But sophomore baseball tryouts began last Monday and all thoughts of mortal weakness were necessarily banished in pursuit of a place on the team. As responsible parents are wont to do, Long Suffering Spouse and I had been gently suggesting a visit to the doctor for some time now. I even tried logic: You want to be in the best possible shape for tryouts. Get whatever medicine you need; get better; don't let all your hard work this winter be wasted because you were too stubborn to take care of yourself.
I don't know why I bother with this logic stuff anyway. Let's face it: The closer we got to the tryout, the more anxious and hostile Youngest Son became. It's just the way it works: Eighty kids try out for freshman baseball and the numbers are cut to 25 or so. Those 25, maybe a transfer or two (we have a good one this year, Youngest Son tells me), and at least some of the 50+ kids cut last year were trying to squeeze into 18 places on the sophomore team. No "B" team this year.
It's not as if I haven't been through this with Youngest Son's brothers. It's just... well, the wheezing, coughing, and congestion was getting on my nerves.
But it would soon get worse.
Monday, March 2 (Casimir Pulaski Day in Illinois) was pretty darn cold here. Still the sophomore wannabes took infield on the parking lot. Balls can take truly dangerous hops on the lip of a parking lot pothole. And Youngest Son reported that it really started to snow when he was supposed to catch fly balls.
The kids were out in this, and not in parkas either, for a good 90 minutes or two hours. This did not help Youngest Son's cold one little bit. But it didn't stop him from showing up for practice Tuesday. Nothing would.
About 1:00am I was awakened by a noise. Imagine, if you can, a scream from someone who can't get any air into or out of his lungs. EEEEHHHHH! EEEEHHHH! Youngest Son staggered into the den making this unearthly noise and Long Suffering Spouse and I both jumped.
"He's not breathing!" one of us shouted. (Both of us?) I screamed that I'd call 911 -- but Long Suffering Spouse said not yet! and she began pounding Youngest Son's back.
Somehow she got him over to the chair I'd just vacated and, eventually, she got him to cough up the obstruction... and everything else. (Gosh, I hope you're not reading this over breakfast!)
The kid had been asleep basically this whole time. Judging from the lights turned on, it looks like he'd made it to the upstairs bathroom, then started searching for us. Only now, now that his airway was clear, did he wake up. He was confused.
Long Suffering Spouse and I were scared to death.
We got him back to bed eventually. We didn't sleep so well thereafter.
Long Suffering Spouse figured the kid was dehydrated in addition to everything else and she likened the noise he made to one made by someone with croup. So we poured water into him Wednesday night, after tryouts, and put a humidifier in his room.
He went to bed early... and so did we.
Youngest Son didn't really 'come to' until he was seated in the bathroom, after his mother had done her magic. She'd turned the shower on full bore and he remembers the steam.
We can't keep doing this, we told him. You have to get to the doctor.
But I can't miss school, he pleaded. It's not the love of academics that motivated him... sadly... it was the fact that he couldn't show up for baseball tryouts without first showing up for class.
But he and Long Suffering Spouse compared schedules and figured the least damage to their respective schedules would be done if she took him to the doctor first thing Thursday morning. Ultimately, it worked out for the best: He went to the local immediate care center. The doctor -- a stranger to us -- minimized the whole thing. "No problem," he said, "no danger; the boy is strong."
He was not in our house on Tuesday or Wednesday night.
At least the doctor provided the necessary antibiotics and decongestants and expectorants: The Zombie Child did not return on Thursday night.