Tuesday, December 29, 2009

In which Luki carries on a family tradition

I come from a really healthy, long-lasting family. My great-aunt died a couple of months ago at the ripe old age of 102. My grandma is in her late eighties and still has the hand-eye coordination to put on a full face of make-up every morning. My dad only lived to 53, but that was a stupid accident; he was in better shape than most 35 year olds. And my mom -- she eats sugar in the raw by the cupful and gets an A+ on her blood work every time she goes to the doctor.

I say all this to say: I have some quality, Grade A genes.

And then I married a diabetic.

What can I say? Some women marry into money or property, or a family business; I married into chronic (albeit controlled) illness.

Still, as healthy as my side of the family may be, we still get the sporadic cold or flu. And it is a long standing, time honored tradition for the Jardines clan to get sick only during the most special of occasions.

When I was a kid, I would always break into a fever half an hour before heading out to a birthday party. It's like I literally made myself ill with excitement. My parents were the same way -- their defenses always shutting down hours before a big vacation or the giant dinner parties they were known for hosting.

Getting sick on a random Tuesday and watching talk shows all day? Absolutely out of the question.

So I wasn't even a little bit surprised when Luki got his first cold on Christmas Eve. "He's just really excited about baby Jesus' birthday," I thought.

Poor Luki, he was miserable throughout the entire holiday, coughing uncontrollably and then getting really mad at the phlegm that was lodged in the back of his throat. He kept making this really angry face that was all -- I'M JUST TRYING TO CHILL AND SUCK ON MY TOES, WHAT IS THIS AWFUL THING THAT KEEPS HAPPENING TO ME?? -- every time his lungs tried to make their way up his trachea.

When I offered him some boob and he turned his face away, I knew something was REALLY wrong. Because boob and crack are synonymous to my kid, and we haven't been able to afford to send him to rehab.

I took him to the doctor, and she explained that he wasn't eating because his nose was full of mucus, making it impossible for him to suck and breathe at the same time. It was my job to vacuum his nostrils with an aspirator three times a day.

Disgusting yet endearing side note: My mom says that in Cuba they didn't have aspirators, so my dad would suck the buggers out of my nose with his mouth. Gross! But also, wow, he loved me enough to eat my snot!

All it took was one look at the device I was going to insert in his little nose, and Luki started to scream and flail his limbs like a crazy person. However, after being restrained by his dad and grandma, I was able to clear out his nasal passageway making it possible for him to breathe again. He is feeling much better now, thanks for asking.

So, what did I learn from this experience?

1. To thank my lucky stars I now live in a country where aspirators are a dime a dozen.


2. To never underestimate the ability to blow my own nose.

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