Neo-Hippie Ramblings - I'm a Non-Conformist Just Like All My Friends: 25.5 Hours - Christmas Eve through Christmas

Monday, December 27, 2004

25.5 Hours - Christmas Eve through Christmas

12/24 - 9:00 pm - Get off the phone with our doctor, who recommends we take our 23 mo. old, E., to the ER. Her eyes are swelling with a nasty case of what looks to be pinkeye. Have to get her to sleep first in order to get her dressed. Otherwise, she'll fight and scream until she makes herself puke. My wife P. lays down with our 4 year old, A., to get her calmed down enough from Santicipation to sleep.

12/24 10:00 pm - Leave for the ER - the thermostat in the car says 11F. I can feel the ice crystals forming around my nose hairs when I breathe in. E. wakes up and starts crying and arching her back as soon as I put her in the car seat -- too cold for her, too!

12/24 10:20 pm - Car is finally getting comfortably warm as we approach the hospital. More crying on the way from the lot to the ER.

12/24 10:30 pm - In triage. Some clueless resident is talking to E. like she's twelve. She's screaming because he's trying to get a temp in her ear. We can hardly get near her ears with a washcloth - forget the loud stranger with the cold instrument! He makes a few lame attempts (as I try to pin her to my shoulder without hurting her) and finally records it as 96F.

12/24 10:40 pm - Standing in front of the outpatient window holding E. while a doctor and a nurse about 20 feet behind the window pretend they can't see me. After 3 minutes of staring directly at them with the Death Gaze, the doctor says "Somebody will be with you in a minute." (Thanks asshole, standing here holding a 30 lb toddler while you chat is just so comfortable.)

12/24 10:45 pm - Another nurse (the one who apparently does the real work) returns and I'm directed to a room. After a minute the same doctor shows up, having torn himself away from Hello Nurse. E. cries and turns away when he tries to pull her swollen eyelid open to look. Repeat three times. He leaves, saying he'll come back when she perks up a little. (Perk this up, buddy...) I talk to her for a few minutes and get her to wake up a bit.

12/24 11:00 pm - After some more crying and a struggle, we finally hold her down enough to get a good look at her eyes. He doesn't feel the swelling warrants a systemic antibiotic, so we're sent home with a prescription for sulfa eyedrops.

12/24 11:10 pm - Checkout, copay and another walk in the bitter cold.

12/24 11:20 pm - Don't know if anything will be open tomorrow, so we stop at a 24 hour pharmacy to fill the prescription. Another walk in the cold. She's totally out this time and doesn't even flinch.

12/24 11:40 pm - You'd be amazed at the number of people shopping at CVS at 11:30 pm on Christmas eve. Prescription is filled, another walk in the cold, and we're finally headed home.

12/24 11:55 pm - Home again, last walk in the cold. Take E. up to bed, wake P. and start wrapping presents.

12/25 2:00 am - Santa duty is done. Up to bed and crash.

12/25 6:45 am - A. is awake and ready to see what Santa brought. Lights are on and way too bright. This must be kind of like what a chloroformed frog pinned to a dissecting tray must feel like.

12/25 7:15 am - Drag myself out of bed and downstairs, with E. in tow. Open gifts. Next year I propose a concept called "Naked Christmas". Same idea as usual, but without wrapping paper. All the toys are under a single white sheet and are all tagged with sticky notes. The kids come down, lift up the sheet and find their names. No muss - no fuss.

12/25 8:00 am - Time to start cooking and cleaning. And by cleaning I mean 'stash the mess.' But first it's time to give the first of 20 doses of eyedrops. Screaming, thrashing, more screaming, a bit of kicking and it's done. 19 doses to go. 4 hours until the family starts to arrive...

12/25 11:00 am - Our nephew G. and his mom arrive. (Long, unpleasant story for another day. G. is 7 and lives with us. We have custody and visitation is by mutual agreement.) He's been staying with mom most of Christmas. Looks to me like her patience is wearing a bit thin, but I don't say anything.

12/25 1:30 pm - A peanut butter pie, 3 quarts of cranberry sherbet, a green bean casserole, two trays of canned biscuits, a batch of rosemary potatoes, half a reheated turkey from last weekend's Sunday dinner, a saucepan of giblet gravy, globs of instant mashed potatoes, some canned corn and a honey-mustard glazed ham are all ready to eat, or pretty close to it. Not bad for having only about ±24 hours notice that I would need to cook Christmas dinner for the crew. (Actually, I should have assumed it, but didn't plan ahead. My own fault...)

With 18 people packed into our little house and everything I have to do, I've totally missed the kids opening the gifts from family. It'll probably be a week before I figure out who got what from whom.

12/25 2:00 pm - E. has fallen asleep in the middle of the living room. Never mind all the kids running around, people talking and the Christmas music -- she's out cold.


12/25 3:30 pm - Things are winding down as people start to pack up and go. G. was exhausted and fell asleep in his room.

12/25 6:00 pm - Call my family in southwest PA to say Merry Christmas. A. and G. are playing nicely upstairs while E. plays with one of her new Barney toys downstairs.

12/25 8:00 pm - Take G. to stay overnight at P's parents. A. goes along for the ride. We drive around afterwards to look at lights and she falls asleep (which was the ulterior motive for bringing her anyway).

12/25 9:00 pm - Take A. up to bed. Watch Barney with E. and P. until about 10, when E's eyelids start to droop.

12/25 10:30 pm - Head up to bed with a glass of water and a milk bottle packed with an ice pack for the middle of the night.

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