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.