Flu test

Darcy Jones, a physician’s assistant at the CHI Health Quick Care center near 156th Street and West Maple Road, swabs the nose of Ainsley Devoe, 7, as part of an influenza test. Ainsley was at the center with her mother Megan Devoe and sister Leah, 4. Ainsley tested positive for the flu.

Ah, it’s once again lovely cold and flu season.

It seems like only yesterday we were gathering around our humidifiers with vats of Tylenol and pallets of Kleenex, singing the carols of "Where is that thermometer?" and "Do you want some soup?"

Now it’s here again. Fa-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-ugh.

There are two people in my house with confirmed Influenza A. I am surrounded by the joy of it; surrounded like I’m the center of an enormously viral germ sandwich that is not at all delicious.

So, in honor of this festive occasion, I thought I would rank my five "very favorite" things about this season.

1. Force-feed a sick child bad-tasting medicine.

Trying to get a kid to take medicine is always a challenge — even when they’re feeling fine and the medicine tastes like bubble gum. But when they have a high fever, a hardcore case of the body-aching whines and they must take Tamiflu (which both the doctor and the pharmacist warned me tastes disgusting), it is next-level difficult. I mean, you’d think the lethargy would up the chances at getting it in there, right? I kind of assumed my little munchkin wouldn’t be able to put up much of a fight.

Wrong.

With the strength of Thor, my 3-year-old — who had a 103-degree fever — rose up from her blankets, casting them aside to tightly cover her mouth with both hands and fiercely shake her head. I tried to squirt it in between her defending hands, but that just got Tamiflu in her hair. I had to pin her, hold her hands down with my elbow and forearm like it was some kind of MMA maneuver, shoot the medicine in her squalling mouth and then blow on her face to get her to swallow. All while she was crying and looking at me like I’d just confessed to murdering Peppa Pig.

Freaking awesome.

2. Convincing a sick child — a.k.a. lying — that it won’t hurt when they shove a stick up her nose and swirl it around.

Because yeah, it totally will hurt, kid. It’s the worst. It makes your eyes water for the rest of your life, and it feels like they poked your brain. Anything a parent can say to make their child OK about the Influenza test — well, it’s a bold-faced lie.

3. Following a sick toddler around with tissues and saying “blow.”

They aren’t babies anymore, so it shouldn’t be difficult. But the thing is, little kids are terrible at this. No matter how you arrange the tissue — whether you layer in a fanned-out formation or double up the mass — something warm and gooey will be deposited on your hand when all is said and done.

It just will.

4. Climbing into bed not knowing whether or not you will be awakened in a few hours by a crying child who is lying in a chunky pool of their own stinky vomit.

Gastrointestinal issues do not always accompany Influenza, but apparently my child is an overachiever because she’s rocking all the symptoms. For three nights in a row, the sound of her releasing all of her digested foods was like a horrific alarm clock, waking me from a sound sleep and thrusting me directly into the war zone that was her bedroom.

5. The pungent tang of Lysol.

It decks our halls. Coincidentally, it’s my new perfume.

I can’t take much more of this seasonal joy.

***

Lynn Kirkle is a writer and lives in Omaha with her husband and five children. She writes twice a month for momaha.com, and can be found on Twitter @LAPainter.

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