Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Sick Day at the Crib.

So the first day back after Thanksgiving break, the little one ends up having to stay at home.  This couldn't have happened at a better time, as I had just spent all Sunday drinking, as usual, and even had told The Wife that I couldn't wait for Monday because it was going to be the first day in a long time that I had nothing pressing to do.  So imagine my fright when at 7am, after I had just fallen back asleep from waking up for some reason at 5:30, I feel a light rubbing on my arm.  I JUMPED up out of bed, feverishly smacking at whatever spider was surely trying to climb up my arm to eat my face.  Turns out it was just The Wife, lightly stroking her fingers on my arm to wake me up less harshly.  Well in trying to be nice she nearly lost a hand.  From what I can remember I was flailing at that "spider" like my life depended on it, then once I realized it was her, I grabbed my chest as my heart rate was in the goddamn thousands.  Then after all that she tells me I need to get up because the kid is sick and is staying home.  Great.

Now this post isn't just to show people that I'm a bitch.  The point of this post is to discuss kids staying at home and the reasons that they should or should not get the day off.  I grew up in a time when unless I could point to a limb on the floor and say, "My leg fell off", I'd be going to school.  And even if I had lost that leg, if my dad could secure a good enough tourniquet so as to keep the blood droppage to a minimum, I'd be hopping my one-legged ass into History class.  There need to be definite rules because the majority of the time that spider starts crawling up my arm, it's to alert me that a kid is staying home for a reason that in my opinion, if looked at more closely and not just reacted, wouldn't be enough to keep them out of school.

So let's go through some normal kids' reasons they want to say home, and see which ones hold up to the SB test of "being sick enough" to miss school.  If you're a parent you'll want to take notes, because we all know a kid staying home from school is a big pain in the ass and if you can avoid this happening, it's for the best for all parties involved, that is, unless they're really sick and because of this blog you've sent your child to infect the entire 3rd grade with the Bubonic Plague.


Your Ferrari of excuses.  As touched with belief as it is skepticism yet there's nothing you can do to prove it's a lie.  And if acted well enough, you can be convinced that there really is something wrong, and serious enough to stay home from school but not serious enough for a trip to the doctor.  And seriously, who has the time to take their kid to the doctor anyway?  You're already screwed because you have to take a sick day from work, angering your coworkers and boss.  Now the last thing you want to do is take two hours out of your already destroyed day to run this kid to the doctor for what will most likely turn out to just be gas.  And for the kid, they have to walk this thin line as well, because they don't want to go to the doctor either, so that's why TOO good a performance where they pinpoint places on the stomach where it hurts could get their mom or dad thinking "Appendicitis???" and then their faking ass is going right to the doctor, where they will be exposed as a fraud and subject to a huge punishment for wasting their parent's day.  That's why the proper response to "My stomach hurts" is and always has been, "Do we need to go to the doctor then?"  99% of the time you'll get a somber "No" and they'll slink away holding their stomach to put clothes on for school.  The other 1% you get me, who calls your bluff and thinks he can outwit the doctor.  My ass got really used to yardstick marks.  



This one is another one that's tough to figure out.  I mean, it's easy to fake a sore throat and make oneself sound like Merle Haggard.  But when is it really a sore throat in need of tylenol and a stay home from school, or a kid who just doesn't want to take a Science test?  Well, the majority of the time it's the latter. Kids know that sore throats are something everyone can relate to and a really bad sore throat can produce pain unlike the hardest of breakups.  I remember about ten years ago I had THE worst sore throat I could ever imagine.  It felt like every time I swallowed, shards of glass were being shoved down my esophagus, making it difficult to carry on my affair with Ricardo.  However, even though this condition probably saved my marriage, it was literally a real pain in the neck.  Heh heh...ugh.  Turns out when the doctor looked down my throat she winced from all the white splotches and sores.  I had mono. (Ricardo, remember?) So, you want to know whether that kid's "sore throat" is real?  Open his mouth and look in the back.  Now be warned. If he's smart he won't have brushed his teeth and will have created a force field of sleep breath and day old cheese that he's hoping will keep you from doing a thorough site check.  Then, take his temperature. Because what most kids don't know is that saying you have a sore throat doesn't mean strep throat right away.  THE FEVER has to go with it.  This is where they'll get caught.  No fever, so take your ass to school.  Now, Louis Armstrong.



