Sunday, July 11, 2010

Sick? Fever? No Problem!

Yesterday's dinner was, for the most part, quite nice. Hibachi is really fun, although I was a little disappointed that we didn't have an Asian guy do the cooking. One expects an Asian man to do the Hibachi thing. The white guy chef that we had was quite entertaining and competent and did everything expecting, but the fact that he wasn't Asian was disappointing. Cie la vie.

During the dinner, The Boy got somewhat anxious and off-kilter. He felt very warm to me; damn my sensitive fingers! I took both babies home a little bit early, so that the adults could have some time and The Wife could have some sibling time. I took The Boy's temperature when we got home, and it was 101 degrees axillary. Combine that and a day's worth of entirely liquid, hourly poo... OOK!

(BTW, here's an image for you: two boys, screaming their heads off and angry at me and at each other. One doesn't feel well, and the other is just ornery and cranky. Both need to be held. I'm the only adult. They are sitting on my lap, fighting over a sippy cup of grape juice. Sigh.)

I called the doctor, just to get some instructions. But, do you know what was REALLY nice? I did NOT call our oncologist. I did NOT call Children's Hospital. We did NOT go to the emergency room, and we did NOT need to suddenly plan for a week's stay at the Hotel Children's. The pediatrician did call me back, not a nurse, which was nice. Long story short, he was afraid we had picked up a bacterial infection similar (but less serious) to E Coli. We carefully observed him all night, forcefed him fluids and some salty things, and brought him in first thing in the morning.

He was much better after a good night's sleep. He still had one or two liquid poops during the day, and he was more apt to rest than play for much of the day, and he hasn't really eaten much of anything. His temperature returned to normal by the morning, and we did let him play at his brother's birthday party.

It was really nice to have the kid catch a nice, normal childhood illness. It wasn't cancer, it doesn't seem to require a hospital stay, and it will likely work its way through in its own time. While I did kind of use the cancer thing to get the answering service's attention, I liked feeling like a normal, over-anxious parent for a little while.

The Wife and I had an interesting discussion about that, a day or two ago. How long do we get to play the cancer card, in conversation with others and in regards to The Boy and his activities? For instance, last week, we used the cancer card to get him a linejump handicap pass at Kennywood. I have no issue doing that, considering that he's still in physical therapy, thank you very much vincristine. This summer, when we go to Sesame Place, we'll do the same thing, and we'll do it again when we go back to Kennywood.

I know that we're still going to play the cancer card when it comes to catch up on followup thankyou notes. There's people who were intensely generous with time or with money that are going to get notes from us. Not necessarily soon, but soon-ish. The notes will say something along the lines of, "Thanks for giving us so much, we're doing better but not out of the woods yet, we're rebuilding our lives and aren't clinically depressed anymore, and here's a picture of the boys." They aren't going out too soon, because my kid had cancer and we're behind in them.

But, how long can we play the cancer card in regards to our lives? How long are we entitled to say, "I don't want to do that because my kid has/had cancer and needs me at home"? The Wife thinks that that sort of thing is now done and over; she doesn't want to play that card any more. I'm not so sure. I'm really, really, really burned out and PTSD professionally right now; getting systematically abused by one's employers over a four month timespan will do that. I'm not recovered from that, and it's likely going to take a long time. I mean, one would expect a certain amount of compassion for people in our situation; getting written up for using sick days to spend a week in intensive care with your infant son can leave scars.

I know that I'm supposed to "be a man" and "get over it" and "walk it off" and "grow up" and "grow a pair" and "be professional" and that sort of thing. I'm working on it. If you were in my shoes, what would you be doing? I'm actually content to continue to use the cancer card, because I'm still feeling the effects of this life-and-death struggle and will likely feel them for a long time. That's not to say I that I'm unable to teach; far from it. My last concert in Westfield and my math teaching here in Pittsburgh have been exceptional. It just means that I'm overanalyzing administrative issues, searching for the potential for things to backfire on me.

Scars, you know? But, at least we're not in the hospital today.


Aaron said...

You know, I honestly don't think you should need to use the cancer card. Your job as a father is the most important thing you will do with your life (barring any major scientific or medical breakthroughs, and let's face it, you're not that bright). Your number one priority is what your children need from you, both of them. And if anyone that you work with or have to deal with doesn't understand that, then I see no ethical issue with using the cancer card to make them behave how they should be behaving anyway.

I work at Hunter College, and the infrastructure here sucks. Oftentimes, our classrooms will be upwards of 90 degrees, because the air system isn't working. Whenever that's the case, we tell Facilities that there's a pregnant student in the class, because that seems to be the only way to get them to do what should be their job anyway. And in your case, the cancer card has the added benefit of actually being true.

Jennifer said...

I can't really comment on the cancer card since (thankfully) I haven't been there, but I don't see any harm. You will probably suffer the effects much longer than the boy...mentally at least.

I don't get administration sometimes! I've watched our Principal write up teachers and try to get rid of them for missing too many days because of health. The irony is she probably missed more days than anyone because of her health. It just doesn't make sense. She will probably not be happy when she finds out that I'm waiting on an interview to a school 4 miles from ours.

I hope you both find something with compassionate administrators!

Jennifer said...
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