As a kid, I was a voracious reader of Look ‘n Learn comics. My Granny Sylvia used to hide them in her bedroom cupboard for us to “find.” These, along with packets of Jelly Tots hidden behind a flap cut in the cardboard box under the budgie’s cage, were one of many delights for us to discover when we visited Granny’s house. My brother Andy and I were in on the secret – we knew exactly where to look!
My favorite Look ‘n Learn characters were Nurse Susan and Doctor David, a little brother and sister who wore mini uniforms and spent their days nursing dolls and teddy bears back to health. Their very chic (then retro-fifties) mother hovered like a veritable June Cleaver in the back of the strip, dispensing steaming bowls of soup and cotton bandages. But it was little David and Susan who did the real doctoring and nursing. Who knew I’d end up marrying the good doctor?!
Last week Wednesday and Thursday, Tau came down with a fever of 101.5°, which meant he couldn’t stay at daycare. They called me not long after I got to work on the Wednesday and by the time I got back home to pick him up, his little head was red hot and his eyes glazed. Every time another kid approached, he started wailing.
So what do working parents here in San Diego do without extended family and no daycare? You stay home and play nurse and doctor – and not the kind you’re thinking! I stayed home one day and Dave the next. Tau was cranky and clingy both days, with little appetite, but by Thursday night he seemed a bit better, and so we assumed he was pushing through molars.
Friday morning he seemed fine so Dave dropped him at daycare. As he did so, one of the teachers noticed a rash on his body and mentioned that it might be Hand, Foot, Mouth Disease (HFMD, aka Coxsackie virus). This is a common ailment that seems to do its rounds every couple months at daycare. By the time the spots appear, the worst is over and the child is usually no longer contagious, so you can see why it spreads undetected at daycare centers! That night Tau woke at 1:00 a.m. screaming inconsolably with a sore throat, also a classic HFMD symptom. After trying everything we could think of, we gave him some Dimetapp and finally managed to rock him to sleep. By Saturday the spots were worse but on Sunday they started to fade and his personality and appetite began returning. By Sunday night he was almost back to being the little monkey we know and love.
When I called daycare this morning, they informed me that he needed a doctor’s note to return – would have preferred to know that Friday, so that we could take him to a doctor Saturday, but there you have it! So I took him to a walk-in clinic first thing this morning to get the all clear. The doctor we saw said she didn’t think he had HFMD after all; the spots were not on his palms and soles but on the backs of his hands and feet – who knew spots were so picky? Her diagnosis? A “non-specific viral infection.” Could she get any more imprecise?
Anyhow, doctor’s note in hand, we headed off to daycare mid-morning and are happy to report that as of posting time, Tau is truly back to his impish little self.
Look and learn indeed! Some days life is a big old comic strip.
By the way, I want legs like Nurse Susan! I gotta get to the gym more often!