the elementary school lexicon.

This morning he returned to school and I reported to the husband, “I gave him his steroids and he huffed gas. He’s all set for the day.”

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