Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Milestones for Mermaid

Mermaid is quarantined.

Influenza Type A.

She called sounding puny, congested, despairing.

She, overall, has enjoyed a very healthy life. Very few illnesses; never has had mumps, measles, chicken pox ... the once typical illnesses of childhood. She didn't have her tonsils out or tubes in her ears or appendicitis. She doesn't have allergies or asthma or , skin issues or pms. She did
break her arm at 11 and she did contract mono her freshman year of college, that so far, has been her worst illness to date.

So being sick, other than a cold or sinusitis, is sort of a new experience for her.
She feels terrible: achey body, sensitive skin, some fever, chills, can't get comfortable, can't focus , painful headache, lots of congestion, food tastes awful.
She is ill.

She called:
"I'm sick Mamafish, I am home quarantined, I have flu. And not to be a wimp about it, I don't have anyone to take me to the doctor or pick up the prescriptions or make me soup or jello or put a cooling cloth on my head or hold me and tell me I will be just fine!"

I heard a bit of wail and a sniff in there. I made all the soothing Mamafish statements, asked if the doctors had given her info on symptoms to watch for in case of worsening. Worse was definitely not on her list of things to think about. More snuffling sounds...she sounded like Jack Lemmon in Wine and Roses. There was a bit of silence then;

"Mamafish the doctor fussed at me. She asked why I had failed to get a flu shot.
I never get sick! I told her and she looked at me as if I had detached from reality. I mean, have I ever had flu before? No, I have not. And why was she mean, I thought doctors were suppose to make you feel better "!
She rattled on some more, sputtering and coughing and gasping and sniffing and
running all her sentences together without pausing for answers or.... sufficient air intake.

Somewhere in that rant I heard anger. So I asked, in my usual direct way,
"Mermaid, are you angry"?
A pause, a big sigh, "No, not really. Maybe some. I guess what I am is shocked. I mean, I just don't get ill and here I am a health department epidemic statistic, quarantined, with no family, no help AND it is expensive to get sick and you don't earn any money laying in the bed feeling like ____"!

Yep, there was definitely outrage in there. The outrage you feel about what is crossways to your sense of justice. I said more soothing words, dispensed a bit of practical advice, reviewed symptoms to be aware of and encouraged her to nap and call me later.

I told Blowfish about the flu.
In the telling I mentioned her sense of injustice about being sick all alone, about having to drive your own sick self to the doctor, and pay your own co-pay. About then having to drive yourself to the pharmacy and wait with the other sickies to get your medicines. And pay for that too.
Blowfish was not pleased with this news.
He looked like a hunting dog on point.
"Do you need help packing'? he asked.
"Aren't you going up there"?
"I don't think so"
"Why the hell not?" he asked in full puffery.
"I beg your pardon"?
"Well FishEEEEEEE , Mermaid is sick, you are her mother,
why are you not on your way to help her"?

I turned from prepping the dinner and looked at Blowfish,
he was THE prototype of pacing anxiety.

