As a diagnostician, the nurse at Ten's elementary school leaves something to be desired. She's the one who sent home half the school in The Great Head Lice Scare of 2008, mistaking "fuzzies" from winter hats for gnarly nits. She's the one who told my son, after he'd become ill at school, that he might have the flu, which, by the way, had killed a few children in a neighboring state within the past week.
And she's the one who believed the Stomachache Kid and made me cancel an MRI. True story.
A specialist sent me for an MRI, and after I waited more than a week for the insurance permissions and the appointment and all of that, I was finally on my way to the imaging center. Then my cell phone rang. When I saw that it was Ten's school calling, I pulled into a nearby parking lot and answered the phone.
The nurse told me that Ten had a stomachache and needed to come home. I explained where I was and said that I would try to get someone to pick him up. But Twenty, who was home for spring break that week, was not answering the house phone or his cell phone. And my neighbor, who's always home, wasn't.
It was just as well that my neighbor wasn't there; I hate to foist a child who might possibly have a stomach virus on someone else. As Marcie Dahlgren-Frost says in Uncle Buck, "You need a relative for an imposition of this size."
I was just around the corner from the imaging center, so I walked up to the appointment desk and explained my situation. Fortunately, they were very understanding and gave me a new appointment for the next week.
Then I jumped back into my car and broke the land-speed record as I headed across the county to Ten's school. I was there within twenty minutes of the first phone call. Once in the door, I entered the nurse's office, only to hear her say, "So, did you get your MRI?"
And after all that, the Stomachache Kid wasn't even sick. He's got the nurse's number, it seems, and he brings on the puppy-dog eyes and all the rest of his dramatic talent when he's had enough of school for the day. I spent the rest of that afternoon keeping him from playing backyard soccer and Nerf basketball in the family room--because that's not what you get to do when you've come home sick from school.
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