Snot’s job

Alex brought a cold home from school last week and so kindly shared it with the rest of us. He went to the doctor and got prescription Benedryl and cough syrup with codeine. The doctor told him not to drive until he’s done taking it. He didn’t wonder why until he got home. I told him that it will make him sleepy, and that he’d be driving under the influence since codeine is a narcotic pain killer.

His eyes got really big. “Like Morphine?”

“Yeah, they’re cousins.”

He eyed it suspiciously and hasn’t opened it. I can’t say for sure, but I think he was remembering how Scout had to read to her cranky, drooling neighbor who was overcoming morphine addiction in “To Kill A Mockingbird”, none of which has to do with snot’s job. That’s just the back-story.

Vicky has got his cold now. She’s been blowing her nose every two minutes for a couple of days, and last night she finally had enough. Eric walked through the kitchen and she caught the movement.

“Dad, WHY do I have all this snot in my head?” (He was a dietician, ergo he worked around doctors, ergo he’s the ‘medical authority’.)

“It’s produced in your sinuses, honey,” answered Eric, who has learned not to give $5.00 answers when she’s sick. He retreated quickly to avoid the rest of the whine, and it worked–just barely.

She sniffed indignantly as she reached for the Kleenex box. I managed not to smile when I told her, “The snot is how your body gets rid of the germs.”

For once I didn’t get the all-knowing-teen eye-roll. “Really?”

“Yeah. It has to get the germs out somehow.”

“Oh.” That seemed to make it all right. I didn’t hear a whine out of her for the rest of the night.

It’s rare for my word to be gospel these days. I had those few heady days when they were toddlers, and I miss them now.


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