18 March 2011

Spring Awakening

Yesterday was too beautiful to write anything. Emmaline, with the methodical bluntness of an eighteen month old continued to insist upon "outside" at every opportunity. There was no way to deny her. It was a relief to do nothing but watch her walk back and forth, pushing or pulling the wagon, or stand behind her on the swing as Scout bounced up and down and nibbled her legs with just a little bit too much excitement.

The truth is that I needed the respite. Life is busy, but good and happy busy. But work has been busy as well. That's always true to some extent and that's fine. It's the way Emergency Rooms work. I fully understand that. But I've had a couple of shifts lately that have been a strange clash of the extremes in weather related symptoms that have left me feeling drained.

Let me explain. In the summer, one fully expects to see kids with vomiting and diarrhea come in for IV hydration. There happens to also have been an outbreak of gastroenteritis this winter. You add this to the usual wheezing and coughing and flu symtpoms and yes, it's been a little bit busy, but that's just the way it is. I'm rolling with it.

("It's been a day and a half. Why does he still have a fever of 101?" Because that's what flu DOES, it's main purpose in life is to make you miserable enough to cough and sputter its virions onto another susceptible human being who did not get the flu shot because he or she is seven and does not like needles and happen to have parents who forgot that they - as parents - are actually the ones in charge.)

Then it got warm. And this is where I got stretched rather thin. There were still kids throwing up and having diarrhea. There were still kids wheezing. There were still kids who skipped their flu shots coming in with fevers and wondering if they needed to be tested for flu. There was also the little measles index case rides the T thing, which wasn't super helpful but actually much less trouble than I thought it would be.

But then kids got on their bikes, which they hadn't ridden in four or five months, and they went outside. There were still patches of ice and piles of snow along the sidewalks, but they figured they would ride around them. They got out their bats and balls. They dug the frisbees and roller skates from the behind the ski parkas in the back hall closet. They did all of those things that they had dreamt about all winter, when the snow plows were rumbling by at 5am. And then they fell flat on their faces. They hit each other in the head with hard objects. They went, as my grandfather would have said, ass over teakettle and landed on the hard still mostly frozen ground.

So the ER was not only filled with listless dehydrated four-year-olds, feverish and cranky toddlers, and hyperactive kids puffing on their albuterol. Now we had broken wrists and collar bones, scalp lacerations, and potential skull fractures hiding beneath the grapefruit sized egg on the back of that nine-year-old's head.

A certain amount of crazy is what some people thrive on, but this for some reason just made me jealous. I wanted to be outside breaking my collar bone, not reading x-rays in my darkened office or handing out percocet.

So yesterday I walked the street with Em coasting along behind me in her stylish Radio Flyer. And I was reminded that there are children in our neighborhood, more than a few, and they were riding their bikes and waving to the baby and I felt happier than I have in a long time with the promise of long warm afternoons doing the just same all the summer long.

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