By morning I felt like I had run a marathon in Chucks, with 50 pounds on my back. I can say this with some accuracy because I have in fact run a 5K in Chucks, with a young Christopher riding on my shoulders. The next day I was sore in all the same places, only this time it was ten times worse. I thought it was strange. I asked Brian to take Victoria to dance class because I felt awful. When they got back, we went to the Ag Fraternity's fair, which was perfect for four-year-olds. Victoria made a cow puppet on a paper bag, planted seeds in a cup, layered an edible soil profile (then ate it), and made the pinecone/peanutbutter/birdseed thing. We all trooped over to the barn and met the horses. I learned what "foundering" is--finally, a knowledge gap that is inexplicable considering the countless rereadings of Black Beauty and anything by Marguerite Henry or Walter Farley--and Brian learned about the digestive systems of ruminants. We all had a hand in the buttermaking. The Ag students were all so nice!
But they wore me out. By the time we were driving back, I couldn't hold my head up. I got home and collapsed on a sofa, but I couldn't sleep. My body hurt, every muscle, every joint. And my head was completely filled with this pain-jelly that made the most of every jiggle. I tried holding my head completely still, but a blink would cause a ripple of pain. A cough was excruciating. This went on all day and through the night.
Finally, at 5am on Sunday, I decided to call my insurance company to see what sick people are supposed to do on weekends. If they're MDIPA members, I learned, they should go to an approved urgent care facility (she gave me the addrresses and phone numbers of two nearby) but only after getting approval from their primary care physician. I called and got her answering service, which is what I expected. I explained what I was after and then to my surprise and chagrin, the doctor was on the line. I certainly did not intend to address her directly at that indecent hour. Plus, you know, I am never sick and I am pretty forgettable: she had no idea who I was. Anyway, I obtained her blessing and hung up. Then I called the two phone numbers. The one in DC had a strange and very unprofessional answering machine message, which spooked me. The one in Beltsville explained that the office was open from 10-6 on weekends and if you had an emergency outside of those hours, try an emergency room. Click. Much better. I decided to go to Beltsville.
There were a lot of intricate mechanicals involved in getting me there, as Victoria was singing at 9:30 and Brian was due in Baltimore at 11, but Jennifer was pressed into service and somehow it all worked. And I learned something else: If you have a fever, you should take some fever-reducing agent. The very nice doctor explained it to me slowly in several different ways. The crux is that if you don't, your muscles and joints will ache. Oh. And she wrote me a prescription for an antibiotic for my sinus infection. She also wrote another for some nasal spray, but that seemed like $100+ dollars I really didn't need to spend. And she told me to follow up with a visit to my primary care physician, but how on earth could I do that? One word you could use to describe me, even if you weren't sure that the word was indeed a real word: abashed.
The Tylenol hadn't really worked its wonders that afternoon, so I spent another sleepless night in torment, now made worse by knowing that it could have been prevented very easily. I told work I'd be out on Monday and Brian dropped Victoria off at the sitter's. I couldn't sleep, though. Maybe because I could read? All weekend long it had hurt to read, so it was nice to have that faculty restored. I picked up Victoria for choir, then soccer. She ate the insides of four chicken nuggets and then we went to violin class. Ten minutes into her lesson, she left the teacher and whispered to me, "I don't want to be at violin class." Her eyes were swimming; I touched her face and it was hot. Oh great.
We sped through an abbreviated lesson, came home, and she hopped into bed. She was asleep before the first story was over. I jumped in my own bed, figuring I would finally sleep. Guess what? Victoria is not only sick, but she has a painful canker sore in her mouth. She sleeps for about 45 minutes, then she wakes up yelling Ow Ow Ow. There is no way I can take off work tomorrow morning because our final interview is supposed to happen at 10, but maybe I can leave early, although I don't know if it's worth it. Anyway, I'm glad I got the medicine on Sunday because now I can blink all I care to.
My contribution to the five pleasurable things meme:
- sick leave