Thursday, February 11, 2010

My Birthday Left A Little Something To Be Desired

Welcome to HM's kennel. She has been sick as a dog today and last night. Sick as a darn dog. Just when she thought she had kicked that cold she caught from a student, after only 14 days of symptoms...the cough returned with a vengeance.

It's true. Last night, after Enabler H's leftover cough medicine from 2008 wore off, the cough came back. A hacking, wracking, rib-shaking cough, a cough that took my breath away upon attempted inhalation, a cough that produced nothing but bugged-out eyeballs and a headache and a night that garnered 4 hours of sleep, whether I needed it or not.

This morning I felt like corn casserole on a shingle. Sorry, Mabel, for that reference to your previous bestest friend's potluck contribution. But that's how I felt. I couldn't get any air in or out of my lungs. I felt light-headed. I couldn't concentrate. So I did what any self-respecting educator of the future of our nation would do...I went to school. However, it was a long, strange trip. The hardy pioneer stock traversing The Oregon Trail had an easier journey than I. That includes the computer game Oregon Trail, folks.

Upon arrival, I hurried to the office to request a substitute. Nothing makes you surer that you can't make it through the day than actually showing up and trying to make it through the day. The office was dark, so I wrote an assignment on the board, laid out my materials, and took off to do my parking lot duty. As I passed the office, I inquired about Mr. Principal, but he was busy seeing a bus out front and I couldn't find him. So I told the person who really runs the place that I needed a sub so I could get a doctor's appointment. She called in a sub who was cheated out of a day of work yesterday due to our 7th snow day, and I went about my duty.

First hour, the #1 son snarked, "I thought you were going to be gone." Yes, sonny, I am gone, just as soon as my sub arrives. The class asked me where I was going, and why, and since of course teachers must share every detail of their personal lives with their charges, I told them I was going to the doctor.

What's wrong with you?
I have a cough and I can't breathe.
What time is your appointment?
Just as soon as I call and they work me in.
Will we have work?
It's on the board. You'll get double if you talk.
When are we doing that second assignment anyway?
You're not. It's only if you talk. I have something else for tomorrow.
Then we don't want to do that.
Yeah. So shut up.

I quickly typed up some sub instructions. I had a coughing fit. A kid in the front row had a coughing fit. "Nice try. Don't think you're leaving to go to the doctor, too." He said, "No. Really. I had to cough." I believed him. He sounded authentic. And he did it almost as often as I did. In the middle of one really rough bout of hacking, the little germ-sprayer who gave me the original crud came up to ask to go to the bathroom. I had to wave her on because I couldn't speak. She hesitated. "Are you all right?" I fought for breath. I squeaked out, "No. I'm going to the doctor!" That was good enough for her, and she traipsed her little Good Samaritan self on to the bathroom. Note that my own son, sitting in the front row, completely ignored my predicament.

The sub arrived with 15 minutes left in 1st hour. I gathered my stuff and ran out the door as fast as my empty lungs could carry me. After putting a recommendation form in TheParkingSpotStealer's mailbox, I noticed that I had everything except the keys to T-Hoe, which were in my classroom cabinet. I stopped in to retrieve them, and found the Mexican-Cryer (who told me as I left, "Look out for Mexicans!" even though he's been told time and again that he can't say that) had pulled his chair out of the row to sit by the kid whose friends ask him every month, "Are you gay?" To which he says, "No," in his high-pitched pre-puberty voice. And the mouth of the class had moved to a different chair than she was in before, still not her assigned seat. So I gave them both the extra assignment. Because I could.

It's not nice to mess with Mrs. Hillbilly Mom's sub before Mrs. HM has even left the building.


Chickadee said...

Hope you're feeling better today (and hope you skipped school too!).

Hillbilly Mom said...

I feel miraculously better. I went to school and breathed freely. Well, as freely as you can in a classroom that smells like old bar smoke and farts.