About a week ago, The Gremlin came down with strep throat. The sore throat itself was not the biggest ordeal, nor was the rash that came with it. Instead, it was the course of antibiotics.
I am quite confident that if the Gremlin’s life was in danger and she needed an organ transplant to live, she would only agree to do it in the event that we could guarantee it didn’t taste bad and that she could go to Dairy Queen if she agreed to cooperate.
Mrs. Lisakbooks knows this full well, and so she wasted no time in developing a star chart for the Gremlin when she was ordered to take 10-days worth of amoxicillin. At the end of the star chart was a guaranteed trip to Dairy Queen.
In case I have not mentioned this, I am somewhat anti Star Chart. I am a believer that the Gremlin is like a little terrorist, and I am like Harrison Ford in Air Force One, and I prefer not to negotiate with terrorists. Instead, I prefer to identify the three things that I can take away which are most likely to get the terrorist’s attention. Then I execute. This does not always result in a peaceful end, but I believe I usually win.
In any case, the star chart was probably the right answer this time around. The Gremlin made it through 9 of 10 days on this medicine, and then broke out in a rash which I can only describe as a something you could photograph and threaten kids with in the future. Something like: “Jimmy, if you don’t quit hitting your sister you’ll go blind…or if you’re really unlucky you’ll wind up looking like this little girl!”
Mrs. Lisakbooks was out at a doctor’s appointment of her own when this went down. I managed to get a hold of her and she asked me to contact the doctor’s office to see if there were any appointments available so that someone could examine this rash. Know that at this point, we did not yet know what the rash was. I will now provide you with a re-enactment of how this went down. For my own lines, I will insert both the lines I actually said out loud…and those which I thought about and wanted to say, but did not. I will leave it to you to sort out which is which:
Me: Hello Triage nurse. My daughter was just in to see you all for a rash and strep throat, and now she has a brand new rash.
Nurse: Can you describe it?
Me: It’s ugly. And also red…like if you didn’t know her you’d think my kid was just a red kid.
Nurse: Do you think it’s the same as the previous rash?
Me: Do you really think I’d be calling you if I thought that? What the hell is wrong with you? Hold on…I’m getting a beep…I think it’s my wife….
Mrs. Lisakbooks: So did you reach them?
Me: Yes, I am on the line with them now.
Mrs. Lisakbooks: And?
Me: And…I wish you would stop interrupting me.
Me: Are you still there?
Nurse: Yes. So has she eaten anything new over the past day or so?
Me: I have no idea. My wife would know the answer to that. I probably shouldn’t have hung up on her just now…I suspect she’ll be less willing to help me.
Nurse: Okay. How do you think she’d feel about taking a Benadryl pill?
Me: My wife?
Nurse: No, sir. Your daughter.
Me: Oh! I think she would hate having to swallow a pill.
Gremlin (from bathroom): I DON’T WANT TO SWALLOW A PILL!!!
Me: Did you hear that? Can I maybe just bring her in and you guys could put her under and do whatever you have to do?
Gremlin (from bathroom): WHAT DOES IT TASTE LIKE?
Me: What does what taste like?
Nurse: The Benadryl won’t taste like anything, you just swallow it whole.
Me: I know that.
Gremlin: The pill I have to swallow!
Nurse: Does she have any other allergies you are aware of?
Nurse: So she’s not allergic to anything?
Me: No, I’m talking to the Gremlin. I want the Gremlin to know the pill doesn’t taste like anything.
Nurse: Who’s the Gremlin?
Gremlin (from bathroom): DO I HAVE TO?
Me: Do you have to what?
Nurse: Look, I just want to know if she’s allergic to anything…
Me: Wait, I’m getting a beep. It’s probably my wife, and she’s the only one who will know the answer to that.
Nurse: Sir, you should really know…
Mrs. Lisakbooks: Why did you hang up on me before?
Me: I’m trying to talk to the real nurse.
(Moment of silence as I realize I’ve just said something I will regret later).
Mrs. Lisakbooks: So what did she tell you?
Me: Benadryl. Pills. She says she needs Benadryl.
Mrs. Lisakbooks: She’ll never swallow that! How am I supposed to get her to swallow it?
Gremlin (from bathroom): I DON’T WANT TO SWALLOW A PILL!
Me: Be quiet or I’m taking you to the doctor right now!
Mrs. Lisakbooks: Did they say they’d see her?
Me: I haven’t convinced them they should see her yet, and I think the longer this goes on they may become convinced they never want to see any of us again. I have to go.
Mrs. Lisakbooks: Wait, you need to ask…
Nurse (tired): Yes, sir. Did you ask her if your daughter was allergic to anything else?
Gremlin (from bathroom): You still haven’t told me what it tastes like!
Nurse: I ASKED YOU IF SHE’S ALLERGIC TO ANYTHING!
