The wonderful world of Justice and Mommy aka Mary!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Sushi and Sour Worms

When I was a child, whenever I was sick my mother would offer to go to the store and buy me whatever I wanted to eat. In retrospect I think she may have been trying to get any nutrients into me that I would agree to. I typically asked for Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups or jelly doughnuts from the local bakery. What can I say…they may have not been full of vitamins and minerals; but, I’ve always had great taste.

Like my own mother, I asked Justice what he might want me to get for him, because he was sick. His appetite was in the drain and I was desperate to get anything into him. He asked for sushi and sour worms. This was such a stretch from my typical “sick food”; but, I wanted him to have whatever he wanted and if that meant sugary confections and raw fish wrapped in rice and seaweed I was happy to oblige.

Justice ate his sushi and clung to his sour worms like there was no tomorrow. Unfortunately he became very ill, very fast and the sour worms were never to be consumed. His fever spiked to almost 104 degrees and I panicked. At first I thought he was just exhibiting the normal signs of a sick child; but, it soon became obvious that there was much more going on in his little body.

After he came home from school he seemed to be just a little under the weather. About two hours later he was laying down in the bed fast asleep. I took his temperature and realized it was 102 degrees. I gave him some Tylenol and figured he was going to get under the covers and be out for the count the rest of the night. It was as this point things began to take a turn for the worst.

About fifteen minutes later Justice sprung up from a deep sleep faster than a mouse trap. “MOMMY!” Justice cried angrily at me “I AM HUNGRY. GET ME SOMETHING TO EAT!” It was crazy. Just a minute before he was sound asleep. Now I don’t normally allow him to speak to me in such a manner; but, something told me this was not a normal situation. I quickly fixed him some chicken and watched as he ate one small piece. I turned my back for a second while I wiped the kitchen counters down then looked back to find Justice’s seat empty.

Where had the hungry child gone? Right back to bed. He was sound asleep in just a matter of minutes. It was strange; but, I figured he was a bit out of sorts and decided maybe his stomach was a bit upset. Then just ten minutes later he popped up again screaming at me. “MOMMY! I AM HUNGRY! GET ME SOMETHING TO EAT!” I was shocked. This was crazy. His chicken was still sitting on the table for him.

I offered him his chicken again and he demanded a popsicle. I was anxious to get anything into him and knew he was running a fever again, so I decided a popsicle might not be so bad. Quickly, I went to the freezer and got him a frozen treat and a plate to catch the drippings. Almost as soon as I gave it to him he was back in the bed. I watched in disbelief. How could this child who was demanding food from a tear stained face possibly be back in bed? What would poses him to demand food from me in such an inappropriate way then abandon the very thing he anguished for?

I started to realize something was terribly wrong. He was behaving like an Alzheimer’s patient. Confused and angry. I grabbed the thermometer and took his temperature. I looked at the numbers in shock. It was almost 104 degrees! How could a little boy who was well enough to make it through a day of school be so sick just a few hours later?

Immediately I went into mommy mode. I realized that his temperature was out of control and we needed to go to the hospital. Justice wasn’t happy about it; but, he didn’t have a choice. I began grab for random items in a blur of fear. I grabbed my laptop, a few movies, a bottle of water, the thermometer… cell phone… cell phone….where the heck was my phone at? “Oh you’ve got to be kidding me.” I thought. “This would have to be the one day I left my phone at work.”

I wanted to call Justice’s father and let him know what was going on; but, without my phone my hands were tied for the moment. I knew the most important thing right then was to get Justice to a hospital. I could sort out the phone call when I got to St. Mary’s and knew Justice was in a safer place.

Of course the emergency room was packed and we had no choice but to fill out the necessary paperwork and wait. And wait we did. Justice was pretty lethargic, so he didn’t mind for the most part. I had brought a Readers Digest with me and there was a large televison with cartoons to keep me occupied. I happened to notice another mother out of the corner of my eye using a phone on the wall. I realized it was a public phone and was able to call Justice’s father and alert him to the situation.

I grabbed the germ covered phone and made my call, then sat back down to wait. Eventually the triage nurse saw us and gave Justice a dose of Motrin to help reduce his fever. It had only dropped to 103.4 at that point. He was a good patient and answered most of the questions she asked himself. He had a very good vocabulary for a 5 year old and I think it amuses most adults to hear him speak.

