Yesterday I was just minding my own business at work, trying to accomplish as little as possible because it was a court holiday and I was irritated that I had to drag myself out of bed on a 27-degree morning, when the school called.
“This is Tonya, the school nurse.”
Those dreaded words.
Tonya said Thomas had a fever of 103, which rocketed me out of my chair and had me lunging for my purse. That kid doesn’t get fevers very often; certainly not 103-degree fevers.
And then I paused, briefly, considering waiting for about twenty minutes before leaving work, because Thomas tends to get pukey when he gets high fevers and I wondered if mayyyyybe he could do me a solid and puke at the nurse’s office instead of in my car.
And then I called myself a bad mom and left.
So I picked him up and hauled him to the CVS Minute Clinic, because our regular doctor is like 45 minutes away and I’m not dealing with that. The nurse at the Minute Clinic was awesome, and Thomas loved her – UNTIL she came at him with the long Q-tip to swab his throat for strep.
Then he FREAKED OUT. Scared, crying, screaming. NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO I’M SCARED IT’S GONNA HURT NO NO NO NO NO NO NO.
Finally the nurse, weary, looked at me and said, “You’re probably just going to have to take him to his regular doctor; I can’t get a specimen.”
Out to the car we go, where I call up the regular doctor. Whose receptionist listens to my tale of woe and informs me, “We don’t usually see patients on Friday afternoons.”
“Well, can she call in a broad-spectrum antibiotic of some kind?” I ask desperately.
“Well, no. We really need to see him before she’ll prescribe anything.”
At this point, I’m frantic, and pissed. “WHAT DO YOU SUGGEST I DO THEN?”
And she sighs at me. “Let me call you back once the doctor gets back from lunch.”
I fucking hate people.
So there we are, sitting in the car at the CVS. Thomas, feverish, miserable, probably about to yack all over my backseat, terrified. And me, phone in hand, disbelieving, wondering if the liquor store is open this early.
Moment of choice.
It must be done.
So I turn around in my seat.
“If you go back into the CVS and agree to take the strep test – “
And here he starts whimpering again, but I cut him off.
“ – YOU CAN HAVE ANYTHING IN THE ENTIRE CVS YOU WANT.”
This literally stuns him. Like, he is speechless. Probably delirious with fever, but also, imagining the possibilities.
I take advantage of the silence to turn into the worst parent ever.
“You want candy? YOU CAN HAVE ALL THE CANDY. You can have toys! You can have books and puzzles and Christmas ornaments and crappy candles that smell like burnt pumpkins. YOU CAN HAVE ANYTHING YOU WANT.”
More silence. And then –
So we go back into the CVS, back to the poor nurse, who looks at us like Thomas might have bubonic plague instead of just strep.
“Can we try again?” I ask her. She sighs and nods, and pulls up our records again, and Thomas sits down, starting to get scared again. Which means I now turn into the worst parent ever in front of a witness.
“ANYTHING YOU WANT,” I remind him. “Christmas wreaths and coloring books and – how about a neck brace? Or crutches? Pain relievers and lip gloss and packs of cards!”
This calms him. The nurse may or may not have raised an eyebrow.
She checks his temp, which is now at 103, having likely raised due to the combination of terror and abject greed that is now flooding his system.
Finally she looks up at me. “You know,” she says. “He might just have a sinus infection.”
I hear the beginning of the Hallelujah chorus in my head.
“Let’s just…. Call it a sinus infection,” she says.
“No test?” Thomas whispers.
“No test,” the nurse says, and writes a script for Omnicef.
Thomas looks at me. “I CAME IN TO TAKE THE TEST,” he says, and I realize at this point I am thoroughly fucked. He’s going to play semantics with me and demand his due.
So that is how we ended up leaving the CVS Pharmacy with Motrin, a prescription, a Spongebob Squarepants helium balloon, two coloring books, a Lightning McQueen racecar that talks, two Peanuts Christmas ornaments that light up, two bottles of ginger ale, some potato chips, a pack of crazy straws, and a bag of mini-Butterfingers.