The whole family had been sick that week. Zee had started it the previous weekend, and by the time Tuesday came around, we were all down with it. I was in Johannesburg for work, feeling awful, curled up on a hotel bed. Miki was in Cape Town, also feeling terrible and having to look after all the kids. Ryder and Kai both had temperatures, and didn’t look good at all.
Miki took Ryder and Kai to the doctor downstairs. Miki was quite unhappy with the brief, cursory examination and prescription the doctor had given both kids. The doctor’s visit, followed by the trip to the pharmacy for the medication had exhausted her.
I was worried about Miki. When winter rolls in, her chest usually gets really bad. If she gets a full-blown chest infection, it usually triggers an acute asthma attack, and then we’re in serious trouble. Being so far away from the family was nerve-wracking and I was quite anxious.
On Thursday, as I waited for my flight back to Cape Town, Miki called Brandon for some Prednisone. Her chest was getting worse and the doctor downstairs was being difficult, refusing to prescribe the medication over the phone directly to the pharmacist; something she’d done previously, and given Miki’s history, something she should’ve been more than willing to do.
When I eventually arrived home, Miki was in a bad state: audible wheezes; use of ancillary muscles; and talking in words. She was having an acute asthma attack. Fortunately, after about half an hour, her symptoms resolved, and we didn’t have to go to the ER for further treatment. But, it was serious.
We cancelled her session with Simona for the following Friday morning, and scheduled a visit to our normal GP for 10:00. It’s quite a long drive, but she has a full history on Miki, and knows just how badly things can go if her chest is left untreated, or mistreated. Her examination indicated that Miki did have a chest infection – her lungs sounded very wet – and two sets of antibiotics were prescribed, in conjunction with ten full days worth of Prednisone. It was serious, and it needed to be taken seriously and treated quickly and aggressively.
I spent the rest of the day picking up the medication and buying groceries for the family. I was exhausted by the time 17:00 came around and it was time to settle to Kai for the evening. I crawled into bed with Kai after his bath and made him comfortable, breathing a sigh of relief for myself. Day survived: wife and kids were medicated, and were being monitored.
“Can I go out tonight?” 7’teen asked, loading up her arms with various outfits from the cupboard.
“What? Where did you come from?” I asked while Kai nuzzled his way through his evening milk bottle.
“I’ve been stuck inside all week with the kids, I want to go out tonight.”
“Are you nuts? You’ve been sick all week. You have a chest infection. You definitely can’t go out tonight.” I replied, astounded she’d even thought about it.
“I feel fine now. I’m tired of being inside with the kids. I want to go out, tonight.”
“Absolutely not.” I replied firmly, matter closed in my mind.
“Fuck you.” She shouted at me as she slammed the bedroom door closed.
Five minutes later, she pushed open the bedroom door, strutted in and tried again. “So, can I go out tonight, or what? I’ll dress warmly.”
I tried to reason with her. “7’teen, you’re sick, the kids are sick. I need you to stay inside so that you don’t get any worse. And, what happens if Kai gets worse during the evening, and I need to take him to the ER? If you’re here, I just drive him up the road without having to worry about Zee and Ryder.”
“Yeah, well, I would’ve done it by myself if I needed to during the week. So, you can do it by yourself if you need to tonight. I want to go out. Besides, we’re only going to the movies; it’s inside, there’s no smoking. I’ll be fine.”
7’teen often surprises me, but that evening her selfishness astonished me. She didn’t want to listen to anything I had to say – she only wanted out.
“Absolutely not.” I repeated as firmly and calmly as I could. “Anything could happen this evening and I need you here to help if it does. That’s final.”
“Fuck you.” The door slammed again. 7’teen was in fine form.
I briefly considered getting up and locking the front security gate, and keeping the keys in the room with me. But, I dismissed that idea – she wanted to be an adult, I’d treat her like one, and just hope she did the right thing.