Tuesday, April 11, 2006

In sickness and in health

The anniversary celebration was a smashing success. We honored my parents' 50th in true family style - with a family trivia contest, a poker tournament, karaoke, geocaching, a video slideshow, and food food food food food. Today family members are all exhausted, five pounds heavier, and very, very happy.

Bud managed the weekend extraordinarily well, despite - or, I suspect, because of - a virus that put him right out of circulation. During his crazy day at school on Friday, he was doing a lot of scripting from an episode of Caillou about being sick. His aide said that in addition to talking about being sick, Bud did a lot of fake coughing and sneezing. I hypothesized that he felt like he was feeling the first stirrings of a cold and was using the best words he had to talk about it.

On Friday night as the downstairs of our house filled with people, Bud retreated to the second floor landing, where he could station himself by the computer and still keep an eye on the goings-on below. He alternately pronounced the area his "Space Ship" and his "Tree House," and by the end of the evening he'd decided it was his "Spaceship Treehouse." The activity he was undertaking (printing page after page from the PBS Kids website), he dubbed "Computer Club." He only occasionally ventured downstairs, but managed well as people came and went through the Spaceship Treehouse. By the end of the evening, though, Bud had sick eyes. It's a look we rarely see from our usually healthy and robust child, and it is a sure sign that he feels terrible.

My suspicions were confirmed in the middle of the night, when he woke and called out to me. For the first time, he was able to tell me what he was feeling in a way that I could understand.

"My tongue hurts," he said. "My mouth is hot. My tongue is itchy." I think he had a sore throat.

I felt his forehead and it was burning, so I gave him some children's Tylenol and told him it would make him feel better. "And remember!" he sang out. "No more flashing colors!"

"Do you see flashing colors, Bud?"


Definitely a high fever. I remember experiencing the same thing as a child.

The next morning he still had a fever and had completely lost his appetite. As I sat trying to get him to drink a few sips of juice he said to me "Close my eyes, Mom."

"Close your eyes?"

"Yes. Close my eyes and hum."

"Close your eyes and hum?"

"Yes. Just the hum. Not the flashing colors."

So the fever was no longer creating visual effects, but auditory ones instead. This, it seemed, was no ordinary illness.

And so, we reconfigured Bud's plan for the anniversary weekend. As the rest of us headed out for fun and festivities, Bud and my husband cuddled up to nap, watch Teletubbies, sip fluids, and nap some more. In many ways, Bud's sickness made the weekend a whole lot easier for him. He didn't have to manage the crowds. He didn't have to encounter unpredictable changes in schedule. He just had to take it easy, which is exactly what he needed to do. My husband had to make do with "to go" meals from each of the weekend's festivities, and the poor guy ended up catching whatever it is that Bud had.

But Bud's spirits stayed good throughout. He developed a feel-better mantra that he encouraged us to say with him all weekend.

"Bud is sick," he'd say. "Bud is what?"


"No, Mama. Bud is sick. You do it. Bud is what?"

"Bud is sick."

"And Bud will what?"


"Bud will feel better soon."


"You do it, Mama."

"Bud will feel better soon."

"Bud is what?"

"Bud is sick."

"And Bud will what?"

"Bud will feel better soon."

"Bud is sick. Bud will feel better soon. You do it, Mama."

"Bud is sick. Bud will feel better soon."

So the anniversary celebration has officially ended. Our last houseguests left for the airport this morning. My husband lost his voice, ingested megadoses of Nyquil, and is out cold. Bud's eyes are clearing slowly, but his appetite hasn't returned, he's still fighting a low-grade fever, and he has developed a cough, so he's spending a second day home from school.

Bud is sick. But Bud will feel better soon.

Or so I've been told.


Kristina Chew said...

Kudos to Dad-NOS, get well soon, and hope the sickness does not work its way to you, too?

Perhaps Bud got sick from anxiety-anticipation about the big bash anniversary weekend?

Wendy said...

Have I told you that I love reading about Bud? The things that come out of his mouth are adorable. I hope he's feeling better soon!