Every year, during this season of goodwill and unrelenting illness, I have a little word with myself. I tell myself that yes, we're all sick, again for the third (or fourth or fifth) time so far this winter, but what's really happening is that we're paying upfront for future years of strong immune systems and infrequent sickness. I'm right. I am right? Right? I must be. I like to tell myself this otherwise I might punch the wall. I'm trying to stay positive. Really trying.
Just last month I found myself driving to emergency at 11:30 on a snowy Saturday night with my younger son, who it turned out had croup. Then yesterday once again I loaded the car with crying people and drove to the emergency - this time the one at the Children's Hospital - for my older son who's leg was causing him great pain for no obvious reason.
(Can I just say that the Alberta Children's Hospital is a really fantastic place and I am so extremely thankful it's in my city.)
Four-and-a-half hours in hospital, a ride in a wheel chair, an x-ray, a wrestling match with a nurse and a tube of medicine and several brain-grinding hours of Treehouse later and the doctor presented my son's diagnosis: toxic synoviris - a virus that settles in the hip joint, causing pain to the entire leg and making it almost impossible to walk. Thankfully, it's not too serious and usually clears up in a week or two.
Fingers triple crossed. Because as viruses go, this one sucks in a major way.
"Just make sure he takes some anti-inflammatories." The doctor advised before we left the hospital. I nodded obediently, picturing the scene: me trying to persuade my son to drink his medicine; him refusing; me trying harder; him telling me he will NEVER AS LONG AS HE LIVES NO MATTER WHAT drink that stuff; me trying harder still; him flat-out refusing; me lying on the floor, tired and defeated.
Feeding medicine to my son is (I imagine) sort of like what would happen if you tried to feed toothpaste to a tiger.
So, back at home I came up with another plan.
Magic ice cream!
Or, in other words, ice cream with crushed anti-inflammatory tablets stirred in. With love, of course.
The (magic) ice cream went down nicely and I relaxed in the knowledge that my sneaky efforts would result in my son getting a little relief. And as I watched him eating his medicine without the slightest suspicion, I considered what a mad and unpredictable ride parenting is. Just when I think I have a handle on all things child-related, something new and unforeseen pops up to keep me on my toes.
And now, with a cold starting up in my own body, I might need some magic ice cream too.