Soon we were finished with triage and… guessed it, we went back to the waiting room. There seems to be a-lot of waiting in hospitals. Maybe that’s why I don’t like them very much. Finally after some time we heard our name called. We were ushered to a bed with a curtain wall. This was a much more comfortable place to wait.

I set up the laptop with Labyrinth to give Justice something to do until the doctor came to see us. He seemed to thing this was a pretty good idea and so did the doctor when he arrived. He asked us a few questions and took a throat culture which Justice did not care for so much. For a split second he looked as if he thought the nice doctor was trying to gag him to death; but, quickly got over it. The doctor left and we resumed out movie.

When he came back he announced that Justice had strep throat, tonsillitis, an ear infection and a viral infection. “What?!” I said incredulously, “How can this be?” The doctor didn’t seem to think it was too out of the ordinary, but he did prescribe a pain killer for his ear and a 10 day course of amoxicillin.

Soon Justice’s temperature came down to 101 and we were allowed to leave. It was a long night and we were both happy to see our beds when we got home. Naturally being as sick as he was I stayed home with him the following day and his father stayed home with him two days after that. He finished his antibiotics; but, the story doesn’t end there.

I would tell you more, but it’s still unfolding. I guess we’ll just have to wait to see how this one ends
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posted by Mary Gerber at 3/19/2008 0 comments

A Day At The Fair

Finally! The day we had been waiting for had arrived. The day of the Port St. Lucie Fair. Why had we been so anxiously awaiting this day you ask? I have three words for you- Hannah Montana’s dad. That’s right Billy Ray Cyrus was scheduled to perform that very day. Let’s just say we were totally siked.

Justice seemed to be a bit under the weather that morning; but, he wasn’t running a fever and appeared to be pretty close to normal so we headed off to the fair. If I knew then what I know now we most certainly would have stayed home. They say hindsight is 20/20 but that doesn’t do you much good after the fact.

When we got to the fair Justice was soooo excited. This was to be the first time ever that he would have a wristband entitling him to unlimited rides. The prices at the South Florida Fair are typically much higher so we usually skip the wristbands and entertain ourselves with the free or very cheap entertainment. At the Port St. Lucie fair we had the option to do both. It was nice.

Justice wasted no time jumping from one ride to the next. He was so excited. There was no counting tickets or picking between one ride and the next. The fair was his apple and he was happy to take bite after bite. I could almost see the juice running from his mouth as he boarded one ride after the other. Life was pretty sweet for him that day.

While he was riding a miniature train I took the opportunity to look at the schedule and saw there was a Wild West show coming up soon. With some difficulty I was able to pull Justice away from the rides and guided him over to the show’s venue. The area was a bit deserted and I quickly realized that we had gotten there too early. I was used to a much larger fair and had to make a few adjustments to the slower pace of life in this incredible farming and equestrian area.

Not too far by there was a mechanical bull riding venue which Justice had both green eyes on. I knew how much he enjoyed bull riding when we went to the Davie Pro Rodeo in August so I just couldn’t deny him this opportunity. He was quite happy to choose the mechanical bull for his one “extra money attraction“.

At first I thought he had wasted his money at a whopping $7 per ride; but, the look on his face was priceless. It was obvious that while he was on the bull, he was the king of the world. How could I want to take that away from him? And as luck would have it the ride operator decided to give him an extra ride for free! It’s nice to get by on good looks and charm.

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Not long after the bull riding adventure we made our way back to the Wild West bleachers. As we sat in the hot Florida sun waiting for the show to begin I noticed a coworker and her little girl coming our way. We said our hello’s then settled down to enjoy the show. It started with the chicken dance which Justice really enjoyed. The performer had asked some members of the audience join in and of course Justice was the first kid up there!

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After the Wild West show we decided to check out a few more rides and kill some time before the demolition derby at 4pm. I was really excited for the demolition derby. I’ve only done something like that once when I was in elementary school when my dad took me to the thrill show in Philadelphia. I still remember how exciting it was even after all these years.

Of course this derby was much smaller than the Thrill Show, but entertaining nonetheless. The show began with this crazy junkyard character who had a chicken on his head. Yes, I mean a REAL LIVE CHICKEN! He really had a great talent for capturing the crowds attention. Maybe it was his outfit….or maybe it was his commanding personality. Whatever it was it worked.

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At one point the whipped out a black sharpie and asked for a volunteer. Naturally Justice jumped up and down with his hand up and the man drew on his forehead. At first I was worried that the marker would ruin the rest of the day’s pictures; but, I quickly realized it was a trick marker. It was totally washable and Justice felt totally special. Who knew all you had to do to make a 5 year old happy was draw on them? Once again it’s the simple things in life that mean the most.

