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Smell the Coffee: Spring fever

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- I've been calling it bad luck, but my daughter claims she's just efficient. Rather than get a few colds and flu bugs every year, Celeste says she saved up and got them all at once instead.

My girl has been through the wringer these past few weeks. The first bug landed her with a prescription for antibiotics, and then a reaction to those antibiotics turned her into a living connect-the-dots game. Next came an ear infection and strep throat.

The worst part of it, according to her, has been that we don't have cable. To entertain herself all these days, some creativity has been required. This is how she came to know how many Oreos wide our cat happens to be. (I'll spare him the shame of sharing the exact number, but more than one sleeve of Oreos was required.)

Although Celeste has been remarkably, blessedly healthy most of her life, she still would catch the occasional cold. Just nothing like this, with one hitting right after the last. That's always been more my specialty, along with an assortment of random injuries generally caused by my lack of coordination and paired with my penchant for being easily distracted.

When cleaning out the medicine cabinet the other day, I found splints, slings, a large assortment of Ace bandages, an eye patch and a medical boot. The need for each of those items had been necessitated, at one time or another, by my clumsiness.

In that cabinet was an equally impressive assortment of over-the-counter and prescription medications, as I'm no more adept at dodging germs than anything else in my path. The assortment of medications was extensive, but, as is always the case, it failed to include the single item that was desperately needed at 2 a.m. In this case, it was Benadryl -- something I have seldom used, but always stocked. Until then.

My hunt was desperate, with boxes being dumped and pillaged as I searched frantically for even a single loose capsule to slow the reaction that was causing my offspring to turn into a leopard right before my eyes. Luck was not with me, and a middle-of-the-night trip to Kroger was required.

Even so, the March of the Spots didn't stop. And thanks to the Benadryl, neither did her jaws. While most get drowsy from Benadryl, Celeste gets hyper. Fortunately, even when she's sick, she's still one of the funniest people I've ever met, so listening to a many-hours-long monologue was still entertaining. Even after she finally fell asleep, I could still hear her voice in my head.

There was a five-day break between ailments before symptoms for the next bug began to appear. By "symptoms," I mainly mean she moved back into my bed. Apparently, there are few places more comfortable when sick than Mom's bed. She's nearly 16 now, so I cherish those rare occasions when she'll allow me to snuggle, except in this instance, it was like snuggling with a freshly boiled porcupine. Her legs hadn't seen the sharp side of a razor in weeks.

By noon the next day, she was as sick as I'd ever seen her. It was back-to-the-doctor time, followed by the usual return trip to the pharmacy. We're on a first-name basis now.

And my co-pays and deductibles were beginning to reach the point where I should just go ahead and call them what they're becoming -- a second mortgage.

Reach Karin Fuller via email at karinfuller@gmail.com.


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