Wednesday, March 10, 2010

For the Kindness of a Stranger

The Banker and I are preparing to leave for a long weekend to visit his sister and her husband. It will be our first get-away without Boo in over a year--and trust me, it's overdue. Between the horrendous turn in the banking world, my mother's broken foot and the subsequent care she's needed, our ongoing frustrations with fertility, and the difficulty in remaining honestly thrilled for the 25-plus friends who have recently delivered or are expecting, a weekend away from it all seemed a good idea.

Today I threw myself into the world-wind of required preparations: a trip to the grocery store, cleaning the house, packing for Becca's stay at my parents' house and The Banker's parents' house, getting the pets set up for their respective stays, and our own packing. Thankfully, it was Becca's day at Mother's Day Out, which simplified my to-do list...that is until they called at noon saying Becca was screaming and crying that her ear hurt. Damn. What perfectly awful timing. She was right as rain this morning. So I rush to school, and Becca's inconsolable. She's not a crier, so I know it's bad. And of course the pediatrician's office is closed for lunch hour. Despite my inability to procure an appointment, I drive there anyway; Becca in the backseat sobbing.

Becca's screaming has all the parents in the waiting room shooting us sympathetic looks. The nurses, to their credit, manage to get us a room, even though they don't have an open slot for another hour-and-a-half. Another pediatrician in the practice has me hold a writhing, sweating, screaming Becca as she removes enough earwax to determine that yes, we do have an ear infection. She quickly writes me a prescription and tells me that the medicine is flavored, but not a big hit from what she's heard. "Immediately give Becca some in the pharmacy. If she doesn't like the flavor, pay to have one added right then and there."

It seems to take hours for the pharmacy to fill the scrip, the entire time Becca is crying and I'm trying to cradle her in my lap. Finally, the medicine is ready. But when I turn to try to give Becca some, she runs to the corner, curls up in a ball and wails. And wails. And screams until she's gagging, threatening to vomit up what little lunch her teacher said she ate. There is nothing I can do to entice her to take the medication she so desperately needs.

I remove her from the pharmacy and we sit in the hallway, Becca sobbing and struggling to breathe while I try to calm her down, cajole her, and threaten her in turn to please, please, for all that is holy, take the medicine. A woman waiting for the elevator walks over to us and asks Becca if she held her in her lap if Boo would take the medication. Amazingly, Becca--who shies away from being held by strangers--nods her head. And this dear, sweet woman held Becca in her lap, cooed and sang to her while I gave her the medicine. Sure enough, she hated the flavor. We needed to have another added if the grandparents had any hope of administering it themselves. I was so taken aback by this woman's gesture and by how successful it was. I couldn't thank her enough. She had the most calming influence on one tired, sick toddler and one exhausted, panicked mom.

So whoever you are, thank you. I told you that you were a Godsend, and boy did I mean that.