Let me preface this with a few things:
- My son and I have been sick for nearly a week now. Our doctor said it was just allergies. I believed her.
- Last week I started a new Master’s program full-time and a new job.
- I have no idea what happened to Monday.
On Tuesday, I got Cody ready for school, put him on the bus, and then left for a meeting. I left the meeting just in time to pick him up from school and drive him an hour to his occupational therapy appointment. Once there I frantically tried to read some of the 150 pages I needed to have read for an assignment due today. It was 4:00 pm before I realized I hadn’t eaten since the night before. I had an hour-long drive to get home that would leave me with only half an hour to get Cody bathed, make his dinner, and administer his medication before I had to leave for a class that would last until 9:00 pm. So the big question was: Do I go through a drive-thru and risk being late for class? This might not seem like a big deal, but there are very strict rules about being late/missing a class (i.e. failing!). I opted for the drive-thru anyway.
When you are a single parent with a child on the spectrum, you face a lot of issues that many other parents might not. My son will not allow anyone else to do personal care for him (bathing and so on). Even though I have just hired a part-time nanny to watch him for the two nights I attend class, most of the responsibility still falls on me. When pursuing my dreams, I forget this sometimes. The miracle is, I skated through yesterday fairly unscathed.
Today, I got my son ready for school, put him on the bus, and then started on some projects for work. I had lofty goals for the day: finish reading the remaining 75 pages, write the corresponding two-page paper, delve more into my projects for work, all while my son was at school. I kept telling myself, “You got this!” Then the phone rang.
Cody’s teacher said he was complaining of an upset stomach, said he threw up in the bathroom, but she didn’t actually see him do it. All the way to his school, I rehearsed the talk I was going to have with him because I was sure he was faking it. He was perfectly fine this morning. Better than he’d been in a week. When I walked in the office, the receptionist whispered to me that he had thrown up three times in the ten minutes it took me to get there. He had vomit on his shirt, his shorts, and all over his shoes. I called the doctor.
We stopped by the house to change his clothes, and before I could get him out of the car, he started vomiting again. I grabbed him so he could finish in the yard. After I cleaned him (he even had it on his glasses, poor thing) and the car up, we made it to the doctor. He didn’t have a fever when the nurse first checked him, but five minutes later he started shaking uncontrollably. His temperature had spiked. End result: He has strep throat and a virus, apparently some bizarre hybrid illness that’s going around. So much for the allergies!
Here’s where things get tricky for a single parent with no family or friends nearby. How do you stop at the pharmacy to get your sick, vomiting child medicine? That’s one of those “Oh shit!” moments.
If there’s one thing I’m good at, it’s coming up with a solution. I called the pharmacy and it would be half an hour before Cody’s meds were done. He was agitated because he was so thirsty (dehydration according to the doctor), but he could only have Pedialyte per doctor’s order, no water or he would start vomiting again. I stopped at the little drug store in town and we ran in, picked up two bottles of Pedialyte, and ran out. One obstacle down without incident! Woohoo! I stopped at home and got him a cool glass of Pedialyte. When I called the pharmacy to check on the meds, they had only received one of the prescriptions electronically. So, I had to go there, pick up the one they had filled, give them the hard copy of the other prescription, and then drive around for half an hour while they filled it (oh, and mine, because I, too, am sick). The good news: they had a drive-thru I had forgotten about! Problem solved!
We got home, and I managed to care for him and get the 75 pages read. Once I put him to bed, I wrote the two page paper that was due. There was one small snag. I forgot to pick up something for me to eat. It’s a little late now. He’s asleep. So, I’m hungry, and I’ve still got 50 plus pages to read for an assignment due on Friday.
Starting a new job and a new Master’s program sounded really good in theory, but sometimes I’m reminded that following my dreams isn’t always dreamy. Despite the craziness, I love where I am in my life now. I’ve worked very hard to get here. And, for the first time in my life, in the midst of exhaustion and tears, I can still smile.