Mar 2, 2008

Flu in the Coop

It's Flu Central around here right now. Maya had it a few weeks ago--high fever, headache, cough, sore throat, aches and chills--and I thought the rest of us had miraculously been spared, but then I came down with it on Thursday, and Eden woke up yesterday morning with a 102 degree fever. Uzi had some big clients from Amsterdam in town all last week and our babysitter's car broke down Wednesday night--one of those 'what else can possibly go wrong?' kind of weeks--so I had to take care of the girls myself Thursday and Friday when I was insanely, outrageously sick, which was exactly the opposite of fun. (Read: back-to-back videos in Mom's bed and microwaveable chicken nuggets and corn for dinner. Although to kids that probably does sound like fun.) Maya's flu lasted for five days--four of which perfectly coincided with our family vacation to Mammoth--and I'm on Day Four now. So hopefully I'm coming to the end of it. But poor Eden. She's trying so hard to be in good spirits, but her fever shot up to almost 104 this afternoon. Also, whenever her immune system gets challenged her psoriasis acts up, so that's making her uncomfortable. Uzi took Maya to her improv class at Second City in Hollywood, so I was home alone with her. I gave her some Tylenol and went to run a sponge bath, but while I was filling the tub she fell asleep on my bed. I figure that sleep is the best thing for her right now, so I just let her go for it. When Uzi and Maya got back they brought us a dozen pink roses with a Get Well card--so sweet.

I remember when Maya (and even Eden) were much younger, whenever I'd see 103.8 on a thermometer I'd rush to call the pediatrician. Thank god for our pediatrician ( He's a saint. Pediatricians have got to be the most patient human beings put on this earth. How many times a day do they have to calm down frantic parents during flu season? I'm guessing a lot. By now, I don't call unless there are unusual symptoms. Otherwise, it's Tylenol or Motrin (check), sponge bath (check), lots of water and juice (check, check), call the doctor if the fever lasts for more than five days. (Let's hope it doesn't get to that point.)

That doesn't mean I'm completely calm when a fever goes up that high--it still gives me a little twinge of panic to see the numbers on the digital thermometer go up, and up, and up. But what's freaking me out most right now is that I'm scheduled to leave Thursday night for 10 days in Belize (by myself) and I don't know how I'm going to get on the plane if Eden's still sick. I'm committed to going even if I'm not fully recovered, because it's for a workshop that happens only once a year, and I'll be doing research for my book down there, which is due in October, but I don't like leaving the kids for 10 days under any circumstances--and definitely not if one of them is sick. And the timing is very weird, because I just finished writing the chapter in the book (set in 2000) where Uzi, Maya, and I left for Belize and she was very sick with croup upon our departure. The pediatrician (not Dr. Jay, a different one back then) told us it was a virus, and she'd either get better at home or she'd get better down there, so we might as well go, which sounded like good advice. But we had so many airline delays on the trip down that it took us two days to get there--including a sleepless night in Guatemala City--and she got much sicker on the journey. Something about having a virus now, when I'm again about to leave for Belize, feels auspicious given that history. I'd rather get better up HERE than down there. I've got four more days. Let's hope that's enough time.

I'm just praying that Uzi doesn't come down with it, while I'm away. His system is usually the most resilient one in the house, so hopefully he'll be spared. We've got friends up the street who've got it now--all four of them--and lots of kids in both Maya and Eden's classes have been sick. Uzi says it's good for the immune system to get challenged from time to time, to stay in shape, which sounds plausible. Still, couldn't it get a one-day workout every couple of months, instead of a weeklong stretch every other year? That would be a heck of a lot more convenient for a working mom. For anyone, really. Let me know who I need to talk with about organizing this, and I'll be happy to place the call.

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