Me: Not you, I’m talking to the Gremlin!
Nurse: Who IS that?
Me: Okay, for the sake of moving the conversation along…let’s suppose she’s not allergic to anything else. If I brought her in, would you guys take a look at her?
Nurse: I kind of think it’s a reaction to the amoxicillin and we really don’t need to see her.
Me: See, I feel like my wife isn’t going to like that answer.
Nurse: You mean the wife you’ve hung up on twice now?
Me: Yes, that’s the one. So she’s already mad…are you sure this is what you need to do?
Nurse: I don’t know until I speak with the doctor, but I suspect you’re in for a long evening regardless.
Me: It’s already been pretty long and I’ve only been on the phone for five minutes.
Gremlin (from bathroom): I asked you WHAT DOES IT TASTE LIKE?
Me: I told you…NOTHING…YOU JUST SWALLOW IT!
Nurse: WHO ARE YOU TALKING TO SIR?
Me: Don’t worry about it…just…look, I’m getting another beep. How about I click over and get the Cliff’s Notes on my daughter’s complete medical history and you go ask the doctor if he’ll see her.
Nurse: The doctor is a she, sir…
Me: Sure…make it about that…
Mrs. Lisakbooks: So how’s it going?
Me: I feel as though I can’t make any progress with these people, and you keep interrupting me.
Gremlin: I’M NOT SWALLOWING A PILL!
Me: If you don’t swallow the pill I swear to God I will take you to the hospital and make them give you every shot there is.
Mrs. Lisakbooks: That wasn’t nice.
Me: Sorry. Did you get the Benadryl, or what?
Mrs. Lisakbooks: Well, I can get that, but I still don’t know how we’re going to get her to swallow it. Did you ask?
Nurse: Yes, sir…I’m here
Me: How do we get this kid to swallow the Benadryl?
Nurse: You can chop it up and put it into ice cream that she’ll swallow. Also, I spoke with the doctor, and SHE said…
Me: That ice cream thing is a great idea. Hang on…
Me: Ice cream.
Nurse: It’s still me, sir.
Me: I can’t believe it! I think she hung up on me!
Nurse: Me neither. Look, sir…the doctor says it’s a reaction to the medicine. Just get her some Benadryl and it should help.
Me: So he doesn’t want to see her?
Nurse: No, sir. SHE does not want to see her.
Me: So we’re still on that. Great. Thanks for your help.
Gremlin: I DON’T WANT TO SWALLOW A PILL. I’LL DRINK THE OTHER MEDICINE.
Me: The other medicine is what gave you this rash. You can’t take it.
Gremlin: So wait…does this mean I don’t get ice cream?
Me: Be quiet…I’m trying to call your mother.
Mrs. Lisakbooks: Hello?
Me: Get her ice cream. Then we crush up the Benadryl and put it in there, and…shit!
Mrs. Lisakboooks: What happened?!
Me: I forgot to ask the nurse whether we stop the amoxicillin.
Mrs. Lisakbooks: Don’t say that word unless the house is on fire or someone’s arm has fallen off. Also, don’t you think that’s kind of a no brainer?
Gremlin: Am I going to get my ice cream?
Me: Only if you take this pill.
Gremlin: But I don’t want to swallow the pill!
Me: I DON’T CARE!
Gremlin: But Mom said that if I finished the other medicine I would get ice cream! Why can’t I just have that?
Me: When you are a high-profile defense attorney will you promise to buy me and your mom a vacation home in Boca?
Gremlin: What’s that?
Me: Hold on, I’m getting a beep.
Gremlin: What are you talking about?
Me: NOT YOU, YOUR MOTHER!
Mrs. Lisakbooks: Why don’t I let you go…
Nurse: Sir, it’s me again. We realized that since she isn’t going to finish her amoxicillin we need to give her some zithromax to finish up on.
Gremlin: WHAT’S THAT? WHAT’S IT TASTE LIKE?
Me: BE QUIET! I’M TALKING!!!
Nurse: Look…we just called it in…just please go pick it up and give it to her.
Gremlin: Can I take it instead of the pill I have to swallow?
Me: NO! BE QUIET!
Nurse: Sir, I have to go…
Me: Ok, thanks.
Me: Are you still there?
Gremlin: Yes, what does it taste like!
Me: Not you, your mother!
Gremlin: But I want to know what it TASTES LIKE!
Me: Just be quiet I have to call your mother back!
Gremlin: Why can’t I just take the pink stuff?
Me: BECAUSE IT IS WHAT GAVE YOU THE RASH IN THE FIRST PLACE!
Gremlin: But how am I going to get my ice cream if I don’t finish it?
As you can probably imagine, this went on for sometime after which I had a shot and a beer. I hope you enjoyed this exchange more than I did…