Tuesday, August 3, 2010
Six Sick Days with Jalen
Our son Jalen will be 6 1/2 years old this weekend.
As most of you know, he was born nine weeks premature, but he's otherwise been blessed with reasonably good health throughout his life.
Off the top of my head -- and I'm sure Mrs. Bootleg will be quick to correct me on anything I'm about to omit -- the most serious Jalen-related medical issues we've endured were an enlarged heart false alarm in November 2005; a child-sized concussion in July 2009 and this past spring's Arizona ear infection.
Otherwise, Jalen catches colds about as often as his kindergarten friends can pass them around the playground. J has an uncanny knack for showing symptoms just before or right in the middle of a weekend. He might miss school on a Friday, but he'll be fully recovered come Monday.
And, then there was last Thursday:
Thursday, July 29: On school days, Jalen usually wakes up around 6:00 AM. Our Monday through Friday family alarm clock is when Mrs. Bootleg drops the fifth of her 15 assorted facial scrubs on the bathroom floor. Instead, J doesn't emerge from the bedroom until almost 7:00 AM and he's complaining about a sore throat. I love my son, but "whiny Jalen" never fails to ruin my mood -- no matter how good my day is going. In fact, here's the cinematic equivalent. He sounds a little congested, as well, but refuses to blow his nose.
In MY defense, I had two contract negotiations scheduled for the morning and simply could not stay home with Jalen on this day. I might've been a wee bit wound up when I mildly exploded in J's face after his fourth or fifth bit of nose-blowing obstinacy. This situation required calm conciliation, so I reached for my parental tag-team partner and called Mrs. Bootleg at work. She was somehow able to shuffle around her four-hour, part-time work day (and not without letting me know what a burden it would be) to come home and stay with Jalen.
Friday, July 30: It's Jalen's last day at his kindergarten summer camp and the last day he'll see most of his classmates, as he's moving to a new school for first grade in the fall. The kids are also putting on a play in the late morning and J's been talking about his dinosaur supporting role for weeks. He...also looks like death's leftovers when he wakes up. I offer him cold pizza for breakfast and he declines! This is officially "serious". We had to weigh Jalen's happiness (seeing his friends, performing in the play) with our responsibility as parents (not infecting his friends, not allowing sick Jalen to ruin the play). Looking back, I'm glad we sent him to school. Jalen's delirious, half-asleep performance was reminiscent of a little black John Belushi. That afternoon, J's diagnosed with strep throat.
Saturday, July 31: Just after midnight, Jalen has...well, let's call it a "catastrophic" accident in bed. And, I should probably just leave it at that. (At least until he becomes a teenager, when this anecdote will be needed to bring him down a few pegs in front of his cocky, disrespectful friends.) After the sun comes up, Mrs. Bootleg gives me one of her classic sideways looks when I tell her that I'm taking J out for a haircut. Yes, his temperature's been around 101 degrees for three days, but if he doesn't get a haircut, he'll look like 1978 Gary Coleman in no time.
Jalen spends ten cantankerous minutes in the barber's chair, but seems to be breaking free from his lethargy. Mrs. Bootleg meets us for a late breakfast at the Pancake House where Jalen takes down a short stack, a side of sausage links and an ice water. Quite the breakthrough, as this is the first real meal he's had since Wednesday evening. Aaaand, speaking of "breakthroughs": "Daddy, I think I have to go poop really bad." GAH! We've since left the restaurant and stopped by Target to pick up a few things. Jalen's panicked narration as I navigate the aisles from the toy department towards the front of the store was six-year-old gold: "You're taking me the LONG way! We're not going to make it!"
We made it.
Sunday, August 1: J's temperature is nearing 103. He's been on antibiotics for two days, but he's obviously not getting better. Mrs. Bootleg wants to take him back in to Urgent Care. I ask for 15 minutes to shower, brush my teeth and get dressed while the wife finds a facility that's open on Sunday. As I exit the shower, I hear our garage door closing. Mrs. Bootleg apparently dead-lifted 60 lbs. of her sleeping son off the couch and into the back seat of her SUV. Well, excuse me for taking a few extra minutes to moisturize.
Jalen gets a new antibiotic. The thinking is that he somehow contracted both a bacterial infection (strep throat) and a viral bug (flu-like symptoms).
Monday, August 2: Just before midnight on Sunday evening, Jalen had come downstairs and face-planted on the couch. He thrashed around for an hour or so, sweating buckets and talking in his sleep. I took a cold washcloth to the back of his neck and his forehead, which seemed to provide a degree of relief. He nodded off again, but after a few minutes, he looked up and asked: "Can you fix my body, daddy?"
Yup...time for ol' Aaron to start praying.
I know, I know, Lisa Simpson. You think it's the last refuge of a scoundrel, but still.
Tuesday, August 3: J's fever finally breaks as he's once again sliding into imaginary bases around our house. Not quite 100%, but no catastrophic accidents to speak of, either.