I used to liken Robert's sleeping habits to a fish in a rowboat. You know, because of the flopping. (Hilarious, right?) Well, that metaphor is officially retired, because it is now indelibly attached to the sight of little TwoBert lying semi-catatonic on my chest, frantically rasping for air and moaning feebly.
Robert got his voice back late Tuesday afternoon, but two hours later TwoBert spiked a fever of 102. We gave him a tepid bath and dosed him with Tylenol, and he slept through until 3.30am, when he woke up wheezing horribly and too panicked to nurse. That was the worst part; with Robert, I could at least explain what was going on and even make a few frog jokes to help calm his nerves. But I couldn't communicate with TwoBert; the best I could do was hold him in a steamy bathroom and sing lullabies to calm him and help regulate his breathing. And all he could do was look at me with wild eyes that asked, "What's happening? Why can't you make this stop?"
It's one thing to contemplate having to go to the ER as a last resort. But it's an emotional moment when your pediatrician, who favors exhausting all other options before resorting to invasive measures, tells you it's time to go. I had kept it together pretty well for most of the night, but when I had to call in sick and describe the situation, I lost it. I had to confront the fact that not only was I powerless to cure TwoBert, I couldn't even tell him it would be all right. When I put voice to this idea, I started blubbering.
My wife took TwoBert to the ER (for when he needed to nurse), while I stayed and played LIFE IS BEAUTIFUL with Robert, who was very concerned. TwoBert was nebulized with epinephrine and got a steroid injection, and now he's fine. (Except his muscles are now much more defined, and his nuts are the size of a baby's.) And as I weather the ubiquitous advertising for all the "horror" flicks that are out for Halloween I think, Fuck you, Hollywood, and your contrived little creepshows. I know fear.
As I type, TwoBert is rolling on the carpet and blowing unbelievably sodden raspberries at the cat, and Robert is walking around in a wig, my wife's high heels, and a tool belt, laying the groundwork for a stellar career as (quite possibly) the world's first transvestite general contractor. How completely wonderful it is to be back to normal.