If It Walks Like A Duck And Talks Like A Duck, It's So Totally The Swine Flu

I wait until it's too late to take my kids to the doctor. I have an 11 year old with asthma because I listened to the doctor who said he had a cold and didn't start ignoring the doctor until the pneumonia had almost fixed itself and his lungs had almost said, "Fine, do it yourself."

We did it ourselves for a week in Children's Hospital to get his pulse-ox above 80. We'll be doing it ourselves for the rest of his life, with the assistance of steroidal inhalants.

I under-react or I over-react, medically. Usually, one directly follows the other. Like the time I, oh yes I did, apologized to the mother of the girl who's feet hit my 2 year old's face at full-speed on a gymnastics center swing and threw her 20 feet across the gym floor. I actually checked on that girl to make sure she was okay before I realized, "Hey, my child is no longer conscious." Then I lost my fucking mind and cried sososo hard that we waited for exactly 3.2 seconds in a Canadian emergency room to be seen. They sent two doctors...one for her, one for me.

I wish I was kidding.

However, when it comes to blood and bones and oxygen, I don't fuck around. You bleed? You visit the ER. You wheeze? We go to the ER. You break? I take a quick pregnancy test because you and me are about to spend some time under an x-ray machine. Even if it's your eye socket and even I know there isn't a cast in the world for a broken eye socket.

So my daughter has been sick since Christmas Eve. My mother in law has been, too. They've been boogie-nosed, fever burning, cold-sweating, sleeping all day, up all night petri-dishes. My mother in law said her lungs felt like dried up coal. My daughter said her ears were screaming at her. But they did it together, at the same time, and that screams of virus. I don't go to the doctor for viruses. I also don't pay people to tell me I have blue eyes or blond hair. I can see that for myself, thanks, and I have plenty of other things I'd like to waste $20 on.

Fevers don't scare me, either. Once you have a kid who bottoms out a thermometer so many times his doctor tells you to stop bringing him in every time he does it, you giggle off 103. Because you know how to treat it. I KNOW how to treat a fever. It's my superpower; that and stain removal.

But after a good week, week and a half, of fevers and no sleep and sneezing and coughing that just kept getting worse, I started to worry. One girl is 4, one is 68, and neither are strong enough to endure something like, oh, say, the swine flu.

And that's when I realized that I'd been ignoring the swine flu in a child and an elderly woman with asthma. All of the symptoms were right there in front of me...fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. We won't discuss the diarrhea.

My daughter started waking up in the middle of the night on fucking FIRE and twitching in my arms. Twitching, people. My mother in law started sleeping so late into the day, I started sending her son to poke her and make sure she was still alive. When death became a symptom we were actively checking for, I made them go to the doctor.

I walked into the ER and said I KNEW they both had the swine flu and they were dying and please save them from my reckless endangerment. They each were examined thoroughly and I was reminded that when a child tells you her ears are screaming at her, she typically has an infection. IN HER EARS. And my mother in law? Bronchitis. My first clue would have been that the place where her BRONCHIAL TUBES live felt dried up.

This was exactly as embarrassing as that time I ran my child to the ER at 3 in the morning because I KNEW she was asphyxiating and they KNEW she had the croup. Which, yeah....I'd effectively treated numerous times using only a shower and the agreeable Colorado nighttime air for over a decade with my boys. AND I've read Anne of Green Gables, like, a bazillion times.

They bill you three thousand dollars to sit in an ER overnight and watch Ed, Edd and Eddie re-runs with a one year old. Just sayin'.