It’s that time of the year; it’s the dreaded flu season. Most of my life, I have been able to avoid the flu. I guess I must have been blessed with an unusually healthy immune system… that is until this year. I guess approaching 40 means a rapid decrease in the ability to be immune. As I write this post, my entire family is touched by the flu (except for my oldest son, who seems to have inherited the immune system of my youth.)
Now, usually when one or more of the kids is sick, my wife provides the nurturing care necessary for the boys to find their way back to full health. It’s not that I don’t like to help, it’s just that… you know… oh, who am I kidding… I don’t like to help. I love my boys, but I’m a guy. I hate dealing with whining, I loath the thought of catching something from them, and cleaning up puke in the middle of the night will, in each and every instance, lead to me puking myself!
Well, with our current bout with the flu, my wife has it pretty bad, and so does our 6 year-old. The wife has to take care of him all day, so I have relented and agreed to watch after him at night (he’s usually too fevered to whine and I’m already sick, so I ain’t gonna catch what I already got.) Yes, there has been the cleaning-of-the-puke at around 2 in the morning for much of this week, but, being sick myself, I find that I feel somewhat better after the puking that follows the cleaning-of-the-puke of my son, so it all works out.
I do want to point out that giving chocolate to a sick child before bed when that child is likely to throw up at night and that child has a light colored carpet in his room is not a good idea. The first night it was Oreos, and it took a fair amount of bleach and a more than fair amount of elbow-grease to get the black sludge out of the carpet.
“Did you give the boy chocolate before bed last night?” I asked the wife the next morning.
“He had some Oreos,” she replied. “Why?”
“Well, chocolate puke is hard to clean up…”
“He was hungry, and I’m sick, and the Oreos were handy, so sue me!”
“Not a big deal,” I whispered, ending the conversation.
The next night, a second volley of black ooze from the bowels of hell, more bleach (thank God for synthetic-fibered carpet), and more elbow grease.
The next morning, I sheepishly asked my wife about the boys before-bed snack.
“He helped himself to a Rice Krispie treat from the snack cabinet.”
Together we walked into his room and checked his garbage can. There, in the center of a pile of disgustingly-used Kleenexes rested the bright blue metallic wrapper of one CHOCOLATE Rice Krispie treat.
“Ok, fine, I’ll pay more attention to what he eats before bed!” my wife assured me.
The next night, the puke was relatively clear. Cleaning up this night’s puke was a joy, because I could feel the love of my wife in the work.
The next morning, I noticed a melted, untouched ice cream sandwich on a plate on the dining room table… an ice cream sandwich with vanilla ice cream and CHOCOLATE wafers.
“Uh, what’s this,” I asked the wife while pointing at the melted black and white glob of waste on the plate.
“Oh, that was the boy’s before-bed snack last night,” she said. “Guess he didn’t want it. Why?”
Last night was a nice night for the boy and I. He did not puke. He fell asleep on the the living room couch, so I slept awhile in the recliner. He looked so peaceful on the couch that I didn’t want to move him. We both woke up a couple of hours later with fevers. I felt quite chilled. I decided I would carry him to his bed and give him some Tylenol. As soon as I picked him up, I could feel the fevered-warmth radiating from his tiny body; it felt good.
After placing him in his bed, I begrudgingly turned to get the boy his Tylenol.
“Dad,” his weak voice whispered.
“Will you lay with me for awhile?”
“I love you, Son,” I said as I snuggled up with his little radiator of a body.
We both fell asleep for who knows how long. When I finally woke up, my fever was gone and his was at an all-time high. Feeling like a horrible parent (yet strangely comfortable), I went to get the boy his Tylenol.
Now that flu season actually has an impact on me personally, I have come to realize that I may need to work on my sensitivity. I have also learned that I may need to, during this time of the year, remove all traces of chocolate from the house.
Well, I think I better wrap this post up. I can feel my fever coming back and the chills are really kicking in. I skipped giving the boy his Tylenol before bed. I got me a “heated” bed with a Cars comforter, a ton of stuffed animals, and not much spare room calling my name