Sunday, February 4, 2007

The consumption of consumption

We have been sick in my house. Especially my son. We are on Day 10 of the Great fr(ECO)logy Household Illness. For Days 1-9, the poor kid spent 18 hours of each day sleeping fitfully, and the remaining 6 hours staring blankly at Mama, requesting lots of make-me-better kisses, requesting food then charmingly refusing to eat it, drinking juice and tea and water, and taking medicine. At all times, I was to be no more than one inch away. Today, some improvement: I have had as much as 20 minutes at a time without physical contact with my son, and though he is now sleeping next to me again he is doing so without needing me to hold him with at least one arm, so I am able to type. Also, he's been eating bananas.

You can imagine how very little time I've had to work on being fr(ECO)logical. I have, however, had very much time to think. And remind myself of how bad television can be.

One of the things I have been thinking about but have not had the free hands to write about is the amount of stuff that has entered my home to treat or comfort my child. We have four empty and more nearly empty bottles of medicine (not because we are overdosing the poor kid; we were just scraping the bottom of a few bottles). We have bought and consumed several gallons of orange juice--the only thing with calories my son would consume for much of the week. We have bought and consumed three six-packs of ginger ale--partly a bribe for my son at medicine time, but also for me as I began to catch the tired-of-sitting-on-the-couch bug, and then the whatever-my-son-has bug. We have bought and consumed 2 boxes of popsicles.

I'm sure we could have been more conservative. I could have foregone the ginger ale. I could have squeezed the orange juice from actual oranges. I could have made popsicles in the popsicle molds we already own. I could have done all of this with my feet, I guess, or one-handed with one of those Mrs. Incredible stretchy arms from my perch on the cuddle-with-Mama-couch. Could have, but didn't.

Another thing we did not do was get take-out, though I was tempted a couple of times. I also resisted the desire to put my son in the car to get out of the house and hit a drive-through coffee place a couple of times. Going out for a drive or to get drive-through coffee is not something I normally do, but neither is taking care of a sick child. Once upon a time I had a child who rarely got sick. Now he has spent 10 days of his young life ailing.

Regarding coffee: I left the house only once during the week, to take the kid to the doctor. On the way back, I figured I'd stop to get coffee beans, since we were already out of the house, we were out of coffee, the place was on the way home, and the kid was having a relatively fever- and delirium-free moment. Also thought I could bribe him to eat something--anything--by offering him a yummy pastry. No luck. I bought the pastry but the kid refused to eat it. Just kept trying to feed it to me. Poor guy must have really been sick.

The problem with getting coffee was I forgot the coffee bean bag I had planned to reuse. And my coffee mug. No, I didn't have to get coffee as well as beans. I could have made myself coffee with the beans when I got home. But they give you a big discount on coffee when you buy beans. And did I mention I have been chained to a couch and a sick kid who keeps asking pathetically to cuddle with Mama and opens his eyes every time I shift positions to make sure I'm not going anywhere?

So I needed the coffee. Here was the dilemma: drive the mile home to get the bag and coffee mug and then the mile back to get the coffee? Or just stop and deal with the waste? I chose to just stop and deal with the extra bag and cup. More convenient; less gas and time. I'm going to stash the extra bag in my car so I won't be faced with that part of the dilemma next time. And let me know if you think of a good use for a disposable coffee cup.

Regarding the title of this post: to call my son's ailment "consumption" is overdramatic, obviously. More likely it's the flu. And I am afraid I am about to find out that the only thing worse than being well while taking care of a very sick child is being very sick while taking care of a well child.

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