My boys are sick today. Jack, 16, woke up with his eyes nearly swollen closed.
"Allergies," I was quick to diagnose, although he usually doesn't struggle with allergies.
My prescription: "Hop in the shower, and you might feel better." He nodded and wandered into his bathroom, squinting through his poor, puffy eyes.
Hoping for the best, I scurried back and forth from my room to the kitchen, checking on the canned biscuits I'd popped in the oven, transferring the boys' sandwiches from the fridge to their lunch bags, filling the dog's bowl. While hobbling through the hall, looking for a missing shoe the dog had carried off, I ran into Will, age 13. He had already showered and dressed; but his cheeks looked unnaturally pink, and when he spoke, his voice was scratchy.
"I don't feel so good," he said. I felt his forehead. No temp.
"Hmmm..." My diagnosis: "Could be drainage." My prescription: "Get a cold drink and move around a little. You might feel better."
By the time I had dried my hair, applied my makeup, and walked the dog, Jack (now showered and dressed) was clearly not feeling any better. He had fallen sound asleep on the couch.
Will was still upright, but he was fading fast.
He had followed my advice; but the cold drink hadn't cleared his throat at all. He had stopped moving around and was sitting at the kitchen table.
"My ears hurt, too," he said.
Dr. Mom was going to have to call for a consult.
I phoned a sub and headed out to school to set out lesson plans. On my way back home, I called our family doctor and made appointments for later this afternoon.
Now we are home...sick. Will is curled up on the loveseat, under the monster blanket he's had since he was much younger. He has control of the remote. Jack is asleep on the couch again, still wearing the red hoodie he'd picked out to wear to school today. I put a TV tray between them so they could have easy access to their ice-filled cups of Sierra Mist.
The dog is wound around Jack's feet, enjoying this unexpected turn of events.
Today, I will be Dr. Mom; and although my diagnoses are not always accurate and my prescriptions are rarely effective, I work hard to perfect my bedside manner. After all, I love my patients and realize it won't be too many years before they're out on their own...and Dr. Mom won't have the chance to help them feel better.