After working a long 36 hours I got a call from D on my drive home saying that Eli had been crying for the past two hours and complaining that his ear hurt. I could hear him in the background. It wasn’t just a whiny “my ear hurts” I can wait until tomorrow to take him to the Peds clinic kind of cry. It was an “ouch I am in a lot of pain” we must go to urgent care and get him something now kind of cry. When you’ve been a parent for awhile you learn to know the difference, am I right? It was 7:45 and I told Darin to check and see when the nearest Urgent Care closed and just head there. It closed at 8:00. It’s about a 15-20 minute drive from home. I was closer so I said I could go there and try to get them to keep the place open until they got there.
I arrived at 7:55 and the place was empty. The gal at the desk asked if I needed to be seen and I said no, but that my son was on his way. She kind of gave me a look like, “oh, like we haven’t heard that one before, I’m so ready to go home and I don’t want to wait for her son that just has a little bit of ear pain”, but she handed me the forms to start filling out. A nurse came out to lock the doors and the receptionist said that was fine, but that she would have to unlock them when her son arrived, pointing at me. The nurse gave me what I can only describe as a look of ill harm and proceeded to lock the doors. Another nurse came and called “Elijah” and I said that he should be arriving any second. She gave me what I can only describe as a look of death and said, “well, I hope he arrives soon”. I then got several more looks of ill harm and death from the staff to which I replied, “Thank you so much for waiting. I understand how much you must want to get home. I just finished a 12 hour shift and I understand how much you just want to go home after a long day. Thank you for waiting. He should be here any minute.” Then I frantically dialed Darin and asked him if he was close, please be close because these people are about to hurt me. He said he was close and I looked at the gals at the counter and said, “He’s almost here!”. To which they replied with more looks of ill harm and death.
At 8:06 he pulled up and the nurse unlocked the door and I grabbed crying Eli from the car. I wanted to say, “SEE?? He really is in a lot of pain, I wasn’t just making that up!”, but instead I comforted Eli as we were brought back to a room and thanked all of them once again. The nurse got his vitals and we waited for the doctor, Eli unconsolable. The doctor asked a bunch of questions and then finally looked in his right ear. “Oh yes, it’s really red and his ear drum is bulging. He definitely has a good ear infection.” He asked if I wanted the typical Amoxicillin that is normally prescribed, but I told him he has had a history of a lot of ear infections and that drug didn’t always work. And since this was a “good ear infection” and causing him so much pain I asked if we could try the stronger antibiotic that had worked in the past. He agreed and starting typing away his note on the computer. He also noticed how Eli was still crying and offered some ear drops to help with the pain. I thanked him for seeing us about twenty times and he sent us on our way, prescriptions in hand. I handed Eli off to Darin to go back home while I went to the only 24 hour pharmacy open in the area, thinking I’d be soon to follow.
I walked into Walgreens and walked to the back of the store to turn in the prescriptions. I knew it wasn’t a good sign when there were about a dozen people in Walgreens on a Sunday night just roaming the store. Sure enough, the pharmacy was busy and backed up and the gal that took my information said it would be about a 25-30 minute wait. So I did what any normal person would do and walked around taking photos with my phone. Um….I had no idea Walgreens had so much stuff. Patio chairs? Fans? Neon purple nail polish, eye shadow, and lip stick? Underwear? A bonsai tree? Dog clothes? Random lawn ornaments? Seriously, I do believe Walgreens has it all. Believe me, I know. Because after 45 minutes of still no drugs, I walked myself to the counter and politely said, “Do you know how much longer? ‘Cause it’s been 45 minutes.” The magazine on the counter had the headline “ESCAPE” and that’s exactly what I wanted to do from this place. The same gal I saw 45 minutes ago looked at me like she had never seen me before, asked for my insurance card a second time, and looked for the medications. After 5 more minutes I was finally handed them and I headed home.
I arrived home at 9:50 to find Eli asleep on Darin’s lap, cheeks red from all the crying. I drew up the antibiotic in the syringe and woke him up and thought we would quickly have him swallow it, put a few drops in his ears, and snuggle him back to sleep. I placed the syringe to his lips and he immediately awoke from the half-sleep he was still in and made a look of disgust with his face. Oh shoot. I had forgotten this white antibiotic did not taste good. That in the past, when he was just a baby and toddler, I would have to hold him down to get him to take it. Not so hard when he was a baby or toddler, not going to happen now. He refused to take it, crying and saying how yucky it was. We tried everything until finally bribing him with a new Skylander worked. Until he spit it all back up all over the couch and his clothes. In an act of sheer desperation I broke into tears and begged him to take it. I know, mature Stacey. But I was exhausted and starving and had come to the end of my rope. We finally mixed it with some juice and after about a half an hour had finally gotten most of the antibiotic down. I put a few drops in his ears and by 11:00 he had fallen asleep on the couch.
Then came Monday morning. Evie wakes up complaining of a sore throat, coughing like her lung might join the toast on her breakfast plate. And Eli, once again, refuses, flat out refuses, to take his medication after every attempt on my behalf. Mixing it with juice, putting sugar on the tip of the syringe, offering to pay him. And yes, even more tears (I had not yet had my coffee, don’t judge). Knowing that I had to take Evie in to the pediatric clinic anyhow, I figured I would just take him, too, and explain to the doctor that he simply won’t take the antibiotic and
beg ask for another one for my sanity for his ear infection. We get to the clinic and the doctor examines Evie first, hearing a few faint crackles in her lungs and even though the strep comes back negative, wants to treat her for what might be bronchitis or walking pneumonia. Then I tell him about Eli. He examines him and sure enough, he still has an ear infection. And it’s bad. And then he asks me if I tried mixing it with anything? Sometimes a reward chart works? Sometimes giving it to them in smaller amounts helps? How about ice cream? Mixing it with ice cream? I wanted to ask him if he wanted to come to my house and try these things with my stubborn boy, but instead I politely asked if we could just try a better tasting antibiotic. He printed out the prescription and gave me a I can’t believe this lady can’t control her son enough to have him take a simple antibiotic look, and I thanked him for the new antibiotic which was half the volume and had to be taken for half the amount of time and was pink. Pink medicine is always a winner for kids. Hallelujah. He then told me that after today’s dose and tomorrow morning’s dose they both should be fine to go back to school tomorrow. Praise the Lord. I could have kissed him, but thought that might be weird.
So here we all sit, Monday afternoon. I’m hoping to plop them in front of a movie and rest my eyes for a bit. Or freshen up my coffee and tackle this house. You’re right, the nap sounds better.