Plague in the White-Out Days

Among the innumerable permutations of Mr. Murphy’s law, there is most definitely one that states, “The plague will only strike on a weekend.” Preferably Sunday, when not even the urgent care clinic is open. What makes it worse–for as long as I’ve had a child, I’ve worked in and around medical clinics. Give me a sick kid on a weekday, I can schedule his appointment myself. But no, my child has suffered only two ear infections in his life, both on Sunday, both requiring a visit to the emergency room because out here in the way beyond suburbia, there is nowhere else to go on the weekends.

You’ve probably guessed by now that the plague has been upon our house. Or is that a pox? Whatever. My husband spent all of last weekend flopped on the couch like a big rag doll. This being the man whose normal approach to illness is to work it into submission. I didn’t get really worried until Saturday afternoon, when he squinted those bleary eyes at me and declared, “I think I have pneumonia.”

I suppose at that point I should have dragged him out to the car and hauled him to town, but I didn’t see how an hour an a half drive plus however long in the waiting room was going to improve the situation. We’re not going to discuss what I did instead because my doctor is giving me the stink eye already, without confessing my sins on the internet. Suffice to say, a bladder infection and bronchitis don’t respond to the same antibiotics, but hey, when you live in the sticks you work with what you have left in the medicine cabinet, although we did give serious consideration to a shot of Nuflor Gold instead.

At least taking my husband to the ER was an option. A week earlier, we woke up Sunday morning to snow flurries and a sick kid. The snow flurries turned into a raging blizzard right about the time the kid started running a temperature. At five o’clock, we were in a complete white, which looks like this if you’ve never had the pleasure. See the big red barn about fifty yards beyond where we park the pickups? Hah. No.


Right about the time the wind gusts hit sixty miles and hour, my son’s temperature hit a hundred and three. I could barely get him to open his eyes. And we were going nowhere.

I have gained a whole new appreciation for how my mother felt that time the monkey bar blisters on my hand got infected while we were trapped at the ranch by a snowstorm, and we all entertained ourselves by watching the red line climb up my arm. I am here today only by the grace of God and Epsom salts.

Tonight in the car I heard an old song, and for the first time realized it’s actually about a Rocky Mountain snow storm. Given our recent experience and the weather forecast for this coming weekend, it seems like a fitting way to wrap up this post, Riding the Storm Out. 


And here’s hoping the plague doesn’t strike three weekends in a row, because there’s only one person left in our house who hasn’t been laid low.


Kari Lynn Dell – Montana for Real