Working the bugs out of family sick times

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You really need to be in tip-top shape to come down with anything nowadays.
The down-and-out workout. Frankly, you’ll need to be of sound mind and body just to unleash the medications. A person should never attempt to wrestle the average American medicine package into submission unless he or she is in top form.
If you are feeling well enough right now, you should put down this paper and go directly to your medicine cupboard. Open everything you think you may need to take the next time you are feeling under the weather.
You may need to sit for a spell after a particularly trying throw-down with a childproof cap, but in the end, you’ll thank me. Do you really think you’d be up to this sort of thing with a fever?
I think the zeal to package everything short of table salt in a “childproof” container is wildly overrated. Try, just TRY, to get your average child to take something even when they are SUPPOSED to. I wish you luck. Me, I’d rather try to bathe a rabid cat.
Sissies contact doctors. Sensibly, most medicines steadfastly suggest you not give them to children under, say, voting age anyway, unless you first “contact your doctor.” This, of course, no veteran parent would ever do unless there was a bone sticking out. Contacting your doctor is strictly for sissies.
Only the most naive, new parent would honestly believe that calling that “emergency number” is going to get them THEIR doctor, on call, waiting to attend to them. Ha! You have a greater chance of finding a winning lottery ticket tucked into your windshield!
You will, for the most part, speak (and I use the term loosely) to someone who hasn’t mastered your native language very well, isn’t entirely clear on why he or she is calling you, and can only offer obvious solutions such as “keep an eye on him until morning.” The latter offered just in case you were planning to leave your ailing child in the care of wolves and go out for the evening.
No, veteran parents, believing that proper hydration is the key to what ails anyone, will simply cycle so much electrolyte solution through a sick child’s system that they end up as waterlogged as a sea sponge.
Poor timing. Anyway, I think it utterly senseless that in this day and age we haven’t found a cure for the common cold and other icky things, or at the very least, a better sense of timing.
Just once, I would like my children to realize they are sick BEFORE wolfing down giant-sized portions of spaghetti. Instead, they inevitably refuse their dinners only AFTER ingesting them.
The other thing is that children, being gallingly young, will get over things much quicker than the adults around them do. This is where the phrase “there is a bug in the system” becomes disturbingly clear.
Children, invariably, become ill first. Then the adults around them catch it and lie on the floor and moan and plead for death while the baby, miraculously recovered, zooms around the house destroying things and demanding juice.
After a bout with a bug, children – rested and ready to rock – will turn into little dynamos intent on capturing back all the time and energy lost to an ill-timed illness.
Sick shifts. Meanwhile, having since succumbed to the illness after their OWN sleepless night spent catching bodily fluids in their bare hands, parents will basically spend the entire day being sick in shifts.
It is helpful if one parent can lie in bed and moan pitifully while the other one “takes care of the kid(s),” which consists of watching them dismantle the premises while the parent lies on the couch and moans, rousing only every once in a while to hurl handfuls of snack crackers in their general direction for sustenance.
Of course, slightly older children of 9 or 10 can actually be a bonus in the event of serious parental illness. They are marginally capable of sustaining themselves while you sleep – if you look past their obvious penchant for, say, tying up smaller siblings and making prank phone calls.
Better yet, if you get really lucky, you can bribe a child of this age to open all your childproof caps for you. They are, for the most part, the ONLY ones able to outwit these things with any real success.
This way, you can save all your strength for later, when you’ll need it to untie your younger children and get the snack crackers out of the ceiling fans.
(Kymberly Foster Seabolt sends hearty get well wishes to anyone who needs them. She welcomes comments c/o kfs@epohi.com; P.O. Box 38, Salem, OH 44460; or http://userweb.epohi.com/~kseabolt.)

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Warm, witty and just a wee bit warped, Kymberly Foster Seabolt is a native of Kent, Ohio, who survived childhood exposure to disco and grew up to marry and move to the country. Her column weaves her special brand of humor with poignant, entertaining, and honest portrayals of parenting, marriage, and real life. She currently lives in northeastern Ohio with her husband, two children, two dogs, two cats, and numerous dust bunnies who wish to remain nameless.

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