Late last night I found myself in the pediatrics’ urgent care clinic at Timpinogos Hospital. Charlie, my middle child and self acclaimed diva, had been screaming from about dinner time on that her cheeks, throat, and ears were hurting. Normally I tell my children to take two aspirin and call me in the morning, especially when I’m just about ready to get in bed. (Side note: I do not actually give my children aspirin. That was a joke.) But last night I seemed to realize that Charlie’s illness needed some attention right. then.
I’d like to think that it was because my motherly intuition is just so damn good that I automatically picked up on the fact that she was really, really sick, but I have to be honest here. It was probably just because the child wouldn’t stop screaming.
So I crawled out of bed, called the doctor, and rallied the troops. That’s right. I had declared Mama War, and as any mother knows, I meant business. I have to mention here that Brad, my unearthly good-looking husband, was a godsend last night. Sometimes when these kinds of situations present themselves we find ourselves, well, shall we say out of sync?
But not last night. Last night was awesome. We were like Bonnie and Clyde, Sunny and Cher, Batman and Robin. And this was how it went.
(Please read with a whispery, dramatic voice saved only for detective novels and some soaps.)
Meagan walks into Brad’s office where he is conversely taking care of a two month old baby, while working hard to solve world hunger on his laptop.
Meagan: Brad, we have to take Charlie to the doctor. She is very, very sick.
Brad stands up, shutting his laptop at the mere sound of stress in Meagan’s voice. He grabs his car keys while swooping up their devastatingly handsome infant boy in his arms.
Brad: I’ll get the baby in the car. Do you need anything else, my love? (note: There is no sarcasm here. Only love and concern.)
With tears in her eyes, Meagan pulls Brad’s lips toward her own, giving him a kiss that rivals the one Jack gave Rose on the Titanic. She doesn’t need to say anything here; the kiss conveys her thanks. After a good thirty seconds, Brad has to pull her away.
Brad: Come. We must go.
Meagan nods, still flush from their kiss. Their two souls merge as they head toward the door, both ready to sacrifice a good night’s sleep in order to save their dying child.
Okay, so maybe that isn’t exactly how it happened, but I swear it is close. We drop our firstborn off at Grandma’s house and head for the hospital with the two little ones. The road is dark and quiet, but inside the car it is very, very loud. Charlie is still screaming in pain, and the infant is screaming because, well, we’re in the car.
We reach the clinic and I’m surprised to find that it is very busy. Somehow I thought we’d be the only ones with a sick child after hours. Not so. The room is full of children, some holding bowls, others looking pale and limp. I actually wondered if the one kid in the corner had already passed. His skin was a pasty white and he was lying on his mother’s lap. It didn’t look like he was breathing.The truth is, parents don’t take a kind-of-sort-of-sick kid to the doctor after hours. They only take the death-like ones.
We stayed in this waiting room for a long time, Brad holding one baby and me the other. Apparently they were running behind, and I was too tired to complain. Not that I really would have complained. As far as I’m concerned these doctors that work all night long for our children are angels. They deserve nothing but our thanks.
As I wait, I stare at the other people in the room. Well, not the dying boy in the corner. He is scaring me. The lady sitting across from me is very beautiful. She has long dark hair and two doe-like, brown eyes. She’s wearing a red top and her lipstick matches her shirt perfectly. I look down at my sweatpants and tank top. I’m trying to pull off the outfit by wearing a Julia Robert’s smile, but it’s not working.
Come on, lady, I think. Are you out to make the rest of us mothers feel bad? Who wears lipstick at 11:00 at night at a clinic? The thing that makes it even worse is that she seems really, really nice. There is nothing even remotely bitchy about her. She’s holding her son’s bowl for him and wiping his forehead with her long, petite fingers. She even picks up my baby’s pacifier when it falls to the ground and gives me a long, understanding smile.
I hate beautiful people in general, but the nice, beautiful ones? They’re the worst. You can’t even think something like “Well, yeah…you might have everything going for you on the outside, but I’m a winner on the inside. I have personality and compassion.”
Don’t even get me started on the beautiful, nice, and SMART, people. Anyway, I make myself feel better and pass the time by trying to find the woman’s flaws, which, let me be clear, is really hard to do. (To all those people who think that I’m such a nice person, you should know by now, it’s just an act.) I finally find one, though. The red toe nail polish on her big toe is slightly worn away.
Yep. That is it. That is her one big flaw.
After a long, long time we get to see the doctor and Charlie gets diagnosed as having two puss infected ears, a red, swollen throat, and a fever of 102.5. The doctor is thinking Strep Throat. I sigh in relief as the doctor writes a prescription, thankful she is really sick and that I didn’t just race a kinda-sorta sick child to the doctor’s at midnight, only to have the doctor laugh at me and tell me that my kid only needs some Dimatapp. No, I’m only kidding. I was not thankful that I had a really sick child, because I knew that that meant I had a nice, long weekend ahead of me.
After picking up the prescription, we go home. I proceed to give Charlie all of her medicine, smiling calmly when she screams at me that she is going to throw it up in my face. I make up a bed for her in my room, put a cold cloth on her head, and pray that she’ll sleep, which she does, more or less.
This morning I gave her more medicine, put her in a nice cool bath, and moved her to the couch. I gave her juice, let her watch cartoons, and did all the things that my mom used to do for me when I was sick.
The war has not ended though. This is only the beginning. My oldest called me from school this morning. She was feeling dizzy and her head hurt…maybe it’s her ears; she couldn’t really tell.
See. The Mama War has just begun. But like a trooper, I will clean, cook, and smile, pretending that I’m not tired as I rock my babies back and forth until they are well.