I can't blame the hubby for being a little nervous- in about the space of a year he suffered a stroke and enjoyed two unrelated and unexpected surgeries. Ever since the ominous specter of his 28th year slid past, he's become paranoid about health-related issues. Every headache is an aneurysm; every chest cold, the onset of lung cancer; every gas pain in the chest region is a certain sign of heart attack. Yet somehow, he's still walking around, dropping clothes next to the hamper and failing to recycle his beverage cans.
Being his requisite shoulder, I tend to hear a lot about what ails my dear spouse. But the kids have ears, as well. And brains like sponges. And bottomless needs for attention. It's a recipe for a household of one-upping hypochondriacs.
We spent a bit of time at the doctor with Jack this last week as he's had some minor, albeit unpleasant, issues going on. Perhaps all the discussion of Jack's medical concerns piqued the interest of the older two, because in the course of the three-day weekend I just enjoyed with the kids, I was posed with an unrelenting and dramatic series of ailments, as indicated by Noel and Sophie.
Noel injured one of his "boys" on Friday (or as Sophie pronounced, his "right tentacle").
It was a subtle injury, the sore tentacle, which Noel initially thought was "gas pains in [my] leg", and later decided was the result of the position in which he had been sitting. We continued to hear about this issue non-stop for the remainder of the weekend-- through the Christmas City of the North Parade (during which he also shared the details with other of our adult friends), in the car, while making dinner, cleaning house, doing laundry, and pretty much any other instance in which Noel felt he had a captive audience. I believe that cumulatively, I heard the tentacle injury detailed for no less than 3-1/2 hours. Who knew there was so much to say about the trials and tribulations of one right tentacle?
Sophie had to work a little harder, as she had no obvious bruises, swellings, or imperfections, so she brought up the scratch Jack had given her when he inadvertently "sliced [her] wif' his toenail" earlier last week. Soph also related that she was suffering numerous forms of visual impairments. "If I stare a light and close my eyes, I can still see spotty lights," she whimpered, "and when I'm looking at something, if I stare at it, it looks like it's getting closer, even though it's not moving." Noel jumped in to describe his challenges with "floaters". Both kids simpered about the fact that I hadn't made their routine eye appointments for them, yet. These maladies paled in dramatic comparison, though, to the incident in which Sophie was suddenly struck by the realization that she was ill and it was almost certainly because she "[didn't] have enough blood sugar!"
When the flu hit the adults in our household a few weeks ago, every day was ushered in with choruses of "I think I have a fever, too!" and "It feels like my whole body hurts!", despite the fact that none of the kids ever actually seemed to get the flu. I try to find a mid-ground response between gushing hysterically and fawning over the wee ones at every complaint, and being one of those parents whose response to ailment or injury is to tell their kid to "suck it up" or "walk it off"-- two phrases that never made much literal sense to me.
So I got up for work this morning, put on my plum mini-dress, sleek black knee boots, and trendy chunky beads. I sat at the dining room table writing a note to Mr. Novak, Noel's gym teacher, and trying to find the most tactful and sophisticated way to say: "Please don't make Noel run, because his ball is swollen, and it really hurts when it smacks against his leg."
Tactful and sophisticated... I'm a writer, but I'm not a miracle worker.