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  • Jill Heilman

Sick of my kids being SICK!

Ben finding his inner zen before he unleashes his ninja skills on me.

Some days I find myself being “that” mom. The one who tells her kids to “suck it up” and get ready for school. Even though I heard Ben up late last night coughing and blowing his nose, I felt like he couldn’t miss any more days of school! Between infusion days at the hospital and real sick days, the kid will have a truant officer at my door in no time!

But this morning when he had yellow gunk, accompanied by blood coming out of his nose, I knew he wasn’t faking. I take that back …Ben doesn’t fake getting sick, but when you have a chronic medical condition like he does, most days you feel sick regardless, it is only when it gets really bad that I will let him miss school for it. Well blood did it for me this morning and off to the pediatrician we went.

I feel like we should have an apartment above their office for the number of times we are at that doctor’s office! Truly – how many times have we been in since July – maybe 20? Even Neeley came home from soccer the other night and said, “Mom I asked Emmalie who her pediatrician was…she had no idea? Do you know some kids only go in once a year for a well visit?” Ah yes Neeley – reality is hitting. You and your brother go to the doctors far more than the “average bear.”

Back to today, as the nurse entered the room to take Ben’s vitals before the doctor came in, she asked her patient, “What’s wrong with you Ben?”

“Many things” he quipped with a sly smile on his face.

I was quick to add - “Well that is the understatement of the year!” We all laughed. But deep down, there was so much truth to Ben’s two simple words. There are many things wrong – but he tried his best to keep that in perspective. “It could always be worse.” He concluded.

Ben knows how to lighten the mood in any room, especially when he sees his momma getting weary of being back at the pediatrician’s office for the umpteenth time. Here is the 10-year-old I tried to convince to go to school this morning, who truly feels like crap, yet still finds a way to keep us giggling about being back at the doctor’s again.

After the nurse left, and Ben and I were left on our own to wait for the doctor, Ben asked for distractions to keep his mind off the headache and sinus pain…so what does any good mom do…start a karate attack on the poor, sickly boy. (Insert sarcasm). “Wax on. Wax off. Paint da fence!” Ben screeched with his best Karate Kid defensive moves. When I did get past his attacks, I was able to sneak in a tickle or too as I watched that smile stay on my boy’s face. This is a tough job, but someone has to do it. Soon the “CLAW” had to come out to penetrate the karate skills of this young ninja as I seemed to succeed a time or two against his stealth moves.

Of course our pediatrician comes in right as I get schooled with a “Wax Off!” from my youngest child. “Just passing time.” I explained to the pediatrician. Dr. Tappan just laughed. He knows we try to find unusual ways to pass time at his office.

“I like you and your office staff Dr. Tappan, but I really wish we could stop meeting like this.”

“Well it looks like Ben has only been in a couple times since July and his last sinus infection was around then.”

“Oh yea, Neeley is the one I have been bringing in with all the sinus infections and illnesses lately. Now I feel bad for trying to get Ben to make it through a day at school. I guess I knew when he got up at 5am for pain meds and then went back to sleep until 9am that he was really too sick for school.”

The doctor went on to examine Ben and found he did indeed have a sinus infection and fluid in his ear. We started the long debate on which antibiotic to try this time, as Ben’s body tends to build a resistance to medications after being on them so many times. Not to mention his infections tend to require stronger doses than most his age.

Our discussions then turned to how Neeley was doing and how both kids were doing at school. That lead to hearing about the doctor’s own son’s recent homecoming date and the pictures soon came out!

“I still think Neeley and your son would make a great couple! They are both smart, athletic, driven…”

“Yes they would be too busy to even see each other!”

“Exactly that would keep Neeley out of trouble!”

Ben just shook his head – “I thought this appointment was about me!”

“Oh all right Ben” I said as I leaned over for another look at the pictures on the doctor’s phone.

“No more pictures now, I need to look up Ben’s medications – there might be an interaction between the antibiotic and his Advair.”

Ben just laughed – “see mom, it’s all about me again!” He does keep me focused on these days.

On the way home, Ben reflected on his most recent visit with Dr. Tappan.

“You know mom, some people would be freaking out when they find out they have a sinus infection, it may be their first one or something, but this is old hat for me. I am not freaking out – I am just plain freaking AWESOME.”

Well there you have it, how can I be sick of my kids being sick when my own kid keeps it real for me. Real funny that is.

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