You have to hand it to two year olds (because they’ll tantrum if you don’t): they have conviction. The passion they put into every issue is astounding. If we could harness it, we would have enough renewable energy to power Europe, or Los Angeles.
My two year old is named Zaida. I picked that name because it means peacemaker. Pregnant with my fourth and final baby, I thought “boy, I could use one of those.” I am hoping she will grow into it because so far, it is more like our house got struck by lightning.
Sunday morning. I noticed Zaida was not her usual sprightly self. Long story short, I ended up taking her to the ER Monday night because she was so dehydrated and weak. They determined she had been hit with RSV and a nasty stomach flu. Let me say at the beginning, my mother’s heart overflowed with compassion for my poor suffering daughter. That clarified, I’ll be blunt. The ER didn’t know what hit them: hell hath no fury like my Zaida.
They had to hook her to an IV. Three of us held her and still she managed to get an arm loose and tear at the needle. Four of us held her and they had to triple bandage it onto her. Next came the oral medication. I tried to tell them. The nurse said she could get medicine down anyone. That sweet, persistent nurse tried to sooth the savage beast that was my daughter. No avail. She tried to reason with Z. Has anyone ever reasoned with a tantruming two year old? I imagine Iranian prisoner negotiations to be less formidable. Then she tried force. Mere seconds later, as we both wiped Ibuprofen off our red faces, the nurse left the room.
This nurse was amazing. You might think a face off with a two year old could turn into a power struggle, but I really think she was just driven to do her job…she brought in the big guns. By guns, I mean a white inch-and-a-half capsule. “We’ll just go in the other way,” she announced. “Please tell me she means her ear,” I thought, “Zaida is not going to tolerate this.”
As instructed I scooped up my languid but cantankerous little girl and held her close over my shoulder so the nurse could do the deed. I expected her to throw the Armageddon of conniptions to end all tantrums. I think I would have preferred that. I know the nurse would have. Instead, Zaida seemed resigned to her fate as the nurse removed her diaper, took a quick rectal temp and administered the ivory bullet. I cringed, waiting to hear Zaida scream, but it was the nurse who cried out in horror as I felt the ominous sensation of warm liquid running down my arm. It was bio-warfare. Zaida had exploded and splattered the nurse with dia…umm…shrapnel. It was like a south-end reenactment from The Excorcist. The nurse was speechless and just stood there petrified for a second before declaring she had never in all her days seen a suppository shoot back out. Zaida even had the marksmanship to hit the nurse with the actual pill! I was at a loss for words. What would Miss Manners say proper etiquette is when your child bottom-blasts a medical professional? Despite the grotesque horror of the moment, I wondered if we would still be billed $72.50 for the unused white pill on the floor.
Zaida was in that little cubicle for another 7 hours after that. IV drips. Chest X-rays. Consultations. But the nurse never tried to administer anymore pills–oral or otherwise–again. She kept spraying Lysol over the curtain at us and I could hear her tell her war story to the other nurses and staff that passed in the hallway. “Glad it was you and not me.” “You have got to be kidding” “burn those scrubs” and a few dry heaves were enough to convince me we should start tipping our nurses. Before check-out, she took Z’s temperature one last time…under the armpit. The nurse had the rectitude (no pun intended) to acknowledge Zaida’s spirit.
So Zaida is home now. She is recovering slowly. Still volatile and opinionated. Grandma has dubbed her with the nickname “Buckshot.” I fear that may stick. On the bright side, just imagine what Zaida could be one day if she retains that tenacity…Donald Trump’s apprentice, the dictator of a small country, or maybe a lunch lady.
God bless nurses.