" Hey Blowfish, I agree it is a bit nerve racking for her to be ill. We have been so blessed we just are not use to this particular anxiety, that being said I really do think she will be fine."
" I understood you to say our Mermaid is QUARANTINED with type A influenza ,
is that your idea of just fine?"
I sucked in a deep breath while I prayed for patience.
" She IS quarantined Blowfish, but she is on home quarantine not in a hospital. She has seen her doctor, acquired her prescriptions, purchased fluids, soup, jello and crackers. I have reviewed symptoms to be on the alert for in case of complications and I am monitoring her by phone multiple times per day. If I think it is needed for me to travel there, I will do so. She is young, fit, smart and has a cadre of local friends to help immediately if need be, so I think you can relax a bit."
Blowfish exited the room without speaking.
Dinner was quiet, certainly not conversational.
A bit after dinner the home phone rang, Blowfish answered.
It was Mermaid calling all consumed with irrational fury. When Blowfish answered she blew him off and asked for me.
I got on another cordless cause Blowfish had a death grip on his indicating relinquishing this contact would not be happening.
I hardly got beyond, "Hi Sweetheart, how are.."
before an incensed Mermaid squeaked out
"How in Hell does anyone eat this - - - -?
" Not sure I exactly know what you are refering to but if you ARE eating what you just said stop immediately".
" Canned soup is not food, the ---- is inedible "
" Wow Mermaid, you must be feeling better if you can actually taste food and care about it."
A heard a wheeze, a struggle to intake a big breath, a coughing spasm, some other sound effects and word fragments and then ...... mostly nothing.
Blowfish yelled her name so loud I nearly dropped my cordless. I didn't look his way for fear I would drop in my tracks from the daggered glare I was certain he had aimed at me.
"Sorry", Mermaid muttered, " I just feel really terrible and Mama's soup always makes me feel better on a cold Winter day , so I told myself if I got up and fixed soup I would feel better and I am just so acutely disappointed because there is no comfort here".
And then she hung up.
Blowfish stood still as a statue.
Eventually he turned toward me looking like he smelled something foul.
He was on the verge of starting a Pond holocaust when I said,
" I am sure your family, like mine, grew up eating Campbells soup out of a can, mixed with milk when it was there, and water when it was not. I am equally sure Mermaid will get beyond this. And Blowfish, I know you do not want to think about this but do at least TRY to remember
that Mermaid is the one who chose, of her own free will, to live hundreds of miles away from the Pond. If, at this point, her biggest issue to confront is the absence of scratch made soup while down with the flu she is very blessed indeed."
Lets just say Blowfish disagreed with my logic.
I went out to gather items for an overnight package to Mermaid.
A couple of funny, breezy novels to skim through in case she had medicine head and couldn't really concentrate. Some dvd's of favorite old Disney classics she watched on VHS way back when. A 12 pack of skittles to get the ick taste out of her mouth. A giant coloring book and a new box of crayola 64. An encouraging card and money so she would not fret about loss of earnings while ill.
She got the package and I am now declared ,
"The best Mamafish ever"!
Did you hear that Blowfish?


Jenny said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jenny said...

ahahaha - I love your tag at the end. More importantly, why does anyone listen to anyone BUT the Mother in these cases?

I'm sorry your sweet one is sick, and it's no fun being alone when not feeling well... BUT, this is part of growing up - she's learning she can depend on herself, but that her Mother is always near. Someday, if she has children she'll know how to take care of them because she took care of herself.

I have a memory of my Mother's cool hand on my forehead when I was sick. It was always so strong and comforting and once when I was sick and far away from home, I called and I told her I was putting her hand on my head long distance... and I felt better.

fishy said...

Truth is Blowfish and I have never really been on the same parenting page. My prayer is Mermaid benefitted from this more than she suffered.

And yes, I do agree with you, we each need to learn how to assume all the responsibilities of adulthood. To my way of thinking, learning to care for self is a primary step on that journey.

I love the shared story of your cool hand Mother, and am encouraged to learn you were able to access that comfort long distance. I hope you still can.

moi said...

Why is anyone married? . . . Bwahahahahahahahah! Indeed.

I used to love getting sick as a child, not because it felt great but because it meant I got to stay home, watch television all day while playing Barbies, and get waited on by my doting mother, whose remedies included 7-up, Campbell's tomato soup with sour cream, Ritz crackers, and on occasion, a thimble-full of bourbon for my sore throat. I miss that.

But you did the right thing, not rushing to Mermaid's side, although I'm giggling at how the parental roles were reversed in this instance.

fishy said...

Hey Moi,
it's a funny world isn't it? Did you notice Blowfish didn't pack his bags and rush off to Mermaids?

Like the message from Boxer, I am glad, glad, glad to hear the mother comforts are still playing forward. Gives a Mamafish comfort!

h said...

I'm not understanding quarantined and flu-shot and hospital. Is Mermaid a surgical nurse or something like that?

Kymical Reactions said...

Awwww. Fishy, you are a very good mamafish to your sweet mermaid. I love your story, and your telling of it just captured me and made me feel like a fly on the wall.

That type-A is nasty business, but I am sending healing and comforting thought to mermaid. May she be back in the ocean in no time.

