Of course it was.
“I don’t think I’ve ever seen this happen before,” he continued. “Five family members test positive for Strep throat at the same time…”
I tried to give him the lame excuse that our dishwasher was broken. Why? Why would a broken dishwasher lead to five cases of strep? Well, gee whiz. The repair company schedules a week out, and we were sick of washing so many dishes. So in the interest of saving time at the sink, we shared a water cup or two. That’s all. This is excluding all of my teenagers, of course. Let it be known that they shared no cups. Yes, the small ones and I were the only ones to share cups and therefore, get strep.
Welcome to my life. If there was a prize for being unusual, we would win. Not if there was a prize for something unusual like, say, winning the lottery. Not that kind of unusual. No, we tend to win the “5 Cases of Strep Throat at Once” sort of prize.
Last week was kind of a record, though, even for us. Five people with fevers, sore throats, and short fuses, all at the same time…it didn’t really count as “Fun and Memorable Days Off School.” We drank a lot of broth. Broth was such a hit, that we had it four days in a row. That means I didn’t have to cook, which was kind of a bonus. I just kept the stock pot warming on the stove, and voilá: Breakfast, lunch, and supper! Too bad I was too sick to enjoy the vacation from cooking.
But on the up side, nothing happened to the laundry. Nope. It’s still there, waiting for me, right where I left it before we got sick. And it has multiplied. What joy! Our Laundry Mountain is a young mountain range, and somehow continues to grow over time. I think that defies geological norms, but then again, it’s not truly petrified yet.
We got into the doctor’s office really early. To do that, everyone skipped breakfast. “There is still Halloween candy in the car,” I said. “You can have suckers for breakfast. And it doesn’t matter if you’re still in your pajamas. Let’s go!”
Thank God for penicillin. I really am grateful. You may not have been able to tell when I picked up the prescriptions, though. I had a fever and a carload of sad, crabby sick kids, all with sore throats and fevers. So of course, the pharmacy had problems filling our prescriptions. Because I didn’t want to share germs around the world, we went to a new, drive-through pharmacy.
Our prescriptions ended up at a different drive-through pharmacy with a similar address, other side of town. I rested my head on the steering wheel, looked at the poor guy at the window (who did not want my germs) and said “I am not driving across town to that other pharmacy. How long will it take to fill it here?”
Thirty minutes. We could do that. “Look, let’s all get ice cream for our sore throats,” I said, hoping that would kill a half hour. I couldn’t take everyone home and back again. We were going to stick it out and wait. But it was still morning. No ice cream shop. Fevering child number one began to sniffle. “No crying!” I yelled, my head beginning to pound. “I’ll fix it. Look, there is a McDonalds with a drive through across the street.” But that wasn’t any good, either. Morning McDonalds for the gluten free crowd is limited to an egg McMuffin with no muffin. Also no cheese, because my kids are the only kids in America who won’t eat melted cheese.
“I’m sorry, kids. But I am not paying $2.79 for each of you to have bread-free, cheese free Egg McMuffin. That’s just a boiled egg and a piece of ham. Not even if you’re sick. You probably couldn’t swallow it, anyway. Then it would end up on the car floor with all the Halloween candy wrappers.”
We went back to the pharmacy. They needed another half hour to solve insurance problems.
By then, even my best-natured kids wanted to go home.
“No, we can do this!” I entered cheerleader mode. “Look, there’s a lake here. Let’s drive around the lake and see what we can see.” Silence fell in the car, as I drove them into sleepy boredom. Ten minutes. Twenty minutes. At thirty, we were back at the drive through pharmacy.
“Still having trouble with one of the insurance cards,” our faithful pharm tech said. “I mean, it’s obvious that all the cards are the same family, the same numbers…there must be a glitch in their system. I’ll need another half an hour to solve this.”
I looked at him. I had glassy eyes, disheveled hair, and white knuckles on the steering wheel. He smiled sheepishly and said he hoped we all felt better soon. I handed him the cash to skip insurance, and finally drove away.
Five bottles of penicillin, one big couch, and Netflix were all we needed.
And some broth. Out of five clean mugs.
Next time my family does something unusual and noteworthy, I’m going to ask for a Different Prize.