Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Act II

Of course, you knew how this was going to play out. Our heroine finally gets on some drugs that start her finally on the road to recovery and the blush of health, when her adored offspring decide to do their rather impressive impression of viral surround-sound.

To get the full effect, it works best to recline one child on the love seat, the other on the couch; positioning yourself between them, lounging in the Big Chair.

To the tune of Strauss's The Blue Danube:

"Cough, cough, cough, cough, cough!"
"Hack, hack. Hack, hack."
"Cough, cough, cough, cough,COUGH!"
"Hoik, hoik. HOIK. HOIK!"
"Cough, cough, cough, cough, cooooooough, snort, snort, snort!"
"Wheeze, sneeze, wheeze. Wheeze wheeze. Sneeze, sneeze!"
(Snort, snort.)

If you are me, and find yourself crammed in the Big Chair between the two plagued ones, though, you will get to experience the extra sensory bonuses of surround-tactile-enhancement. This is sort of like those seats that are set up to vibrate with the movie for more realistic involvement with the theater experience.

But instead of merely shaking the seat with the coughing, you have the bilateral waves of heat giving you the impression of being in the Sahara. Add in the multi directional showers of phlegm and snot, and it will make you feel that maybe it's not the dry dessert of the Sahara so much as the hot, humid Amazon rain forest, and that maybe the horrible sounds are the mating calls of the very rare Giant Speckled Tree Toad.

Put the film, "Amazon" on the TV and you are in for a multi-sensory experience that people would pay good money for.

(In case you were wondering if I was harboring any guilt over giving my kids my illness, I will rush to deny that I did any such thing as the incubation period would have been 2 +1/2 weeks (too long for it to be my fault, thank goodness) and that their crud seems quite different from mine. So. Not My Fault and I think it'd stand up in court.)

Sadly, tomorrow is "School Picture Day", which they are almost certain to miss. This means that it all comes down to "Picture Retake Day" to get it right for the picture frames of the extended family. (School pictures are one of the staples to be sent as one of the Christmas/Hanukkah presents as well as being tucked into holiday greeting cards to our nearest and dearest.) One doesn't care to waste School Picture Day, especially if one's youngest can't seem to get the idea that for a nice picture one needs to both smile and open her eyes. She either looks like she wants to take your head off or she's doing her rather brilliant Stevie Wonder impression, sans dark glasses: eyes shut, dreamy smile, head tilted back and to the side.

So, as you can see, I was rather counting on the option of the picture retake.

And finally, send your very best hopes that poor Charles knows when to breathe and when to run from the room covering his mouth and nose, as I think his days of good health are numbered and the one thing certain to make his already crazy-busy life as grad-student and middle-school principal (not to mention father, husband and chief dog-tire-er-out-er) is to get good and sick.

Now is not the time, bugs. You hear???

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Blogger The Rotten Correspondent said...

Okay, I hate to tell you what this made me think of right away. It reminded me of reading Stephen King's The Stand (about the virus that wipes out most of the world's population) waiting for my doctor's appointment during flu season. As people in the book died in horrible Ebola type ways all around me people hacked and hoiked and spat and wheezed and cursed. I feel like I need a shower just thinking about it.

I sincerely hope you are all on the upswing and that Charles has his armor undies on.

10:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fear not for dear Charles. With years on living in Educationland one becomes immune to all sorts of nasty things: Germs, Viruses, bullets, and nuclear radiation. Just have him eat his veggies and he will live forever. Just look at me.

The Ole RF-er

12:32 PM  
Blogger Rozanne said...

Oh, wow. That sucks. For sure, the start of school is to blame for the plague.

I hope everyone is feeling better soon. And that Charles manages to escape infection.

12:55 PM  
Blogger Jen said...

I almost always catch things from my little one...I've just come to expect it. How my husband manages to stay plague-free is just beyond me.

We've got our very first picture day coming up in a couple of weeks. And I'm nervous. I hope they take the pictures first thing, otherwise it will be a lovely picture of my child with blue or green paint smeared across her forehead.

7:19 PM  
Blogger Voyager said...

I think I caught your plague just looking at your blog. Yes, I'm sure of it.
I hope your virulent household is plague fee soon.

7:30 PM  
Blogger Stepping Over the Junk said...

I think I caught it too...hopefully it wasnt the clams...

8:07 PM  
Blogger Diana said...

Julie- (As you've used your real name on your blog a few times, I'm using it here. I can't keep calling you "Rotten" anymore, much as I love to.) Let's just hope there's no Randall Flagg waiting down the road...

Dad- He gets ill remarkably little, but this one seems to have hit the kids hard and even a touch of something will make his life miserable.

Rozanne- I try to think of school as a place where our immune systems learn as well as our brains but I still don't like it.

Jen- It's a man thing. Too tough for getting ill from little bugs. I do think a dash of color across the cheek is a nice touch. Perhaps you could talk to her about color coordinating her smears with her outfit?

Voyager- No! See, read at your own risk. Your filter didn't protect you? Feel better soon.

Stepping- If you're febrile and coughing up lungs, it wasn't the clams, it was us. If you're pukey and poopy, blame Steam. (I believe in freely assigning blame.)

9:02 AM  
Blogger CarpeDM said...

Hey, Rotten Correspondent! I have the exact same reaction whenever I re-read The Stand! I'm always convinced. Diana, if Randall shows up, send him myway, he is my fake boyfriend, after all.

I hope you guys feel better. Sickness is bad.

12:53 PM  
Blogger Dumdad said...

New school year starts and Princess Perfect within days was struck down with fever and a cold.

But it seems to have cleared up quickly and it's back to school tomorrow.

I hope her bugs have left the rest of us alone....

....I wish you guys a speedy recovery.

1:56 PM  
Blogger Coffee-Drinking Woman said...

