Now that The Admiral has safely returned from the wilds of Amsterdam and the well-mannered alcoves of London, I can report on Single Mom Week '07. For eight days, Miss M and I survived on our own, sustained only by popcorn, gracious friends, and the wonders of Netflix.
Of course, the morning after The Admiral left, Miss M woke up with her first fever in ... well, ever. She used to run a little hot for 12 hours or so when she was teething, but this was her first real whiz-bang of a fever. And it hit her pretty hard. She was groggy and restless and had a non-existent appetite, which just made her groggier and restlesser. It seemed to be the exact same virus that had hit pretty much every other child at her school, so I didn't panic and I let the temperature run its course as much as I could, but her nights were such misery that I finally bowed to the Great Goddess Motrin. She spent all weekend wadded up on the couch (either ours or Castilo Sassy-Urf!'s, where I spent the majority of Saturday and Sunday practicing my role as Lazy Extra Wife), and I ended up sacrificing my one day off and kept her home from school on Monday. She was bouncing on the bed by Monday evening, so I decided she could survive at school the next day.
Which is when my fever hit. I was in denial all day Tuesday, but when Miss M threw up her free hot dog all over the table at McAlister's, it suddenly dawned on me that I wasn't feeling so hot, either. Or rather, that I was. My eyelids were burning and my hair hurt, always the first two signs that I have a fever. I checked my temp when we got home and it was up over 101. I sighed the sigh of the pitiful and put both Miss M and me to bed.
What followed was quite possibly the worst night of Miss M's life. Worse than the newborn days, worse than her 6-hour ear infection, worse than the post-traumatic stress disorder induced by her first 4th of July. She crawled into my bed around midnight and for every half hour after that, she woke up whimpering, screeching, flailing and punching me square in the face. She demanded water. She yelled that I was in her spot. She kicked the blankets off of my shivering body. It was, in a word, wretched.
I haven't taken a sick day since I took over at the store, but as I sat huddled behind the counter the next day, quivering in a shirt, sweater and Army jacket while customers breezed in wearing t-shirts, I knew I needed to go home. I crawled into bed and didn't emerge until 4 hours later when it was time to get Miss M from school. And then, in a move rivaling the sum of charitable acts completed by Oprah and Mother Teresa combined, the Sassy-Urfs invited us over for dinner. Theoretical dinner, anyway. I mostly just moaned and rubbed my baby-achey ribs while Miss M was entertained by the Castilo crew for a couple hours, which was more sustenance than any food could have been.
I was significantly recovered the next day, but still nowhere near 100%. But thanks to the timely arrival of The Rescuers, the rest of our week was pretty much taken care of. We infringed on the Castilo one more time on Friday night, as our ever-generous hosts invited us to feast on Domino's and heal my psyche with the magical powers of The Commitments (apparently Netflix was out of the first season of Big Love).
Miss M seemed to slide back down into the depths of disease a bit, though, and as we tried to enjoy the springy weather at Lichterman Nature Center on Saturday afternoon, she was in full cling-on mode. I tried breathing deep and counting the hours until The Admiral's return. That worked until I checked his flight status and saw that he was delayed almost 3 hours. Two viewings of The Rescuers later, Miss M was nearly comatose, so her daddy's triumphant return was marked mostly by her refusal to look him in the eye. Although after spending a week in Europe while his family withered away in Memphis, I think The Admiral may have had a rough time making eye contact, too.