Here's the thing: pretty much if you spend enough time thinking about, talking about, researching and worrying about a given illness, you can manifest the symptoms if you want to. Which is why most of my children are convinced that they have Ebola right now. Obviously they don't, but the things they do have are enough to make me quarantine the whole house and become a manic OCD cleaner sometime tomorrow after I wake up and have coffee.
A few days ago Aspen casually remarked how she had some sort of a bug bite or something on her forehead that was itchy and very annoying. Being the good mother that I am, I told her to take a benadryl and go to bed without even looking at it. The next day she said it was even more annoying and it hurt, and I told her to take a tylenol and go to bed again, because I am a REALLY good mom. Today when she said it both hurt and itched and the annoying factor was on overdrive, I finally decided I had the time and courage to look at it, and I really wish I hadn't. At this point I am fairly certain that she has leprosy. Or maybe Shingles. Which would make sense since I had a friend here the other day who had shingles and even though they were never even in the same room together, somehow, it mutated into an airborne virus and squirreled it's way around the rest of us and onto Aspen. But if it's leprosy, that would make sense too, since my parents are visiting and we reserve those times for the presentation of All of The Worst Possible Illnesses To Be Shared Among Family.
Being an extra good mother, I started googling this very scary looking rash type sore on my child's forehead, and since my good buddy has had a massive infestation of spiders that could double as lap dogs, it seemed reasonable to start with spider bites. This resulted in the discovery of the recent death of a 10 year old boy in Montana from a spider bite. On his leg. That killed him. Dead. Whatever we are dealing with here is apparently lethal. I couldn't quite process this whole idea so I skipped to some lighter reading about Poison Oak and other common childhood illnesses that include coughing, snuffling, and Really Gross Scary Rash Type Things. By the time I was done and had eliminated all of the possibilities except A) leprosy, B) Spider Bites and C) Ebola, all I could think to do was to watch the Walking Dead and wish for a zombie apocalypse. Because then I would know what to do. I have taken the Facebook quiz like 8 times, just to be sure, and my survival is not in question. But rashes? Coughs? GIANT HAIRY SPIDERS WITH DEEP VOICES AND EYE CONTACT? I can't deal, y'all.
Because I couldn't send the airborne-sightborne-thoughtborne viral rash to bed without some treatment, I had to collect myself enough to take inventory of the interventions that I could perform as a poorly equipped wildland EMT with 37 boxes of fix-it gear piled in my dining room. We started with a shower, when it could not be determined when she had last bathed, if ever at all. After that I whipped out a $75 tube of Zanfel and treated the potential crap out of the potential poison oak. Then we assaulted it with hydrogen peroxide while Aspen spoke tersely of stinging fizz and gritted her teeth. Because I was still paranoid, we hit it with some alcohol swabs (which induced more teeth grinding and scrunched faces) and triple antibiotic ointment, washed bedding, quarantined a suspect pillow pet (these have been known to carry numerous childhood killers) and covered the offending rash to avoid contact with anyone or anything. Aspen went to bed with a forehead bandage the size of a Hershey Bar and of course her sisters are now petrified of catching Ebola from her. Because that's what bandaids mean here.
Even after all of that I sit here, every molecule of my body itching and reacting to the deadly, undiagnosed virus seeping into the whole house from upstairs. Because we catch things by osmosis in this family. It's how we roll. Like my throbbing feet that only hurt because my buddy has all these bone spurs and bunions and is about to have foot surgery. So I am sharing in her pain with her. Now that I know foot pain is a thing. I can acknowledge it and become part of the pain with her. I hope that means I get to share in the post op pain killers too...
Although with Aspen's forehead there is no doubt in my mind that it came from her dad's house. Because that's where anything we can't explain, justify, escape, or just don't like, comes from. I will go to bed dreaming of Dagny sized spiders and flesh eating bacteria. Again, I will take Zombies ANY day. Already this week we've missed a day of school for coughing and a half day for a dentist visit, which I still haven't heard the results of, since the only thing she remembered him saying was that the culprit tooth was a baby tooth and she should wiggle it more. Another thing to blame on dad, since he took her to the dentist and hasn't reported back yet. I would assume the dentist told him more than to wiggle her remaining baby teeth. But who knows. Maybe all the teeth gritting activities of the evening helped loosen the offensive baby teeth. Maybe the Ebola-Leprosy rash is related to the teeth. Maybe it's just a little spot of poison oak and I should just quit freaking out for a minute. But where's the fun in that? Or the justification to find safety in the remaining Netflix episodes of Walking Dead, and drink medicine out of a stubby brown bottle labeled Session Lager?
If anybody is bored tomorrow, after we get back from the ER we'll be sanitizing the house with rubbing alcohol and a blowtorch. Feel free to stop by.