Wednesday, February 23, 2011

How High's The Water, Mama?

Five feet high and rising.

Noooooo. Puh-leeeeze. I wouldn't pretend to falsify our situation in a self-serving attempt to garner sympathy. I do have SOME standards. 

It's actually $296.21 for last month. And after a quick, panic-derived call to the water company, sweet, sweet Annette assured us that this month's bill is substantially more impressive. Even my dear friend and poet of humanity, Johnny Cash, couldn't, I dare say wouldn't, draft prose around such horrifying possibilities. But here it is. In black (like The Man In Black himself) and white invoice form. 

We can make it to the road in a homemade boat

That's if we could get these checks to float
But Annette don't care if our children have no coats, 

Five feet high and risin'

How high's the fever, Papa? 

104.5 and rising.

I remember when Abby, the five-year-old, was an infant. Her pediatrician reminded me, "Anything under 100.4 is a safe and acceptable fever in a child. This helps to fight off infection, and arms the body with yet another tool to rid us the things that make us sick." So, what does 105 do, doc? (As the anxiety-stricken layman rounds up, of course.) Her loving father, in an attempt to help, lay awake in bed and utters, "That's probably frying her brain. You know that, right?"

Well, the hives are gone,
I've lost my bees
She's gotta fever that's makin' her wheeze
Daddy's diagnosis earns him a PhD
104.5 and risin'

How bad's the ulcer, Papa? 

Two Pepcid per hour and rising.

Poor, papa. He loves his children with a unique devotion and tenderness that I have had the privilege to witness beginning the day our oldest was born. And, as much as it pains me to see him worry, I'd be lying if I told you I didn't find his tendency toward catastrophic thinking endearing -- I'd even go so far as to say amusing.

"Fry her brain? Um. Seriously?"

"Beth, I remember being a kid." (Good to know his memories include childhood. Excellent preamble, counselor.) "I'm pretty sure we're supposed to put her in the bathtub with ice water or something. I think that's what my parents did, anyway. Besides, it's not unrealistic to think her brain cells are dying off right now."

I refrained from commentary such as, "Riiiiiiiiight. I think perhaps your parents waited too long to get you in ice water."

In humility, the following morning, I discovered he had actually woken up nearly every hour to monitor her temp. Despite his sagging lids and red eyes, the relief on his face was transparent as he announced, "She's down to 100.4!" Good job, papa.

Hey, come look through the window pane,
The bus is comin', gonna take us to the train
Her temp is down and papa's gut is feelin' no pain,
Spirits are high and risin'


  1. S got up to 105.7 once, with febrile seizures. No sleep til Brooklyn with that one.

  2. Can't think of any constructive criticism. Just so proud to read about my competent son-in-law and creative daughter. Mom


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