Saturday, April 18, 2009

Baste every thirty minutes

(my only rule of blogging is I don't make these stories up)

Despite the tubes, E had another ear infection this week that brought yet another round of prescription drops into our lives on Wednesday. Before she went back to our favorite ENT she had been coughing, and ear oozing, and a little runny of nose. We weren't sure if she had an ear infection of the worryable sort, or if she was just a little congested in some general recently-played-on-airplanes kind of way. Especially since her sister had most of the same symptoms. But she kept saying her ears felt shubby, so despite the trauma we felt as a family at dealing with another illness, it was worth it because we have an excellent, wholesome new family vocabulary word.

(Me: "Sweetie, what do you mean it feels 'shubby?'
Her: It means my ear HAS SHUBBIES IN IT!
Me: "Of course.")

We had gotten home on Sunday night and her discomfort persisted. On Monday night she said, I think I don't feel well. Mama, take my temperature?

Her head didn't feel warm. But I knew that she wouldn't just believe me that she was okay.

I know we own at least three thermometers. I couldn't find one in the colandar over the microwave where we keep all the vitamins and medicines. I couldn't find one in the medicine chest, or in the girls' bathroom. I found one buried in old receipts in a basket on our dresser, but when I brought it downstairs it wouldn't turn on, and I don't keep spare hearing aid batteries in the house. Mom! You need to take my temperature!

I walked back to the kitchen to double-check the colander. No the microwave is the drawer with the spatulas and tongs and oversized untensils. Including: the meat thermometer.

I grabbed my two-pronged Taylor and headed back to the couch. What's that? "It's the big thermometer, honey." Oh! And: It looks a little like a fork! She slipped an arm out of a sleeve and offered me her exposed armpit. So I pronged her. Gently, of course, tucking the silver tips in and easing her arm down, all while trying not to think that this had last been in a turkey's thigh.

She sat patiently and waited for the verdict: 99.1 - good enough, right? Who knows. Under the arm, so they say, you're supposed to add a degree - and 100.1 would count as a real, actual little fever. But I'm not sure how sensitively this guy is calibrated and two degrees holds a lot less distinction to dead poultry than live children.

So, relying instead on the ageless twin wisdoms of Forehead Kiss Test and Motherly Instinct, I tell her that her temperature says she's fine. Oh, good! she says, swiping the thermometer out of her underarm. Then let's play eating games with this!

Sometimes, a reading in the High Risk of Salmonella range is nothing to fuss over. But the doctors always ask what her temperature's been, so when M took her to the ENT on Wednesday I was relieved to supply him with (moderately) better intel than: 'we can't locate her pop-up timer so all we know is she's shubby.'

(Webster's people, take note: shubby is both noun and adjective. Call me!)

After finishing a three-day round of ear drops last night E really does feel much better by today. But this morning she was getting into something and I decided to Not Notice because she was playing quietly and independently and that's good stuff right there, the quietly and independently. For the Not Noticing, I got karmically Kicked in the Head. E held up a little white box and asked, Mama, what's this?

"Oh my goodness!" I sputtered. "Where did you find that? It's the regular thermometer!"

She smiled at me shyly, in that smile she sends forth when she's about to ask for something but isn't at all sure her request will be granted. But we can still use the big one, right? Pin It