Monday, February 24, 2014

the shit show, part I

ah, vacation. sun. sand. sea. sipping a big, icy cold margarita in a frosted glass while the children frolic happily on the beach, gentle ocean waves lapping at their adorable little sausage toes.

hahahahahahahahaha. good one, eh?

i've talked before about the trials and tribulations of family "vacations," flying with children, and DM's and my misguided aspirations to expose our children to culture and travel while maintaining the adventurous spirit upon which our relationship was founded. and i have to admit, i was starting to get a little cocky. ever since jack was 11 months old, traveling with the kids seems to have become progressively easier. not without its challenges, mind you. but, not the absolute worst thing in the world (which is probably the strongest endorsement i could give) and, arguably, worth the benefits it brings.

well, ladies and gentlemen, i can assure you, my ego is now in check. may i please have an extra large scoop of ice cream with my humble pie?

you may have heard/read, but, just to set the tone, a week prior, my grandpa died. we figured we were going to need to cancel our mexican vacation to attend the service. but, as "luck" would have it, the memorial was postponed a couple of weeks and our vacation plans remained intact.

then, the kids got sick. the entire week was an exercise in sleep deprivation, with long days juggling snotty babes and laptops and distracted conference calls and long nights where one or both sicky littles woke up needing tylenol and TLC. we were scheduled to leave for mexico friday morning. at 11:30 pm on thusday night, DM and i are sitting on the couch, trying to catch up with work. it is eerily quiet. he looks over at me and says, "i'm not even going to say anything...." let me translate our marital ESP: "i can't believe no one has woken up yet. that's a good sign. but i'm not going to say it out loud, because i am a notorious jinx-er, and if i say it out loud, someone will wake up." me: "DON'T EVEN THINK IT. GET THAT THOUGHT OUT OF YOUR HEAD. RIGHT. NOW."

as if on cue, the baby monitor emits an animal-like wail. but, we realize, it's jack's monitor. we were not expecting that, because he is the one who got sick first, and seemed mostly fine at this point. he's also three and a half, rarely wakes up in the night anymore, and when he does, it's usually pretty easy to get him back down. [*KNOCK ON WOOD*] DM goes back and tries to settle him, to no avail. it escalates. i go back there and attempt to exude my most nurturing, motherly presence. he screams at me: DON'T TOUCH ME! GET OFF MY BED! GET OUT OF MY ROOM RIGHT NOW!!! then he screams when i leave. at this point, he is utterly inconsolable. DM and I are both in there, trying to do and say anything we can to get him to calm down. NOTHING works. he can't tell us what is wrong or why he is crying or how we can make it better. it's a lose-lose situation. the only consistent thing is that he is periodically grabbing his left ear and saying "OWIIIIIE." we are finally able to get him to take some motrin, but it doesn't help a bit. this goes on for three hours. i have never, ever seen him this upset for this long, at least not since the "dark days" of colic over three years ago. DM and i are staring at each other, wide-eyed with panic, like, what in the fuck is going on??? and i am on the verge of tears, too. not only because i feel bad that he is so miserable, but because, honestly, and i know this sounds sort of silly, i know he's sick and just a kid, but he hurt my feelings. (incidentally, i read this post recently and it really resonated with me: "Forgive and forget? I wish I could" on Motherhood, WTF?)

i finally called the kaiser "help" line. all i really wanted was the physical address of an urgent care clinic, but i had to sit through their spectacularly unhelpful triage process, e.g., "Is your son afraid of clowns? Does he prefer broccoli or asparagus? Is he awake and responsive right now? Okay. Have him pick a number, any number, between 1 and 99...." once i had hacked my way through the ridiculous bureaucratic BS, i was informed that they don't have urgent care, only the ER, and "god only knows how long that'll take." the nurse recommended that i just bring him in to his pediatrician first thing in the morning. i informed her that that wasn't going to work because we had a flight at 10am. i asked if i should just take him to the ER instead. she was a total arschloch and was like, "Ma'am, you don't need MY permission to do whatever you want to do for your son. I cannot give you medical advice. I'm just giving you my suggestion as a trained medical professional. But you just go on ahead and do whatever your little heart desires with regards to your son's health and well being." i hung up, savored a few choice words for the "trained medical professional," and got dressed to take my son to the ER. then we conveniently remembered that my father-in-law is a doctor, so we called him and asked him to just call in a prescription for antibiotics. i went to CVS at 3:30 in the morning and got the prescription and an entire bag of crappy clearance stuff for valentine's. by the time i got home, though, jack was sound asleep on the couch. when he woke up in the morning, he was bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. we were like, wtf? but hey, i'll take that over sick psycho baby any day.

[okay. so. i was recently reading some "blog tips" and the lady was saying, "it doesn't really matter how long your blog post is. if it takes you 1,000 words to passionately discuss how you feel, so be it. but keep in mind, most people don't have the time or the inclination to read 1,000 words." (so, in other words, it totally does matter how long your blog post is.) hmmm. so, then, how do we feel about 3,042 words? too much? ;) alright. in light of this recent discovery, i'm splitting this post into three installments that are still well beyond the attention span of the average american, which is slightly longer than that of a fruit fly. that's the best i can do :)]

to be continued . . .

kaiser "i can't give you advice" nurse, i will cut you.

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