This is NOT the gimmie you may think it is.  A throw up is NOT a throw up, although my oldest daughter knows that this is immediately the way she can get out of school.  Tell her mother she threw up, and that's it, she's home from school.  The Wife will tell me "I heard her hacking".  Well, hacking isn't puke.  Hacking could be mucus or just nothing.  Case in point.  Yesterday, the spider wakes me to tell me the little one threw up and has a 100 degree fever.  So I get up and wait on the couch.  An hour later she comes down, spry as a high school teacher who found her soulmate in a 14-year-old soccer player named Devon.  Check the smile above.  She's asking to go to Burger King for lunch, stay up after her bedtime to watch a Spongebob episode...she's singing Eye of the Tiger over and over on youtube, dancing, cracking jokes...this all before 11am.  I took her temperature when she got up and it was obviously normal.  That's when I asked The Wife what kind of throw up was it.  Was it chunky, I asked, or mucusy?  Because chunky is the real deal.  That's food from the day before, a true upset stomach, a miserable kid.  Mucusy is a different story.  I used to puke mucus all the time.  You have all this slime in your nose, a mucusy cough, shit runs down your throat, and this horribly uncomfortable feeling causes you to gag and expel all that mucus.  I'd have a trash can near just to hurl mucus now and then.  Turns out the "puke" was mucusy.  And the temp after just getting up? Well I'll chalk that up to a high body temperature after being covered in eight million blankets and the convulsing from puking the mucus.  Every time I barf after drinking too much I start sweating like a Steve the Pedophile when the kindergarteners come to the fire station.  Why Steve can be a pedophile and a firefighter isn't clear but the point is made.  Take special care to note the puke.  It'll save both you and your kid a sick day.  



Another REALLY tough one to discern.  You feel bad because right away you think of how much Excedrin and Tylenol you pop on a daily basis when there's even the slightest tinge going on upstairs, yet you know that this six year old can't really "pop" anything and will just have to deal.  Also, the first thing a parent always thinks for some reason is "BRAIN TUMOR!!!"  So I know.  I've been there.  I've done it.  However, a headache is certainly not a reason to stay home, unless certain things are apparent. 
1.  Look at the eyes.  Are they glazed over? (And not from sleep or it's a teenager, being hungover).   A lot of times the way to tell if a kid is really sick is by a good look in their eyes.  There's this look they get that goes beyond their emotions and is a physical attribute that says this kid is truly sick.  If they have that look, it doesn't mean an automatic stay-home day, but it warrants further investigation.
2. Make them breakfast.  Now, usually a kid, despite being a worthless eater at lunch or dinner, will scarf up breakfast like they've been in a mine for three months and subsisted on grubs and their own skin.  A kid usually will forget they're faking at breakfast time and eat like they always have, throwing out the window any "sick appearances".  If they do, get them to school. If they sit down and poke at the food, eating little to nothing, not to be defiant as usual, but because they don't seem to be all there, then take the last test.
3. Temperature.  This is the ballgame.  Usually I'd say if it's 99.5 or less they can still go to school, but most schools nowadays have rules that say if they have a fever over a certain number, not only are they NOT allowed at school that day, but they have to be rid of the fever for a day before they can come back.  However, usually kids will not pass all three of these tests, and "My head hurts" can be cured by a quick dismissal of their claims and a kiss on the forehead.


There are other, less common ailments, to which you usually can pretty much just ignore..."my eye hurts", a half-ass cough or any symptom when you ask where does it hurt ends with "I don't know", and some you probably don't want to dismiss as quickly..."my ear hurts", "I can't breathe", "my butt's bleeding", etc.  But hopefully this will give you some sort of roadmap the next time you wake up your kid for school and hear those terrible two words of "I'm sick." 

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