First, Cause No Panic

This morning the kids at Little Brother’s school attended Mass. He likes it when I go to the school Masses, so I do that when I can. Even though it means an extra half-hour out of my day (I go to daily Mass, but with no music and only 50 communicants, as opposed to 250+, it goes more quickly).

It’s a good thing I was there today.

Had I not been there, I’d have missed the extremely cute sight of the kindergarten classes processing in, before the priest, while everyone sang “O Come All Ye Faithful.” Each little student wore a homemade crown and carried a picture of a present, that he had colored himself. As the kids walked to the front of the church, they placed these presents in front of the Nativity scene. SO cute!

Had I not been there, I’d have missed a very interesting homily by a priest who has been living his vocation for over 50 years.

Had I not been there, I would have been sitting in another church, with my cell phone off, basically unreachable. And that would have been a bad thing, because Little Brother fainted sometime between the “Holy Holy” and the Memorial Acclamation.

I saw some teachers rushing toward the choir area (up front, in an alcove near the altar). Another teacher was running up the center aisle. She saw me and mouthed Little Brother’s name. I grabbed my coat and handbag and rushed out of the pew, just as the Phys. Ed. teacher led Little Brother out the door that adjoins the choir area.

I took off for the main church exit, which was closer, then ran through the school hallway and let them in through the side door as the teacher was waving at the nurse’s office window, trying to get her attention, so she could have someone open the door. Everyone else was in church.

The teacher was supporting Little Brother as I opened the door. I took him from there as she said, “Oh, you’re here! That’s good!” Then I led him slowly to the nurse’s office. We sat him down on a chair, but his pale face and weak expression convinced me that he needed to lie down. So I asked her if he could rest on the cot in the office.

He didn’t have a fever, but I was definitely taking him home, so I left them there while I ran upstairs to his classroom to find his coat and backpack. His teacher was in the nurse’s office when I returned, and she teased me about stopping my kids from doing things like this (she’s the one who jumped over pews when Middle Sister passed out in church a couple of years ago.)

For the record, we’re now three for three as far as fainting in church. No surprise there; I used to do that myself, as did my dad, my mom, and my uncle. The kids come by this honestly.

Anyway, the nurse started speculating on what could be wrong with Little Brother that caused him to faint. After I detailed the breakfast he’d eaten (two slices of French toast and four slices of regular toast) she figured it wasn’t that.

“It might be the flu,” she commented. “When you were upstairs he said that his throat hurts. That’s how this flu starts, with a sore throat. You know, three people in Pennsylvania have died from the flu already this year.”

I was hoping Little Brother wasn’t paying attention, but I hoped wrong. He’s eight years old and very smart. His ears work just fine, even when the rest of him isn’t feeling so great at the moment. And she was sitting right there at the foot of the little cot he was lying on.

In the car, on the way home, he wondered if he might have the flu. He mentioned that people died from the flu. I spent the rest of the ride reassuring him that he’s fine and that he won’t be dying anytime soon.

His temp did hit 99 in the late afternoon, though he had no fever this morning. But his appetite’s been great. He ate the entire contents of his lunchbox before 11:30, and plowed his way through a big bowl of strawberries, two Pop-Tarts, and a lot of saltines before eating two helpings of spaghetti and meatballs for dinner.

I am more than pleased by how quickly the teachers acted when they noticed Little Brother’s distress, and the concern they showed. But the nurse’s bedside manner leaves much to be desired. Did she really need to scare a little boy who was probably plenty scared already about what had just happened? Did she need to suggest that he might have an illness that causes people to die?

6 thoughts on “First, Cause No Panic

  1. The nurse was foolish, and you might want to bring her comment to the attention of the principal, so that nurse can be coached to be a little less alarmist to her young charges!I used to love going to all school mass, and the day I really, really, knew just how much it means to the kids is when I went with a good friend. Maryann and I sat together, and after communion her son, Justin, who was probably about 10 was walking back to his pew when he looked up and saw his mom, the smile he gave her was totally amazing, it was joy filled and you could just tell that it meant the world to him that she was there!

  2. Awww! poor little guy! Nurses sometimes forget they need to have a bedside manner (trust me,I'm married to one!)all the time. I'm sure it wasn't intentional or deliberate.Hope he's feeling better!

  3. Wow, many reasons to be thankful here. (And, I'm definitely going to remember the crowned students for next year.)I think (hope) the teacher was just not thinking when she said that about the flu. I stick my foot in my mouth when I'm a little nervous sometimes.Sounds like a caring community.

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