The Upside of Quarantine

The annual Johnson family week of sickness has arrived. A bit ahead of schedule, if my untrusty memory is to be believed. This year’s week o’ fun began innocently enough with a benign runny nose and occasional cough.

And, before you could say ‘conjunctivitis’…we started dropping like flies. Put it this way, I made the rather long journey to the boys’ doctor twice….in the same week. During our second visit, the supernice doctor took a pitying glance at me. ‘Do you want me to write you a prescription?’ Because my eye looked far worse than either of my boys’. And I’d already spent the bulk of the morning wondering how on earth I was going to get an appointment with my book-online-only-with-a-password-and-username-I’ve-long-forgotten doctor.

‘I could add you as a patient,’ he offered. And it was perhaps the nicest thing anyone could have done for for me, the one with the scarily puffy red eye.

Despite my vigorous hand-washing, there was no way to avoid the puff. After all, I’d been sleeping with the enemy (read: the original culprit) most of the week. The one who clenches his eyes so tight, two adults can’t even pry them open to apply the ridiculous viscous eye drops the supernice doctor insists on prescribing.

‘You need to make a pocket with his eye,’ our healer explained when I voiced concern that I wasn’t actually getting any of the medication in our young lad’s eye.

A pocket? With his eye?

‘You have [small] children, right?’ I felt compelled to remind him. I’d wager good money he’s never tried to make a ‘pocket’ with his four-months-older-than-Percy son’s eye.

So we left the office with two additional prescriptions for viscous eye drops.

And we went to Shopper’s Drug to refill said prescriptions. It’s possibly all in my imagination, but I couldn’t help but feel judged (pitied?) by the pharmacist. Us, a band of ragamuffins with gross eyes, standing apologetically in front of her. All with prescriptions for the same medicine.

While waiting for the drops, I picked up some essentials for our afternoon of isolation: blue nailpolish, Lindt chocolate (on sale for 79 cents….instead of almost-six-dollars) and candy corn  – ostensibly to placate those whose eyes must be ‘pocketed’.

But truthfully, I fully intended to eat at least half of the corn-syrup-laden-triangles. Along with cheese puffs, they’re my ‘eat-once-a-year-and-tell-no-one’ little secret.

As ‘luck’ would have it, this also happens to be the week that the boys got most of their toys taken away as punishment for refusing to clean up the basement after a two-day-long-playfest. And they also lost the privilege of watching any movies following one evening of over-the-top fighting after they were supposed to be in bed and asleep.

Thus, I was unsure how the troops were going to entertain themselves when we got home. Because I was ‘under deadline’ to read a library book that was two days overdue.

So the boys made a pinata from a Tim Horton’s Timbits box. And filled it with popcorn. And they made a fort from blankets and table legs. And they drew maps and wrote bizarre notes. And they rode down the stairs on pillows.

While I gave myself a pedicure and blitzed through my book.


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