Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Shake it up, just like bad medicine

My apologies to Bon Jovi....

"Shake it up, just like bad medicine"
(originally published March 6, 2007)

Giving a sick baby medicine is like trying to wrestle a rabid cougar, especially if said cougar is covered in snot.

“Did you shake it?” my husband asked me for about the eleventh time.

I opened the medicine bottle and replied “yes” through gritted teeth since I had already answered that same question at least ten times. “I shook it. I read the directions too, you know.” I bent close to the kitchen counter and carefully began to siphon the gooey antibiotic into the small plastic syringe.

“Wait a sec,” I said, looking a little more carefully at the syringe. I held it up to eye level to get a better look at the black lines marked along its shaft.

“This thing measures in milliliters, but the medicine label calls for 4 cc’s. What the heck is a ‘cc’?”
My husband, the one who majored in pre-medicine, quickly responded, “It stands for cubic centimeter.”

“So?” I asked.

“So what?” he replied.

“So how many cubic centimeters are in a milliliter?” I asked.

“Uh, I have absolutely no idea,” Mr. Smarty Pants said. “I didn’t know we’d have to do math.”

“Didn’t you minor in chemistry?” I asked.

“Didn’t you graduate magma coon latte or something?” he snarked back at me.

“It’s magna cum laude, and, yes, I did,” I answered, “but I worked very hard to avoid chemistry classes in college because the only thing I learned in my high school chemistry class was how to use the fire extinguisher on my lab partner.”

Some wounds, you know, never heal.

“Oh, well,” I said, filling the syringe up to the top, “this outta be close enough.” I turned to look around the room and said, “Where’s the Little Big Guy?”

Judging by the sound my husband made in response, one would think I’d just vowed to send our son to live with wolves. Or Britney Spears.

“WHAT?!” he screamed, lunging for the syringe. “You can’t do that!”

Apparently the “Let’s just wing it” approach that had gotten us through the past two years of childrearing wasn’t the way to go this time.

Apparently he was a stickler about proper medicinal dosage. Apparently he was concerned about poisoning our only child. Apparently he was afraid he’d married Dr. Kevorkian by mistake.


However, I sighed, he was right. So we played a rather heated game of paper/rock/scissors to determine who would call the local pharmacist to ask how to convert the dosage.

My husband wasn’t thrilled when I also asked the pharmacist, “And just how many cc’s are in a shot of tequila? Because I have a feeling that’ll be important later.”

The first dose ended up splattered across the front of my shirt when our son turned his head at the very last second and knocked the syringe from my hand using – what I swear – was the “wax on, wax off” defense method from “Karate Kid.”

The second dose landed on the dog who mistakenly thought it was gravy and licked up half of it before I could stop her.

The third dose went up my husband’s nose when he leaned over at the precise moment our son threw his body into a jackknife position and hurled himself off the couch.

The Allied forces had better luck storming the beaches at Normandy.

“OK, here’s what we do!” I yelled at my husband, screaming over our son’s high-pitched wails as I struggled to maintain a vise-like grip on the squirmy little bugger. “I’ll hold him down and when he opens his mouth to scream, you jam the syringe in there!”

My husband, a little shell-shocked from the earlier attempts, just stood there. A small sliver of drool appeared at one corner of his mouth. Fear etched across his face. His hands shook a little. I was about to lose him.

“We can do this!” I yelled at him. “We are the grown-ups here! We can’t let him win!”

With a deep breath, my husband pumped his fists and yelled, “OK! Let’s do it!”
And five seconds later, it was all over.

“So how much longer does he need to take this stuff?” my husband asked as our son ran from the room like his diaper was on fire.

I capped the bottle, put it back in the fridge and said, “Just ten more days.”
“God help us,” he replied. “Where’s that tequila?”

You can e-mail Kelley Baldwin at life-like-mine@hotmail.com.

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