Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Oh look. It's snowing. Again.

A week ago Sunday Paul, Sam and Kady stayed home from church, mainly because Paul wasn't feeling very well and Kady was kind of coughing. After church, though, we needed a few important things before The Great Snowtastrophe of 2011 hit the next day. We went to Walmart and bought toilet paper, bacon and laundry soap. You know, the really important stuff. When I got home from church Kady had complained of a stomachache. Not nausea, just pain. I told her to take a Maalox because I figured she had gas. By the time we got done in town she was in tears and when we got home she promptly curled upon the couch and couldn't stop kicking her legs and essentially writhing. I loaded her up and took her to the ER. I had felt her belly and determined she likely wasn't constipated (because we moms think poop is the root of all evil when it comes to our kids) and I knew it wasn't her appendix because it was on the wrong side. I was thinking kidney stone. The evil things run in our family like water runs downhill. When we got there the nurse thought the same thing and immediately ordered a UA. In the meantime the Nurse Practitioner came in to examine her. She poked and prodded her belly and decided the pain was from a pulled muscle, possibly from the beating she had taken on the basketball court the day before, but in a nine year old, who knew.

As she was walking out of the room, Kady coughed. It was the same cough she had had for days and it didn't startle me in the least. It did, however, make the NP turn around the ask, "WHAT was that?" She then carefully listened to Kady's lungs, ordered a chest x-ray and said the pulled muscle was from coughing, not basketball. She ordered a breathing treatment to be done as soon as the chest x-ray was complete. After two hours in a freezing isolation room in the ER the UA came back clear, the chest x-ray came back negative for pneumonia and the official diagnosis was: Bronchiolitis due to chronic asthma and exercise-induced asthma. We left with a prescription for six days of steroids and orders for breathing treatments every four hours for 24 hours, Tylenol/Motrin for the muscle pain and the use of the inhaler before practice and games. She was deemed non-contagious and as long as she felt like it was cleared for school. Knowing that The Great Snowtastrophe of 2011 was coming I figured she might as well go that one day of school because who knew when she'd get to go again.

Monday I wasn't supposed to have Conner for the day, so I took the kids to school and headed for town to run some last-minute errands before The Great Snowtastrophe of 2011 hit that night. I went out and got my monthly supply of free government cheese like a good little economically challenged Native American and then got the call I was indeed going to have my Conner for the rest of the day. I picked him up and headed for the Walmart where I did not get bread because they were out, but that's okay, I had gotten some the day before. I didn't really need a whole lot, but did stock up on very important things like chocolate chips and sugar. Had I been thinking I'd have gotten about four dozen eggs because they had them then and they didn't by that afternoon. And they haven't since. We went to the school for Kady's noon breathing treatment, I speculated with the teachers and staff about the impending doom and then came back home to finish laundry before my washing machine drain froze up for who knows how long.

Monday night we sent the kids to bed with nary a flake of snow in sight. Paul and I laid in bed and watched a beautiful lightning show, listened to some thunder that rivaled any we've heard in a Springtime storm and went to sleep around Midnight. I got up at 1:30 to check on the kids and saw that the world had turned white - but it wasn't snow at that point. It was sleet. I heard it pinging the windows, shivered and crawled back in bed. Upon awakening again at 4 our world was encased in a coccoon of white. When I got Paul up at 5:30 I begged and begged for him to stay home because given the looks of things and the forecast for 20 inches before day's end I had no intention of riding out the storm alone with three kids, one of whom was sick. He assured me he'd be fine, he'd be home and his 4WD would get him back here. He kissed me and left.

They had not one single guest in the casino all day. By 1pm they officially closed it. Since he was running the vault by himself he had to balance out, inventory and do whatever else those magical vault folks do. By the time he left he was pushing a wall of snow with his big ol' gigantic truck. He heard highway 60 had been closed by the sheriff, but he wasn't letting that stop him. My pleas and whines in the phone and reports of his youngest child running a 102* temp filled him with determination to get home. He made is halfway up 60, called his cousin who lived about 1/4 mile off the highway and said, "If I can make it to your house, can I stay the night?" His cousin said, "If you can get here, you can stay." He made it. They watched the weather reports and decided, given the reports of below zero temps for the night and that sick child of his, he needed to try to get home. He bundled up in his coveralls and took off up the dirt road. He made it 1/4 mile before he sunk and was stuck. His cousin pulled him back to his house with the tractor and there he stayed. He was three miles from us, but he might as well have been in California. I called my mother bawling from the bathroom so as not to scare the daylights outta my kids that I was terrified to be snowed in without him. She told me to stop crying, it wasn't changing anything, to pray and everything would be fine.

Kady burned up with fever all night. Her breathing was horribly labored. I didn't sleep much. Usually when Paul's not here I don't sleep well because I hear noises and end up convinced we're being stalked and are about to be broken into. That night I just listened to Kady wheeze and cough and laid my hands on her while I prayed that we be safe, that Paul would be safe, that I wouldn't have to call 911 for an ambulance that couldn't get here.

On Tuesday all three kids were sick, two with fevers, one with a sore throat. Around 2 that afternoon we saw a pickup go past our house. I was on that phone so quick to Paul telling him that if that truck could make it so could he. Two hours later he came sliding into the driveway with the finesse of a Duke boy from Hazzard County. He ended up stuck, had to dig his way out of his truck and walked the 1/10 mile driveway in 20" of snow. It was like a dadgum episode of The Waltons when he walked through that door. John Boy was home!

He spent Thursday home with us. Mainly because his truck was still stuck, but also because I wasn't letting him out of my sight again. Also by Thursday Kady had run a fever nearly nonstop for four days. Friday she didn't run one.

Saturday, after having not done a single stitch of laundry since Monday, we loaded up hampers and baskets of clothes and headed to my mom's. My washing machine drain freezes up at the mere mention of the word "winter", so laundering comes to a screeching halt when the temps dip too low. The kids played on the computers, Paul, who himself was now sick with bronchitis, slept most of the afternoon in a recliner in front of the TV and I visited with my momma. Paul and I made a quick run to Walmart for toilet paper, sugar, shampoo, cold medicine and milk, then headed back home. By the time we got to Mom's Kady was running a fever again.

Sunday I took her to urgent care where the nurse took her temp and it was a toasty 103*. Her bronchiolitis had turned into bacterial bronchitis. A test for strep came back negative. Then a doctor who looked old enough to have treated Moses for gout gave her the most thorough once-over she's had in years. He was great with her. And me. He sent us on our way with antibiotics and prescription cough syrup. She hasn't run a fever all day today. Praise God!!!!

And now it's Tuesday night. We are once again under a Winter Storm Warning and awaiting anywhere from six to eight to ten inches of snow. No one can seem to agree on an amount. Paul is still sick and refuses to see a doctor. Kady is better. I have PMS and my two oldest kids are begging to go back to school, however we received a call from the principal's office today letting us know that just in case we do have school tomorrow the bus will not come down our road. Considering their daddy leaves the house at 6:15am for work in the only vehicle with 4WD and my van will not navigate on the sheet of ice that disguises our road, I checked to make sure their absences will be excused. They will. Whew.

I never thought I'd say this, but I'm almost looking forward to summer. And I hate summer.

We....the people

Originally published in The Miami News-Record, July 2020 Everything is different now. I’m not just talking about masks and social distancing...