Let me begin by pointing out something about myself.
I went to law school for many reasons, but one of the biggest is that I faint at the sight of blood. Any blood. Real blood. Fake blood. It doesn’t matter. All of it makes me sick.
Bodily fluids are a close second. If my kids really want me out of their rooms, they might try throwing up outside the door. Not only would I never enter, it’s possible I might even move and give no forwarding address.
I can handle broken bones for the most part unless they involve blood, and then I’m back to paragraph two. Also, I imagine if I ever saw a bone sticking out, I’d be out cold myself. They’d need to call for two ambulances . . . one for me and one for the injured child.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m very sympathetic to illness and injury. I would do anything to help provided it doesn’t involve me donning a mask and gloves and carrying around a bucket all day. That’s not to say I won’t do it, but it does mean that part of my medical treatment will involve a lot of retching on my part. I apologize. I honestly can’t help it.
If caring for the patient was the only thing mothers need to do when a child gets sick that would be one thing, but it’s not. Not only are we expected to treat illness, but we are more frequently asked to make a diagnosis which is a lot trickier.
I raise all this because today I’m confronted with a serious dilemma. It’s only November and already my seventh grader has missed seven full days of school. That’s just the beginning. He’s also left school early for x-rays and dentist appointments. Fortunately, I was able to squeeze his MRI into an evening appointment, but it meant him missing the required attendance of the musical Sweeney Todd at the high school. (Yes, Sweeney Todd, but that’s another post).
So I’ve been put on notice that he’s missing too much school. I know this, so I’m trying to make a concerted effort to make him go to school even when he’s sick, and it’s very hard. I feel like a jerk.
Yesterday morning, my son woke up after a mostly sleepless night complaining of severe stomach pain and assorted maladies that go along with that. I implored him to try to power through it and go to school. He did, but not without calling me several times that morning from the school phone to say how sick he was.
What a nightmare. I felt like one of those parents in the movies where their kid has been kidnapped and they’ve been given one call begging you to pay the ransom.
It was heart wrenching.
Finally, I couldn’t take it anymore, so I went up to the school to get him. After much discussion, all parties agreed that if he could tolerate it a couple more hours he should stay so he could get full credit for the day. He hung in there, but it wasn’t easy.
Last night, we both prayed very hard that he’d have a miraculous overnight recovery because throughout the evening it appeared he was actually getting worse.
No such luck. This morning he woke up with a slight fever, continued stomach pain with diarrhea, and a runny nose. Sure sounds like the flu to me, but he did have a flu shot. I told him if he could just gut it out (no pun intended) through his fourth period Algebra class, I’d come and get him and take him to the doctor.
So as I type this, he’s at school. He’s probably infecting other kids, teachers, and support staff, and I feel terrible about that. But I also can’t deal with all the pressure and emails from the school that he can’t miss anymore.
I tease him sometimes about homeschooling. He thinks it’s funny because he’s pretty sure he knows more math than I remember, so he’d probably end up teaching me. At this rate, however, I’m not sure we won’t have to go that route. If we end up doing that, I can already tell you one huge silver lining.
My school has a much more lenient policy on absences.