Sophie has her first ear infection. She got a cold at daycare, then it moved to a weird snotty discharge from her eyes, and now it’s in her ears — we know because she tugs at them a few times a day and looks bewildered. Yesterday at the doctor’s office, her temperature was 102 degrees. The fascinating thing is that Sophie responds quite sweetly to what must be disorienting pain. She just wants to be held all the time. She lifts up her arms and reaches for us, then wraps her little legs around our bodies, and, if we’re lucky, rests her downy head on our shoulder. She’s lethargic & oh-so-cuddly, and that’s just an amazing response to what I assume must be a strange pain, & loss of balance, & terrible discomfort.
It’s not all sweetness, of course. For the past three nights, she’s been waking up sometimes as often as every 20 minutes, and never less than every 3 hours, mostly because it’s hard for her to breathe through her snot-filled nose. But then she cuddles one of us & goes back to sleep, and this is tolerable because I know it’s temporary. At least I hope it’s temporary. Hooray for modern antibiotics. Hooray for Ben’s flexible-enough work-schedule that let him take off work early yesterday in order to get Sophie to the doctor. Hooray for having healthcare. It’s one of those many instances that makes me wonder: what do other people do? Families without healthcare, workers without flextime: that is a huge number of Americans, and it’s scary to think about.