Salt for the Wound

This was intended to be published Sunday, September 19th, 2010.
I was all prepared to expound on my woes in home schooling – as I am still adrift in the cyber ocean without the proverbial oar… last week a typical “Monday:” my daughter’s annual fasting blood tests in the morning, followed by McDonald’s smoothies for breakfast and an extra late start to lessons.  Ava was the easy part of the day; it was the “invalid username” I kept getting while attempting to log her in to mandatory assessments, the unavailable I/S (instructional support person) and the still uncooperative scanner I needed to use YESTERDAY.

I was going to mention how urgent I am to get started in the morning, as lessons are still running into the late afternoon.  How she bottoms out after lunch.  After 3:30 the house’s energy shifts dramatically; my friend Joyce likens it to floating along a lazy river and then all of a sudden you hit “the rapids.”  That’s my house after the big yellow bus delivers my other precious cargo.

I was going to talk about ripping wallpaper down in of our downstairs rooms, or about Ava’s art project.  How I am certainly NOT an art teacher – that any aspirations I may have had for artistic expression were squashed in the first grade by a teacher who sent me to the office (a fearsome place back then, when corporal punishment still existed) for not finishing my painting when she told me to – but that I can still identify and mix the three primary colors  to create secondary colors.

I was going to explain how solutions to our issues take time – like everything else around here – an email sent to our I/S came back with an out-of-office auto-reply.  All week?  How can an I/S be out of the office all week, just 3 weeks into school??  And currently calls to tech support require 24 hours to return.  It’s worse than being a slave to your friendly neighborhood plumber/cable man/exterminator, who at least gives you a 3 hour window.  It turns out one can’t always trust instructions when it comes to the magical world of ever-evolving technology.  Long story short – the scanner was working, is working and together “Ian” and I scanned one of Ava’s assignments (from 2 weeks ago).  End of call.  And then later, when I attempted to actually submit all the assignments, I couldn’t find the documents!  That did it – the dam broke and I just had a good cry.  Poor Ava – she just wanted to know if this meant she’d have to go to Owie’s school now.

I was going to complain about the dog – about the new discoveries he’s made with his teeth, including one of Owen’s  new Skechers and a now loose seam of wall-to-wall carpet in our upstairs hallway.  How last Monday night he managed to slip away from us all to produce the biggest, smelliest, messiest pile of poop ever in the room currently under renovation.  I’ve never been so mad at him; however, Owen’s refusal to finish dinner at that point as he stood by the back door trying to breathe fresh air quickly diminished my impending rage to something resembling hysteria.

I was going to say that last week I felt like a mental patient, volleying back and forth between rage, tears and hysterical laughter.  Perhaps I’m on the wrong medication.  I’ve noticed how so much less important someone else’s meltdown seems after just two sips of my old Stoli martini.  How hilarious my husband’s indignant intolerance for dog farts seems.  Seriously though, what will all this mean a year from now?  Most likely it will be all forgotten.  Except for, maybe, the dog farts.  There appears to be no end to those, at the moment.

All this I wanted to say until this afternoon – when Ava got almost two units of insulin and then refused to eat lunch – exhibiting the irrational and unnerving behavior of a hypoglycemic child (which, of course, she wasn’t).  That’s when all your good-mom-healthy-eating habits fly clean out the window, when you are forced to choose between marshmallows and crackers for lunch or a call to 911.  And then she was hot.  Real hot.  100 degree fever.  A sick child is never fun, but a sick child with diabetes quickly becomes a nightmare.   In the 3 years since her diagnosis, we’ve been blessed with nothing more than a head cold – until this past May, when she got a wicked 24hr exorcist-like stomach virus that caused her blood sugars to plummet dangerously low for hours.   We were up all night, catching vomit and testing her glucose levels, praying we wouldn’t end up in the hospital before daybreak.

This beautiful morning we four were outside throwing the baseball around, both kids exhibiting the athletic prowess a proud father adores (and me failing miserably with a left shoulder injury caused by a certain 4-legged animal who shall remain nameless).  Just like that – in a space of a few hours – your child’s health takes a sudden nosedive.  (The irony of these sudden-onset fevers always coming on Sundays is not lost on me.)  So, all I thought I wanted to say – none of it matters now.

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