|By Jon Dawson, The Free Press, Kinston, N.C.|
|McClatchy-Tribune Information Services|
When our children are sick we become nurses. Between medicine, cool cloths for their fevered foreheads and unlimited cartoon viewing, parents do everything in their power to make their children comfortable during times of illness.
If as a parent you do a half-decent job guiding your offspring though the valley of chills, nausea and crust, they will return the favor when the germ brigade decides to hold a pledge drive in your intestinal tract.
I myself have been grooming a team of nurses for quite some time now. Thankfully I only get lay-down-and-cover-me-with-dirt sick maybe once every three or four years. The head nurse on Team Dawson of course is The Wife, who, I might add, looks rather sporty in the nurses uniform I gave her for
Tax Deduction #1 is our oldest child and well on her way to becoming a decorated lieutenant in the fight to keep me alive. Tax Deduction #2 is a bit young to start making rounds, but a recent skirmish with a virus spurred her into action.
At the end of a particularly stressful week I woke up and with the sensation that I'd been gnawing on a wool blanket that had been the home of several generations of dyspeptic ferrets. Maybe I wasn't paying attention at the grocery store and Crest had actually started selling land-fill flavored toothpaste.
After taking a shower hot enough to melt the smug right off of Jonah Hill, I visited the Center For Disease Control website to see if the plague had decided to regroup and go out on a summer tour. Eventually, I made it back to the bed and passed out, only to be awoken a few minutes later by the determined, yet dainty, instructions of Tax Deduction #2.
"Wake up, Daddy. I have your medicine," TD #2 said as she opened up her trusty doctor kit she received from Santa a Christmas or two back. "We're going to make you better, okay?"
To start with, TD #2 noticed a bruise on my left wrist. The bruise had nothing to do with the fever that was causing me to have nightmares about being stuck on a cross-country road trip with
I dosed off while
After a few minutes of controlled sobbing brought on by the realization of how painful taking off an entire case of Band-Aids was going to be, our oldest child -- TD #1 -- brought me some ginger ale in crushed ice.
"Help me TD1," I said. "You're my only hope."
As the hours turned into a second day, I woke up and plopped in a thermometer to see if I needed to make any final arrangements. While I waited for the thermometer to do it's thing, I noticed that TD #2 had pulled every blanket, quilt, sleeping bag and promotional windbreaker we owned out of the hall closet and put them on top of me.