Saturday, September 7, 2013
When a Working Mom Gets an Upper Respiratory Infection, Day One
. . . she won't recognize what it is at first.
(Head and Eustachian tube congestion? Yeah, we practically live in a swimming pool. A little congestion is par for the course. Sweaty head and neck at night - the kind of sweats you get with a fever? You also get them with hormone fluctuations and, HELLO, we're 43 now.)
When she wakes up nauseated on a Friday morning , she will assume that she has "the intestinal thing that is going around the schools" (as described to her, via text, by her oldest child who, on his way home from school on the bus on Thursday, began lobbying to skip swimming practice, (1) citing the fact that "the kid who sits next to me has been out for two days, and I've heard that it's an epidemic in North Texas" and (2) ACTUALLY LINKING, VIA MMS, TO A NEWS ARTICLE about a particularly bad strain of norovirus . . . dating to a year ago). She will consider apologizing to her son for finding his claims of illness suspicious given that they were made fifteen minutes before swim practice. She will put a pin in the apology, and get dressed, and go to work "for just a little while," because she has some stuff to move off of her desk that actually involves being AT her desk.
(She will not leave until 2 pm.)
When she goes into the office, she will apologize to her assistant for coming in germy, and promise to stay sequestered, and when she decides that a Coke might help settle her stomach she will instruct her assistant to put the Coke on the corner of the credenza near the door and then back out of the room. She will retrieve the Coke once her assistant is safely ten paces away (because she would like to think she's a good boss, and a caring person).
Around 11:30, while sitting at her desk, her head will swim. And then swim again. (Hmm, vertigo. When do we normally get vertigo? When a migraine is approaching, or when we have a "stealth" sinus or ear infection. At age 43, we don't get infections gradually anymore. They just show up one day, full-blown. We credit this to lots of years of practice at being functional "walking wounded.")
After her head swims, she will notice that her ears are feeling really, really full. She will notice a little drainage running down her throat - the kind that can cause tummy upset. She will, tentatively, cough. Her cough will sound icky - borderline wheezy - and as soon as she coughs the presence of EIGHT TONS OF FLUID IN HER SINUSES will present itself.
After she realizes that she has an upper respiratory infection (and gets over her embarrassment at taking a week-plus to realize that she has one), she will make plans to see her doctor. She will stop off in the restroom on the way out of the building (no longer concerned about spreading a particularly nasty strain of norovirus left over from 2012), and on her way out of the stall her head will swim again, and her body will careen into the exposed locking mechanism protruding from the doorframe. Said locking mechanism will collide with her left forearm, HARD. She will spend the next two minutes with her head down on the bathroom counter, gritting her teeth and trying not to swear. The bruise will be forming as she leaves the office.
After obtaining confirmation of her self-diagnosis, she will say YES to the steroid shot, BECAUSE STEROID SHOTS ARE AWESOME (well, the actual shot part is non-awesome, but if you remember to adopt the flamingo stance and hold on to the exam table with the leg below the designated steroid hip off the ground with knee cocked, it mitigates a lot of stiffness afterwards, because it's really difficult - although not impossible - to tense your butt muscles in that position). In addition to pulling all of the swelling out of swollen nasal passages and ear canals, allowing stuff to drain, STEROID SHOTS MAKE YOU WANT TO RUN MARATHONS WHEN YOU AREN'T A MARATHON RUNNER.
She will get her steroid shot, and her antibiotic prescription, and her prescriptions for one-month supplies of Zyrtec-D and Singulair, and she will be extra-glad that she cried "uncle" and went to the doctor, because a one-month course of Zyrtec-D and Singulair during ragweed and mountain cedar sounds like an excellent idea. On her way to the pharmacy, she will stop at the mall, because (1) the steroids are taking effect and she feels a whole lot less cruddy and (2) her mom tipped her off on a monster "one-day-only" sale on gold chains. She will purchase a long chain for her Junior Woman's Club president's medallion for a scandalously low price, and she will be very happy about this, because her medallion has been on a too-short chain for years, result being that she never wears it.
Then she will go to Super Target, where the wait for prescriptions is 45 minutes, but she wants to get her prescriptions filled at Super Target because as a Target Red Card Visa holder, she gets a bonus discount shopping day after every five prescriptions. She will kill 45 minutes shopping for birthday gifts for the Little Kid and favors for his party (which is in six weeks, but she has learned to buy things when she sees them) and pondering birthday gifts for her soon-to-be-95-year-old grandmother. She will decide that you can only have so much hand cream, and she will decide that her grandmother really, really likes wine and being taken to the country club for fancy meals. Done, and done.
When she goes to pay for her prescriptions with her Target Red Card Visa, the pharmacy tech will ask her if she wants to sign up for a Target pharmacy card. She will ask what the pharmacy card gets her. She will be told that the pharmacy card gets her a bonus discount shopping day after every five prescriptions. This will sound familiar, and she will advise the pharmacy tech that she THOUGHT that she was already getting these benefits as a Target Red Card Visa holder, per propaganda previously delivered to her. The pharmacy tech will yell back to the pharmacist, who will tell her that she is supposed to get those benefits with her Target Red Card Visa, but it doesn't always work out that way, and if the system is prompting the tech to ask, SHE PROBABLY HAS NOT BEEN GETTING THOSE BENEFITS WHEN SHE THOUGHT SHE WAS ACCRUING THEM ALL ALONG. She will consider once again assuming the "head down on counter position."
She will leave with her prescriptions, and brand-new Target pharmacy card, and credit for three prescriptions (but not the prescription for the dog's medicine last month, $%*&#$!, and other stuff, and go home to take her medicine and go to bed. Except, first, she has to find her president's medallion and see if it works on the new chain. The search will take her fifteen minutes. She will spend the next twenty minutes getting the medallion off of the old chain, because the bail on the medallion is crazy-narrow, so you have to pull a chain through by looping thin ribbon through the end of the chain, first, and the bail second, and then tugging on the ribbon with all of your might. To get the medallion off, you have to reverse the process, but with an additional step in the threading process that is more than a bit vexing. She will discover that she has no thin ribbon. She will resort to dental floss. Then she will use the same process to put the medallion on the new chain . . . which is TOO LONG. Like, "medallion wedged between the boobs" too long. She will spend countless additional time, with help from Spouse, getting the medallion off of chain #2.
And then, still sick, she will drive to a different Macy's (one closer to her house) to try to find a "momma bear" chain, having struck out with "baby" and "poppa," because she is tired of this too short/too long #&@* and it's a one-day sale. She will wait ten minutes while another patron, who evidently has never seen a chain before and is not sure what to do with one, considers her many chain options. She will finally get access to the case, locate a chain that seems to be the right length (but we have thought that before), and exchange it for Poppa Bear, and then she will go home and go through the dental floss process a third time. Momma Bear does the trick. She should go to bed. She really, really should - but when she goes to hang up the chain with an outfit she plans to wear to a Junior League meeting the following week, she will remember that she has not decided what to wear to two Woman's Club meetings, her son's third-grade Bible presentation and a private shopping opportunity at the Christmas in Cowtown bazaar IN EARLY OCTOBER. It will make perfect sense to her to play dress-up for forty five minutes, because she is under the influence of steroids.
She will eventually go to bed. Eventually.