It's not about the house.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Don't Piss In The Fire

Caution, this one's kind of gross.

I was away for the weekend and when I got home Johnny was on the couch with a damp facecloth over his eyes. When he sat up and removed the cloth, I gasped. It was all I could do not to run screaming from the room.

His eyes were so swollen and bloodshot (and - thanks for the detail, dear - apparently crusty if he wasn't diligent about it) that it looked like he'd been stung by a couple of angry wasps playing darts with his pupils as the bulls eye.

I hadn't seen conjunctivitis since I used to work at summer camp. That was donkey's years ago, and all I remember from then is that it's highly contagious. Not wanting to catch it, and not knowing whether it was viral (in which case it would pass) or bacterial (in which case he needed antibiotics), I went to the internet -- where I found out the answer is yes. Viral, bacterial, or also just allergical.

I think what they were trying to say was that you could tell the cause by the presence or absence -- and, if present, then the color -- of the crusty gunk. So I asked him.

"I don't know, I couldn't see it!" he said. "Probably gray or something. Or green."

Well, thanks dear. Speculation doesn't really help in this case, but thanks for trying.

It being Sunday and all, I was rooting for not-bacterial (and therefore not-having-to-go-to-the-emergency-room-for-a-prescription) so I read up on the other two to convince myself. That's where I found out that not just allergies but other "environmental toxins" can cause the same reaction. And Johnny had spent the weekend scrubbing the bathroom walls in preparation for a paint job.

Two years ago, a visiting friend of Johnny's stripped the paper off the walls for us, and we hadn't touched them since. It's been lovely: tattered old green paint peeling, wallpaper paste crusting and uncrusting with the humidity. So lovely, in fact, that last summer when I accidentally grabbed shaving gel instead of air freshener and sprayed it over my head around the room, I couldn't really clean it up because I couldn't really tell where it had landed. Yum.

So we decided the best thing for Johnny was to take some Benadryl and take a day off working in the bathroom. Yesterday he was back at it, still not wearing gloves but promising to rub his face with just the backs of his hands. The eyes seem to be cleared up and holding even though he is still touching them, which made me wonder...

Back when we used to work at camp there was a rumor that has held up over the years as a family joke. Don't piss in the fire, the boys used to say, or you'll get pink eye.

I was away all weekend, we do have a fireplace and the bathroom is a soggy mess. You don't suppose that Johnny might have...

Nah. Now that I think about it, I know from experience he doesn't have that kind of aim.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

oh my...