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Soon the derby had begun and Justice quickly forgot about how tired he was of standing. How cool was it to watch cars purposely trying to crash into one another! “Yeah” I heard him screaming. “Get’em number 88!” CRASH, BAM, BOOM went the junkyard jalopy’s as they smashed into one another. Ohhh went our mouths as bumpers fell off and axels and tire rods began to give way. We watched in disbelief as the cars continued to move without rubber on their tires and wheels wobbling off their tie rods. It was almost surreal. I was completely unaware that car’s could still function is such a state of disrepair.

Luckily after the first contest, a-lot of people left the stands and we were able to get seats on the bleachers for the main event. Again we watched cars smash into each other until they were falling apart. The second contest had more cars and got a-lot more exciting as they all raced to beat each other up. People may make fun of rednecks and country folk; but, after spending so much time in south Florida, I must say they sure do know how to have fun. In the past few years I’ve really come to enjoy events like this.

After the derby we rode some more rides and indulged in a few fair treats. Justice wanted nothing more than a vanilla ice cream and I opted for some more traditional fare- BBQ pork sandwiches and fried snickers bars. Justice looked at me like I was crazy when I sat down with my dough covered snickers bar and looked even more incredulous as I cut into it and offered him a bite. He declined and I resigned myself to the fact that my five year old had no idea what truly great artery clogging food was. You’d never know he was a southerner from his appetite.

Soon, we found it was time to line up for the main event. Hannah Montana’s dad. I couldn’t believe it; but, people began to line up for the show a full hour and a half before it began! I hadn’t purchased reserved seating; therefore, we had to wait with the masses for the gates to open. Not long after we got into “line”- which was nothing more than an unorganized crowd of people I began to feel a sense of panic rising in me. I hate being in crowds. I hate feeling like I can’t get enough oxygen into my lungs and I hate feeling like I may be trampled at any moment. I hate it.

As time began to pass by the crowd began to scrunch in further and further. Others around us began to vocally express their fears of a mass crowd trampling, as we were pushed closer and closer together. Just behind us I heard a woman speaking. “Well, I have reserved seats” she said “but I know they have more up at the gate, because a friend of mine just told me. She works there.” I mulled that over in my mind for about a minute then realized that I would pay just about anything to get out of that crowd right then and there. Quickly I grabbed Justice’s hand and led him out of the mass of stifled air and flesh.

We hightailed it to the front gates, purchased our tickets then made our way to our reserved seats. It was at this point that Justice began to go down hill fast. It seemed as though the second we sat down the illness inside him caught up with his little body in a matter of minutes. I was faced with a dilemma. We were over an hour away from home, about to watch a concert which wouldn’t last more than an hour or so and Justice was not looking so hot.

I thought for a few minutes and realized that if we left right then and there, he would have to sit in a car for over an hour just to get home, so what difference would it make if he laid on my lap? It was only 7pm, so it wasn’t too late and the concert would be over at a decent time. He had been looking forward to this just as much as me and I didn’t want to take it away from him if I could help it.

The concert began and Justice laid down. A lady nearby noticed that he was not feeling so hot and she very graciously offered him her jacket. She thought it might help drown out the noise and make him a little more comfortable. It did and I was thankful. He kept popping his head up from time to time and by the end of the concert he was watching quite vividly. I think his favorite parts were when Billy said “Sweet nibblets” and sang “Ready, Set, Don’t Go” To this day he keeps telling everyone who is interested that he saw Hannah Montana’s dad IN REAL LIFE! Beat that!

As the concert came to the end the lady who gave Justice her jacked got ready to leave. Billy was still singing and I went to take the jacket from him when the sweet lady leaned into me and said, “Don’t wake your baby and please keep the jacket. This will be a concert you will never forget.” Boy was she right. It was a concert I would never forget for so many reasons. Billy Ray Cyrus was incredible live, he was Hannah Montana’s dad and Miley’s too. He sang some old favorites and some new soon to be classics. He made a lasting impression on my son and brought a smile to my face. It was a concert that anybody of any age could enjoy. There was nothing raunchy or inappropriate here. It was just good, clean, fun. It was also the beginning of a terrible illness for Justice.

It was a milestone in our lives.

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posted by Mary Gerber at 3/19/2008 0 comments