So! Today is one of our much-anticipated spiritual retreat days. From nine to five, we spend time with others of our tradition, sharing ritual, discussion, and presentations or workshops on different topics pertinent to our practice.
And as I am publishing this at three in the afternoon, you can see that I am not there. Nor is HRH. We’re at home in quarantine, with a little boy who has scarlet fever.
I know, I know. Like mother, like son, I suppose. Fashionably retro.
Yesterday was a ped day, and he and I meandered over to the bookstore as we’d planned. He was awfully quiet, and chose to go lie down on his bed of his own accord before we left. I knew he wasn’t feeling great, but assumed it was the cold both he and I have been fighting all week. He had a low-grade fever but nothing serious, and didn’t have much of an appetite. He did fall asleep while watching a movie and had a two-hour nap, but that didn’t surprise me; the cold had been running him down quite a bit. Then last night after dinner he undressed for his bath and HRH called me in to look at the sandpapery, goosebumpy rash all over his body. “That’s scarlet fever,” I said. (Trust me; I know.) And by the time he went to bed the rash was beginning to deepen into the flushed pink colour that gives the illness its name.
I called our local source of all information — his preschool teacher! — and got the address of the best local clinic to visit. (My first choice is always my own GP, but she doesn’t work weekends.) We considered leaving it till Sunday morning, but decided it would be better to hit it early. His fever wasn’t high, and once the rash breaks out it doesn’t get really worse; long-term complications can arise if it’s not treated at all, but this was only a day in one direction or another. However, we realised that the sooner he got antibiotics, the sooner he could go back to school. The decision to hit the clinic sooner rather than later was also influenced by the insane wait times out here. The general GP shortage in our province seems to be particularly bad in this zone, so there are lots of clinics and they’re always full. If we got out in reasonable time, we thought, we could take the boy to his grandparents as planned, and get to the retreat late.
We were there at 7:30 when the doors were unlocked, along with a small crowd of other people; the doctors arrived at 8:00 and started processing patients; we were home by 11:00 with a few bottles of amoxicillin (oh, the unpleasant childhood memories resurrected by that banana smell). And we also all had a 48-hour quarantine, because the boy would still be infectious, and HRH and I needed 48 hours to ensure we weren’t incubating it ourselves. No contact with children or pregnant women for any of us, we were told. And that’s what clinched things, because one of the attendees at the retreat is pregnant.
So we’re at home today. We’ve declared it a TV day, and watched the last quarter of Avatar season 2 all in a row. I’ve baked chocolate cake; we’ve had popcorn. We’re making the best of not being able to attend the retreat (always frustrating, but especially so when you’re the one who organised it) or spend the day with Grandma and Papa. We can’t go to the concert we were planning on attending tomorrow afternoon, either, because all the performers are children, which has disappointed us dreadfully.
The clinic was terrific, though: great atmosphere and people, and the boy was cheerful and entertained himself with books and crayons. He got a purple mask to wear over his nose and mouth because he had a fever and cough, and he has decided to keep it forever and ever. It’s reassuring to know we have a really good clinic so close to us.
We’re making the best of things. He’ll be at home with me on Monday but back at school on Tuesday, and thank goodness, because I’m on my last week before deadline with the repurposing project and need all the time I can get. He says he quite likes the banana taste of the amoxicillin (better you than me, kid) and that’s good, too, because we’ve got four bottles of it in the fridge and another nine and a half days ahead of him taking it. Good thing we don’t burn toys and clothing after scarlet fever like they used to, because we bought a new tiny stuffed owl at the bookstore yesterday, too.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a cake to ice and an icing spoon to hand to the boy afterwards.