My daughter came home with a case of strep throat last week, which of course meant that she soon passed it on to her brother, and then me. This is because children are Keds-wearing bags of contagion. Syria missed a real opportunity: They didn’t have to attack anyone with sarin. They could’ve just sent my kids in there and within a week the war would’ve been called on account of sore throats.
Not that I was any different when I was a kid. At the age of three, in an effort to keep my parents on their toes, I came down with Stevens-Johnson syndrome which is a horrible disease in which your skin starts sloughing off in great big patches. Besides being a real downer in the clean-up department, it can also cause unpleasant side-effects such as dying. It’s not a very fun disease to have (unlike polio, which I hear is a regular hoot).
Of course, being only three, I remember very little of it. Only one thing, in fact: On my way to the doctor one evening, when my parents were afraid that I was taking a turn for the worse, my dad took the time to put a large sheet on the back seat of the car so that it’d be easier to pick up all of the skin that had fallen off of me. That’s a dad for you. I wouldn’t be surprised to discover that he had tried reattaching the skin with duct tape. (I wasn’t at death’s door, as it turned out: I was on the mend. I was back to my old self, destroying expensive pieces of furniture and drawing on the walls in no time.)
That’s a typical kid move. Kids wait until the worst possible time to uncork the weirdest fucking diseases. I can almost predict the calls that I get from my kids’ day care.
Boss: Ok, we’ve got an emergency on our hands, people! We’ve found a security hole in our flagship product, and I’m going to need everyone to put in as many hours as they can in order to…
Day Care: Hi, Greg. This is Lisa over at day care. Your son has a 109 degree fever and is throwing up what looks to be lizard parts. Also, his toes have turned bright orange.
Strep is fairly routine by comparison, so I’m not really complaining. I’ve gotten really good at diagnosing strep on my own:
Doctor: Well, what seems to be…
Me: Patient presents with complaints of sore throat, headache, sore stomach, and a fever above 100 degrees. A standard throat culture revealed a positive result for group A streptococcal infection, and I wrote out a prescription for the standard 80 mg/kg/day amoxicillan treatment for a seven year old child. All you need to do is sign the prescription, although since I did do your entire job for you, I’m going to have to ask that you also make with the fucking morphine.
They should totally have a fast lane for parents with three or more children. They’ve seen it all, why the fuck do they need to sit in a waiting room all day with a bunch of pediatric disease noobs? Just put a couple of medical stations near the front desk with a blank prescription pad, and let the real pros take over.
Pharmacist: I don’t think I’ve ever seen pharmaceutical cocaine prescribed for dermatitis before.
Me: Shut the fuck up, pill-jockey. Maybe if you’d actually finished med school, someone would want to hear what you have to say.
Now before everyone gets on my case for making fun of pharmacists, please be aware that I don’t care. Yes, they’re trained professionals. And yes, they went through years of rigorous medical training. It’s just that they can be replaced by pill dispensing robots. That’s all I’m saying. Just make sure that the robots are set to “Save Humanity” and not “Destroy Humanity”. Destroying humanity is the role of the insurance companies.
Back to my kids: They responded really well to their treatment and even began a rousing game of “Push each other violently while running up and down the stairs” while I sat weakly on the couch, croaking parental advice which was clearly not audible above the sound of their skulls slamming against the floor. Luckily, as a father of three, I know how to treat concussions as well:
Me: Middle-aged male shows symptoms of having three children. Recommend 12 fluid ounces of beer, taken orally 10 to 20 times a day.