Thursday, November 6, 2008
Germ Warfare and Lollipops
Every November, I have a tradition. As the chill sets in the air, I watch the leaves change colors, I freak the hell out about the Christmas music and holiday displays in stores, and I get bronchitis. The bronchitis is a pretty regular thing for me, and as I type, I'm pretty sure I'm coming down with it again. But it's a new ballgame now. I have a baby. A really high maintenance baby. A baby who doesn't break for bronchitis. I thought maybe the universe would cut me some slack this year, but alas, no such luck. "How is it even possible?" I ask myself. I don't go anywhere. I don't do anything. How the crap did I get exposed to it this year? And then it hit me- Monday, I was in the mother of all germy cesspools: the pediatrician's office.
If you don't have kids, and you've never been to a pediatrician's office since entering adulthood, let me tell you- you are one lucky bastard. One mustn't be fooled by the warm, brightly colored waiting room- these are baaaad places. Just one look at the super frazzled receptionist should give you your first clue. Imagine, if you will, Wal-Mart. Now, take everyone with those horrible kids in buggies out of Wal-Mart, and put them into a room about 1/20th of the size. Now, make half of those kids sick. Voila! Now you have a pediatrician's office!
As soon as we entered the waiting room on a Monday morning for Austin's six month checkup, I knew it was not going to go well. The place was packed, the phone was ringing off the hook, and the children were wild. After sitting in the waiting room for 30 minutes, no one had been called back, and the patients kept pouring in. A good hour in this waiting room teaches you a lot about what kind of parent you do not want to become. There is always that one haggard looking mom with "that" kid running around like a ... well, you know "that" kid. At first, you feel sorry for the mom. "No, Parker, don't take that little girl's toy. No, Parker, don't throw that ball at people. No, Parker, don't run out that door." New moms like me look around wide-eyed, fearing that we are looking into the future. A little farther into the wait, you stop feeling so sorry for her. Her commands become more and more disheartened. She is losing the battle and has accepted defeat. "No, Parker, don't lick that baby's forehead. No, Parker, stop jumping on the table. No, Parker, we push our trucks on the floor, we don't throw them at people's heads." So little Parker Pathogen keeps running around like a tiny maniac, being atrocious and spreading pestilence with his germy little appendages. I know it was him. I didn't like the looks of the kid from the time I walked in the door. He had it in for me.
I should have seen it coming. I should have known that I could not have come out of two hours in a pediatrician's office unscathed during cold and flu season. They might as well have wrapped me up in a smallpox covered blanket, for I apparently have no immune system to speak of.
On the plus side, Austin is healthy and happy. He weighs 16 lb 5 # (he is now literally twice the baby he used to be, as his birth weight was 8 lb 2 oz), he is 26 1/2" long, and he got 2 shots. On an even more positive note, the baby was the only one to cry this time. The last time he got shots, he cried for about 2 minutes, and mommy cried hysterically for about 25 (I totally caused a scene. I made the nurse cry, and the doctor laughed at me. I think even the baby was laughing at me by the time I finally calmed down).
So anyway, now that my Nyquil has truly kicked in, I'm going back to bed. I'm sure it will be just in time for the baby to wake up, since it's 7 a.m. and all. Ah, Nyquil- breakfast of champions. Wish me luck this week- I think I'm gonna need it.