I have a ridiculous fear of taking a not-actually-very-sick kid to the doctor and having the doctor think I'm an idiot. Instead, I make sure the doctor thinks I'm an idiot by blathering something like, "I know you're probably going to say, 'It's a virus; sorry he's unhappy, but there's nothing we can do,'..."
So I can't totally blame the doctor for announcing, after a quick examination, "Well, he definitely has a virus!"
But it was nearing 10pm on Wednesday night, I'd already been at the urgent care for at least an hour and a half with a disturbingly sleepy, glassy-eyed Bayboh, and I would have really appreciated a straight answer.
Instead, I got a detailed description of Bayboh's left eardrum. "It's a pale grey, nice and translucent..."
"So that's... good?" I asked, a little confused about where this was heading.
"Yes, that's normal. Now, the right eardrum... It's looking swollen and opaque white."
"And that's... bad?"
"Well, it's definitely a finding."
My tired, worried brain took a few beats to catch up, by which point the doctor was going on at length about Tylenol dosages and I was nodding pleasantly, counting on the fact that these things always come in writing eventually.
I gathered that they were going to give him a trial dose right now and see if he would "perk up". Because, as the doctor perceptively pointed out, "He's not too perky right now."
This didn't seem like a bad idea to me, but I did ask, a little disappointed and still a little confused, "So, I take it we're not doing antibiotics?"
"Oh, we're doing antibiotics! If he were two, maybe we'd wait and see, but at this age, with this kind of a finding..."
But first, the tylenol. The nurse got it into him, told us she'd be back to check on him in 30 minutes, and then I was alone again with my sad, listless baby.
And then a miracle occurred. Within ten minutes, he was making eye contact and starting to tug on the strings of my hoodie. By the time the nurse came back, he was bouncing and giggling, babbling and stroking the geometric pattern on the wall.
And I'm happy to report that amoxicillin (with some help from ibuprofen in the beginning) has kept him that way. Modern medicine can be quite wonderful.