Hello, Evil Twin. By which foul magic have you managed to share your vile disease with my offspring as well? Pray tell, so that I might find the counterspell!

(all kidding aside, life runs in tandem - Pockets had to be picked up early from school, the victim of a sore-throat-and-headache-causing virus. We obdiently shuffled her off to the doctor's office - well, that mostly because she said her ears hurt.)

11:14 PM  
Blogger Diana said...

Dumdad- Looks like pretty much everyone with kids in school has succumbed. It's a wonder that the schools are even open. Here's hoping Princess Perfect recovers rapidly and doesn't share.

Teri- And where Pockets goes Boo and Squeaker are soon to tread...You know, this last week I've been seeing a lot of older peds patients as 2 of the pediatricians are out of town. I notice that parents will bring their kids in after a day or 2 but if the parents are ill they will wait a week or so. As a parent, I so get it.

8:22 AM  
Blogger Mother of Invention said...

Ah, once school starts, it sure doesn't take long for the germs to be exchanged. The kids go first, closely followed by teachers, who are already tired from all the prep and hype of the first week.

Since not going back to school, I have had very few colds etc. (Of course, I got other gunky weird stuff that more than makes up for it!). My husband who, like you, sees many people close up and in his space, has only been sick a few times in the whole 31 years I've known him. Usually, just a head cold in Feb., by which he has run himself from overtraining for skiing. Lucky guy has an amazing immune system.

(BTW...I'm going back to the ear surgeon tomorrow as the tube is clearly not working..still fluid and some pain...holding my breath for the next step but think I'll probably be referred to a specialist re: mastoiditis. Here I go again!)

9:43 AM  
Blogger Dumdad said...

Princess Perfect better but Dumdad struck down with her chest infection. Blast!

4:31 AM  
Blogger Diana said...

Ruth- Funny how that works, huh? Hope all goes better with that ear. Does sound concerning if that tube didn't make you a lot better.

Dumdad-Noooooooooooooooo! See, this is what happens when you kiss your kids. Let that be a lesson to us ;)

8:03 AM  
Blogger Jocelyn said...

This whole experience is designed to keep you an empathetic doc. It will be a long time before a haggard mom toting a couple sick kids walks in, and you treat her as a workaday problem, right?

Not that you ever did. But just in case.

As far as school pix go? Break free from the subtle capitalism, Diana! I HATE school pictures, outside of the weird nostalgia they engender in me...but I hate that my child is packaged and handed back to me with a request for my credit card number. We usually buy the smallest pack possible, just so Girl doesn't have to answer her classmates questions of "How come your parents aren't ordering any? How come they don't love you?" For Niblet at preschool, we just keep the free promotional one they give out.

In the yearly Xmas letter, I enclose photos of the kids, for sure, but ones I've taken that actually reflect their personalities.

Okay, so we've established that I'm cheap (knew that) and that I'm rabidly against school photos.

My work here is done.

12:43 PM  
Anonymous Leigh-Ann said...

I don't want to sound like a dreadful know-it-all (and I'm sure I'm jinxing myself), but I've practically eliminated viral-type illnesses from my life by being very conscious about not touching my face unless I've just washed my hands. No nose scratching, no eye rubbing, etc. If you just shove your hands into a pair of mittens and keep them there, you'll really cut down on illnesses like colds.

Of course, my immune system is so powerful it's trying to kill me, so perhaps it also has superhuman ability to ward off viral infections. I sincerely doubt anything positive could come from my medical issues, however.

3:07 AM  
Blogger Lioness said...

Next will be the frogs, or was it the locusts?

Enough of pestilence! I really am looking forward, for all your sakes, to the time when you can haiku your way through rogue deers and other mundane subjects again.

11:51 AM  
Blogger listie said...

Still the house of disease and pestilence? So sorry.

I remember those days of having an ill child hanging on me and thinking, "It's only a matter of time before I get it, too." Now I just get phone calls describing their symptoms.

9:41 AM  
Blogger Sanjay said...

:-) @ viral surround-sound.

I hope you all get better soon.

4:25 AM  
Blogger Babs said...

Gah!! You poor things.

I was lucky whilst away. I suppose since the neph and niece are a bit older they are maybe less prone to hideous snot-laden diseases and such?? You know, older grades less blocks and toys to play with, less germs and such.

Instead I was graced with snotty teen and tween 'tudes. Ah joy.

Hope you're all feeling better!!

4:40 AM  
Blogger Diana said...

Good heavens, I've been neglectful!

Jocelyn- My school pictures were exactly as you described but the photographer that comes to my kids' school is really, really GOOD. For quite reasonable prices we've gotten fabulous pictures of Colin that actually look like him. This year they've changed companies, so we'll see....

We also send silly pictures with the Xmas letter, of course.

Leigh-Ann- In this, you do know it all. Sadly, in what I do ("Open up and say, 'Ah' while I put my nose 1/4 inch from your face. Whoops. Good job hawking that spray of mucus in my pus."), there's only so much one can do aside from wash until your hands bleed. My immunity is much heartier than it was when I started this clinic 7 years ago, though.

Johnny- We had large frogs hopping around the lawn a few weeks ago while Charles was mowing after all the serial deluges. If you count the evil-looking grasshoppers that are everywhere, we've got them too. Next?

Listie- I'm not sure what's worse. No. That's not true. You and I both know what's worse.

Sanjay- Clearly Charles is influencing me way too much.

Babs- I'll take real snot over snotty attitude any day. You have my deepest sympathy. They'll become better in about 10 years. Zen. Zen. Zen.

8:44 AM  
Blogger brooksba said...

Glad to hear in a more recent post that you've all recovered from this bout of the plagues. I'm sorry you and the little ones were so ill. No fun!

3:15 PM  

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