The moment I got in my car, I checked my phone for messages. I wasn’t expecting any, but there were two missed calls and a text message. Of course, when it’s necessary for me to be unavailable for a short time, the school nurse calls. My husband’s text told the tale. My son had a sore throat and was in the nurse’s office. So, I returned the nurse’s call as I put my car in gear to head to the school. He had no fever, but his throat was red and scratchy. I needed to go see for myself and figure out if I needed to take him home or make him tough it out. After my falling out with the PTO, I no longer feel comfortable walking into the office. My instincts tell me it’s best to avoid it.
I’ll tell you that everyone knows me at this school. There were times I was waltzing in there daily to do some chore or another. I was buzzed in to the office. “Can I help you?” asked the woman at the desk.
“My kid is in the Nurse’s office” I replied.
She proceeded to search through a box of cards for my son’s early pickup documentation. “What’s your last name?” she asked.
Huh? My first name is difficult for most people, so everyone called me by my sir name at this school. This woman knows exactly who I am! This year, I was placed on the “allowed to pick up” list for two families of kids. I went in with the mother the first time. Upon the second request, I’m told this very same woman said, “Oh, we know her. That’ll be fine.” Now she wants to know my last name? Whatever. I’m here on a mission.
As she starts to hand me my son’s card, I tell her that the nurse said I could see my son before I made a decision on taking him home or make him finish the last couple of hours of his day. I watch as she grudgingly attempts to retrieve my son from a cot in the nurse’s office. I can hear the nurse as she says, “Oh, no, no. Please send her back. She needs to see him.”
Well, that couldn’t have made this woman very happy. Lady, I got out of high school years ago. And, they let you work around children with this attitude? You have to be kidding me. None too pleased, she tells me I can pass through the sacred door giving me access to my son.
As I go in, I see my son on a comfy cot chatting with a little girl waiting to be seen by the nurse. She looked pretty busy today. ‘Tis the season, I suppose. He looked pretty healthy, until he noticed I was there.
“Hey, buddy. What’s up?”
“My leg hurts… bad.”
“Well, that’s not why the nurse called me. What’s wrong?”
“My head hurts. On top. It really…”
“I thought you had a sore throat? That’s why I was called. What about that?”
“Oh, yeah. My throat hurts.”
Well, now I had my doubts. Was he playing hooky? As I pondered that, the nurse rushed over and introduced herself. She wanted to show me his throat, and an interesting phenomenon she noticed with the lights in her office. The triage room had pale green walls. She suspected this might be making my son’s throat look more red than it was. She instructed my son to say “Ah” and I peered into his throat. Sure enough, it looked pretty red. Then, she guided us into her office which had white walls and brighter fluorescent lighting. She was right. His throat didn’t look as red, but I could tell the sides were pretty raw and painful. Interesting. I have noticed some interesting color effects with green and red light in the past. I think the nurse was on to something. What was it with me and colors today?
By this time, my son was complaining about pain in his neck and was feeling a little hot. He really wanted me to take him home. I told the nurse what I suspected with the neck pain. He has spent way too much time on his tablet computer laying in odd positions. I also think, in part, he’s having a few sympathy pains for me. However, I have no problem treating him for it anyway. I’m better off playing it safe. The nurse also noticed he felt hot, and took his temperature again. No fever. Hmmm.
Even though, I suspected my son was exaggerating his symptoms, and I made the decision to take him home and pamper him. I started with a warm saltwater gargle to sooth his throat and to reduce the inflammation. When it was properly cooled, I opened the door to his room to have him use it. He had followed my instructions well. He was in his pajamas and in bed. But, what is this? He’s asleep! I was unconvinced before, but now I know. Something is wrong. He’s definitely coming down with something. I woke him up and gave him his gargle. Then, I started on his tea.
I’m in the process of moving my herbal teas and medicines to a different place in the house. I couldn’t find the lemon tea I was looking for. Maybe I’m out of it. So, I grabbed the next best thing and opened the linden leaf tea and grabbed the Meyer lemons I had just purchased the day before. I let the tea brew and found my organic, raw honey for sweetening and its antibiotic properties. When that was ready, I returned to my son’s room. He’s asleep again, but had taken off his pajama top. I woke him just long enough to take a couple of healthy sips of the tea and instructed him to sleep. Poor kid. I guess I get to finish the tea. I’ll tell you this… it’s better cold. Cold beverages are better for sore throats caused by viruses anyway, which is what I think this is.
A little later, he woke up and entered our household office complaining of a headache and feeling hot. He went to the nurse at 11:00. No fever. He was stuck there until I arrived at noon. Still no fever. Now, at 3:00, he had a fever of 101.3. Well, well, well! There it is. It’s time for some cold water and Tylenol. In a second saltwater gargle later, I added a slice of Meyer Lemon for better flavor even though my son is a salt fanatic. He also loves lemon, and ate the slice after he finished his gargle.
When my husband came home, he told me of a friend’s kid in a different school who had the same symptoms: Scratchy throat, body aches, but no fever at the start. This must be something going around. I figured it was a good idea to contact the nurse to give her an update and a heads up on the potentially virulent situation. Needless to say, she was grateful for the call, and gave me some good tips on treating Howard. I like this nurse. She’s new to the school this year, and it’s good to know the school found a fantastic replacement for the totally awesome nurse that had worked that office before.
For the curious, here my recipes I used to relieve a sore throat. They seem to be effective, and at least one kid doesn’t mind the flavor.
- 1 teaspoon salt (I prefer natural sea salt)
- 8 oz warm water
- 1 lemon slice (optional)
Dissolve the salt in the water and add the optional lemon. Gargle a small mouthful at a time until the entire solution is gone. Repeat at least three times daily. Gargling once an hour is ideal, and is even preferred by some doctors. Sore throats caused by viruses are best treated at home using this method.
Linden Leaf Tea
Linden tea is most commonly used for calming anxiety issues, but it is also used to treat indigestion and respiratory ailments including sore throat. It also has antimicrobial properties that are helpful in combating colds and flu.
- 1 bag Linden tea
- 1 cup boiling water
- 1 slice of lemon
- 1 Tablespoon raw honey
Bring water to a rolling boil and immediately pour over the tea. Let steep for 7-12 minutes. Stir in honey and add lemon slice. Let cool and chill in the refrigerator for a tasty iced tea or drink warm for a tasty hot tea. As said above, sore throats caused by viruses are better treated with cold beverages. My recommendation is to make several cups at a time and drink as needed. For smaller children, instead of buying sugary popsicles, add a little more honey to the tea and freeze for a soothing treat. Processed sugar (glucose) tends to lower the immune system and prolongs illness. I know we all crave sweet treats when we’re sick, but it’s really not good for us. You’re better off freezing natural juices and teas for a healthier option and better nutrition. By the way, it costs less too.
If you missed part one to this story about surviving an MRI, here’s a link.