I was diagnosed with bronchitis, and “possibly not” pneumonia today, and then I coughed in my child’s face.
So, that basically makes me the worst mother on the planet, winning me a spot in the nominations for Worst Mom of the Year Award. I think I’ll boycott, though; the award itself just isn’t diverse enough. I mean, it’s basically an award meant for a bunch of moms who suck at their most important job, and we’re all ducking our heads, realizing how much we merely toe the line between our child’s life, and death. But, man, are we good at it.
Like coughing on a tiny human while having bronchitis, and “possibly not” pneumonia.
Why can’t there be an awards show for Average Mom of the Year? Or Mothers Who Show Up to School In Non-PJs? Or even Mom Who Finishes School Projects On Time?
Yeah, I wouldn’t win those awards, either. I wouldn’t even be nominated.
Eh, I hate awards shows, anyway.
… Too soon?
Yesterday I made a life plan, based on how I felt: take Tiny to school, take a nap, go to work, go home, take a nap, pick up Tiny from school, go home, make dinner, go to bed. It was a simple plan, one that I had basically followed since I got sick two weeks ago. None of which involved changing into real clothes to drop Tiny off to school, or finishing last month’s “family project.”
So, following my plan, I took Tiny to school, came home, napped from 8 AM to 9:20 AM, and went to work.
I coughed my way into the hospital, I coughed my way into the nurse’s lounge, I coughed my way into the OR. I coughed, and coughed, and coughed–which I’ve been doing for the better part of two weeks. Death glares and finger crosses were thrown my way. I could almost hear people thinking that I should have stayed home. Trust me, I was thinking it, too. I apologized to everyone, wore a mask, and tried to wash my hands as much as possible–like before I touched a door handle, my machine, or my disposal products.
At some point, my surgeon got frustrated with my loud, barking sounds, and yelled, “WHO IS DOING THAT?”
I told him it was me, and apologized for the inconvenience. We’ve been down a person at work, and time off can’t be managed.
He responded, “You sound like you have pneumonia.”
To which I joked, “I’m pretty sure if I had pneumonia, I’d feel a lot worse.”
That relieved some tension, but I left work, and–with encouragement from my mom–went to the local Minute Clinic. At that point, sitting in the tiny office with the Physician’s Assistant, I felt a bit like Schrödinger’s Cat. I was neither truly sick, nor did I have any type infection other than a cold and cough. I told the PA, “Well, let’s get this over with, so that I can tell everyone I’m fine, and go back to work.”
Bronchitis, with “possibly not” pneumonia.
At that point, I felt all of the awful I’d been putting at bay. The PA had listened to my chest, and determined reality. Stupid Schrödinger’s cat. I’d rather have been Pavlov’s dog; at least food came with that theory.
I picked up Tiny from daycare, we picked up my medicine from the drug store, I made Super Cheesy Mac and Cheese–my first meal of the day, because the PA told me I was dehydrated and needed to both eat and drink something–and then, somewhere in between hacking my lungs off and doubling over from an abdominal Charlie’s horse so severe I didn’t think I could stand up straight, t realized I could no longer Mom.
We wrapped it up then. I cough-issued orders for Tiny to find his own nighttime drink, shut down all the lights in the house, and come into my room to put on jammies, because Mommy was done. No part of me could muster another task, another duty, or even fathom discipline.
He didn’t want to take a bath; I didn’t force it. He didn’t want to read a book; I didn’t make him. He didn’t want to sleep in his bed; I didn’t even try to fight the good fight. He wanted help putting on his jammies; I didn’t tell him to be a big boy, and get himself dressed.
So, somewhere between his left leg and right leg, a coughing fit came over me, and I hacked right into my darling, green-eyed boy’s face.
Worst Mom of the Year Award goes to … .
Even though the PA told me I’m not contagious, common sense, Google, Web MD, and family all tell me I am. Worse? Tiny woke up and hacked his way through a bit of chest congestion this morning, and I felt every inch of Mother’s guilt as I packed him off to school.
You know, so he can go infect more people.
At least he had his flu shot?