And baaahahahahh to your tag line. The 'husbands' are interesting creatures, are they not? I don't know how they ever managed to survive without their wives. Mine - is going to have a minor knee surgery on Tuesday. It is the first time he will ever have been under anesthesia - and I'm telling you... I've never seen him be such a baby.


boneman said...

oh goodness!
If the young one was somewhere nearby, I kept thinking, tell me where to go and I'll drop off some of that fancy Campbell's chicken noodle soup (no water needed) and crackers, magazines, whatever....but, as I read on I realized that the Mom had it under control.

I suspect there have been flowers delivered to you by said hubby?

fishy said...

They are trying to get a regional epidemic under control. Thus, when a physician makes a diagnosis they must fax a report to the health department which faxes back an order of a 5 day home quarantine.
It has been beneficial because without the order of quarantine she probably would have lost her evening job.

She is young, but trying to establish her equine training business .. so she is at the equestrian center in the mornings -afternoons and has an evening job elsewhere. The equines and the riders are getting the week off,no trainer.

Blowfish, like many Dads, has a very tender heart toward this girl child. or to quote a friend of mine, "He's a fool of a man over that chile".

I'll say a prayer for your husbands successful surgery and hopefully his recovery will not be prolonged.

Thanks much for the good wishes for Mermaid's speedy recovery. She is improving.

Mermaid is accoustomed to home made from scratch soups. I think she did buy the Campbells Select soup but with the flu ... everything tastes icky.
Except maybe the skittles.

It was a very generous thought Boneman of rushing in with soup and magazines but you know I would never send a stranger to her door, especially not one who calls himself the "Boneman".

In answer to your other inquiry, no flowers, no apologies from the Daddyfish who loves this child so dearly ... and who still thinks I should make all her favorite soups and deliver them.

Ah well, what's that saying about not being able to please someone all the time ....

boneman said...

oh no...don't even credit me too awful much.
Rules was going to be, I wear a mask, she gets it in her hands, I'm holding my breath, and running afterwords!

I'm too old and too broke to fool with that 'flu' stuff.

Am sorry for folks when I see them look like that, too.
I see them from across the street, though, if I don't have a mask!

Well, here's hoping recuperation stays steady and upwards!

Aunty Belle said...

HEh...youse a tough mama.

This heah was jes' the medicine missy mermaid needed--an in the future, she will be less horrified cause now she knows how to tend to it herself--ah, now THAT is good to know.

As to blowfish, huh? Somehow, I cain't square blowfish lookin' like a dog on point. Heh.

Anonymous said...

personally, i much prefer to be alone when sick. i leave town if i have to. anyway, i suspect mermaid, though she clearly loves you dearly, is in that same camp, and will be relieved to get the package and not blowfish or mamafish. the proof is in the mileage.

good call and kudos.

big busy day at chickory. i painted my doors glossy dark red to break up all the cabin wood. it looks good. on the hens front: they were at the end of the fist shipment of biddies - tomorrow 400 will arrive from the hatchery. so i may have new birds by tomorrow night!

Dani said...

Ha! You're a good mamafish! Hope your girl gets to feelin' better.

h said...

Well, I hope she feels better soon. There's a new Secretariat Video on YouTube that's pretty good. Watching vids is a pleasant sick-day activity, methinks.

I'm posting it too.

fishy said...

Aunty Belle,
I don't know about tough .. sometimes I feel like heated jello but I do TRY to be logical. And, yes I can understand why it is hard to envision something called
"Blowfish" looking like a dog on point.

Mermaid is improving !

The proof IS in the mileage,
a concept Blowfish finds unacceptable. Apparently, (news to me), Blowfish and Mermaid have been in conference about parental relocation to Mermaids city. I have told Blowfish I am not inclined to follow Mermaid through her life like a tumbleweed.
I am an individual who needs to sink her tap root and stay put.

So excited for you new chicks may be arriving soon, and a red door is a wonderful tribute to the sweet little hen! Sounds to me like YOU are already nesting happily before the Spring. How is MDC ? Will she tolerate the new chicks?

fishy said...


Just wanted to let all you kind, encouraging blogger folks know how much I appreciate you sending good wishes for Mermaid's recovery. They ARE working as she is improved and approaching the restless stage ... a good sign.

Also, thanks to all of you who were so affirming in your comments toward this Mamafish. I somehow found it comforting. Especially in contrast to Blowfish's sharp scorn.