“I just don’t know what to do, Darcy. He’s just not getting any better,” Elizabeth whispered to her friend as they sipped their coffee. The two women silently turned in their seats at Elizabeth’s kitchen table to look at Thomas, Elizabeth’s seven-year-old son who was bundled under a blanket on the couch in the adjoining living room. Turning back to face each other across the table they both leaned in as if conspiring over something of great import. “He’s been like that for almost a month now. Lethargic, feverish, he has no appetite and he can’t seem to sleep for more than two hours at a time. I’m telling you, Darcy, I’m at my wit’s end,” Elizabeth said and quickly stifled the sob she felt at the back of her throat.
“You poor thing. You’re exhausted. I’m sure there is something I can help you figure out for your little guy,” Darcy replied, her voice laden with real concern for her friend and neighbor. It had been years since Darcy had had little ones in the house, both her children were grown and starting their own families. However, it was in her nature to try and help and she believed she had done a pretty decent job raising her two kids so when Elizabeth called her over for coffee and advice, she was more than happy to help. “Tell me Elizabeth, what all have you tried?” Darcy asked as she took a sip of her coffee.
“Well, I’ve given him lots of fluids, Gatorade, water, Sprite, even Pedialite. I’ve rubbed his arms and legs, I’ve given him something to help him sleep, ice baths, salt baths, every antibiotic under the sun… you name it, I’ve probably tried it. Nothing works. The doctor can’t figure out what’s wrong and I’m starting to get scared,” Elizabeth said, this time the sob breaking through before she could hide behind her coffee mug.
Distracted momentarily by the “Hang in there, baby” kitty mug Elizabeth had absently clasped in both hands, Darcy tried to ignore the silly if not poignant coincidence and focus on the problem at hand. While she wouldn’t consider herself an ‘alternative medicine’ nut, Darcy did have an old school leaning when it came to parenting. In fact, she had one fool-proof way to cure just about anything, although she wasn’t sure if Elizabeth was the type of woman who would baulk at the suggestion of something as… odd as her tried-and-true remedy. Glancing at the bundle on the couch, seeing how small and pale the boy look, Darcy knew she was just going to have to chance it with his momma and hope she had an open mind.
“Have you ever considered chicken noodle soup?” Darcy asked Elizabeth finally.
“Chicken noodle soup? Of course! I made a homemade pot of it the first week he was sick. Didn’t matter though, poor kid could never keep it down,” Elizabeth said sadly.
“Well, actually what I have in mind is a little different than feeding him a bowl of the soup,” Darcy said reservedly.
Elizabeth flashed her a confused look and seeing the poor mother was on the verge of a complete collapse, Darcy leaned in and told her all about her secret remedy.
“Are you sure about this?” Elizabeth said, obviously not comfortable with what she was about to do.
“On my life, it will work. Trust me,” Darcy encouraged, “I know how crazy it sounds, I know. But I used it for 25 years between my two children and it has yet to fail me”.
Looking down at her sleeping son, Elizabeth closed her eyes and prayed that she was doing the right thing. Then, before she could talk herself out of it she lifted up the blanket covering her son and- poured cold chicken noodle soup all over him.
Gasping in surprise, the poor child sprang off the couch, flinging limp noodles as he stood, and let out a scream. “Mom! Mom what did you do?” he yelled and tried to wipe the soupy mess off of his soaking pajamas.
After putting the poor kid in a hot bath, Elizabeth joined Darcy who was already wiping down the couch and cleaning up the remnants of the remedy. Picking cooked carrots and celery out of the carpet, Elizabeth began to worry she had made a huge mistake. “What kind of mother dumps a pot of chicken noodle soup on her sick son?” she wondered in disgust.
“I know what you’re thinking. I thought it every time. You’re not a bad mother. Give it till tomorrow morning and you will see, it works,” Darcy said sympathetically and gave Elizabeth’s arm a friendly squeeze.
“I hope you’re right,” was all Elizabeth could manage to say.
The next morning, Elizabeth was surprised to be awoken by the sound of cartoons coming from the television in the living room. Throwing on a robe, she shuffled bleary-eyed into the living room and almost fell over when she saw her son. Sitting at the kitchen table, facing the TV, there he was eating an overflowing bowl of Coco Puffs… something he hadn’t been able to stomach for more than three weeks. His color had returned too, by all appearances he seemed… healthy.
“Hey buddy, how are you feeling?” Elizabeth asked hesitantly as she felt his forehead with the back of her hand. No fever. Come to think of it, she had slept through the night- not once was she awoken by the sickly moan “mommy”.
“I feel fine, mom. Can you move though, I can’t see the TV,” he said with his usual sever-year-old impatience.
She couldn’t believe it… Darcy’s remedy had actually worked! Who would have thought that throwing a pot of soup on a sick boy would actually do anything? Darcy had only discovered the oddity by happenstance when she tripped and spilled a just-cooled pot of chicken noodle soup all over her sick daughter. Noticing the immediate change in her daughter’s condition, Darcy would go on to use this technique for years- calling it her Chicken Noodle Oops. And Elizabeth thanked God that she had been kind enough to share it with her.
The Not So Fantastic Reality:
The above story was inspired by the following tidbits I encountered today:
ONE: Have you ever packed your lunch in the morning and thought to yourself, “Man I can’t wait to eat this later, this is going to be a real treat,”? Well, I felt that way this morning. Thanks to the onset of a major sinus headache yesterday afternoon, the Chick-fil-A side salad and chicken noodle soup I brought for lunch went untouched. Waste not, want not, however so I stowed it in the fridge overnight- planning to take it to work with me today. Leaving the salad in the bag and then placing the bowl of soup delicately on top, I grabbed the entire bag and stuffed it in my purse for easy carrying. I realize now what my 7am brain failed to grasp- putting soup in a purse for a 30 minute car ride is NOT a good idea. Arriving in my office, I go to but the bag in the fridge and grabbing the top of the paper the entire bottom rips out (due to being completely soaked in soup) and the bowl of chicken noodle empties out- in my purse. A bowl of soup. In my purse. Yeah. Needless to say, the first half hour of my day was spent mopping up yellowy broth. Oh well, at least have my health, right?
best 'sick kid' ever... Fred Savage in The Princess Bride
Love & Squirrels.