My daughter and I spent last night in its quest.

Yesterday began with her complaint that her upset stomach was still with us. I’ve been taking off a lot of work lately to take her to medical appointments. So the possibility of a call from her saying that she couldn’t make it through the day loomed large. Just stay home and if you’re still not feeling well later we’ll take it from there.

In checking in with her during the day, she was still feeling nauseous off and on. Two days off without a doctor’s note would only leave three parent excuses left out of the five allowed for the entire school year by the Education Machine, the proud sponsors of “letting a mom let her kid’s virus simply run its course is so old school.”

So I leave work at five, woof fast food while driving while my potential arugula salad with fresh asparagus waits yet another day for me in the frig, pull in the driveway, blow the horn, and off we go to the CVS MinuteClinic. Luckily, her stomach had settled down enough that the drive didn’t bother her. When we got to the clinic, and the nurse practitioner realized we were there for nausea, she said that CVS doesn’t treat gastro-intestinal symptoms. Without charging for the visit, she handed me a paper of clinics in the area that could treat my daughter. Some would close in 10 minutes. I found one that was open for another hour or so and tried to figure out how to get there from there. My directional disability glared brightly. No Google directions– a time limit– driving at night. Nice mix.

After going the wrong way and my daughter asking if my U-turns were legal—After much mentally murdering my STBX whose talent of good directions lay wasting away in front of his TV during another challenging night of single parenting for me—we arrive.

I rush in, my insurance card (The Holy Grail in all medical facilities) out, and frantically take the clipboard with the three forms.

You’re fine. You don’t need to hurry.

Oh, OK.

I know. I’m the same way, she says.

I don’t know her, but she’s calming me.

One form asked for the age my daughter first started crawling. If she doesn’t get over the nausea it may be because I’m a few weeks off on that one.

They call us in. The nurse that takes her vital signs is really hyper happy because it’s her last day. The thing that measures height goes flying off the wall and my daughter cracks up. I try to fix it. That was fun.

Then we go into the room and wait for the doctor. After examining and questioning my daughter, she says it’s a virus and writes her out until Monday. That’s like two Holy Grails! She writes her a prescription for nausea. Now I’m wondering where the nearest CVS is from here and do I have time to get there.

When I go to pay, the Calm Me Down lady says I’m free to go and I don’t owe anything. I know she means I’ll get billed but I thank her for calming me down AND (kiddingly) free medical care. She needs to unlock the door to let us out, and I say I thought she could do that from her desk since calming me and the discount had to be magic. We chat about trying to fit everything in, rigid school policies, etc. She tells me she knows how it is—so much pressure.

We fill the prescription. I see it’s generally used to treat the nausea from chemo. All the kid needs is to let a virus run its course, so I recommend to her that she only take the medication if she really needs it. She agrees. But I guess it’s not a bad thing to keep something in the house for her that treats nausea.

So I really got to mother her the way I wanted to: we’re dealing with her virus by letting it run its course. Of course it took a lot of time and burned a lot of gas. But maybe I needed an emergency visit with Calm Me Down Lady to help me with all the tension I’ve been under lately as a single parent. 

She gets it. She sees me.

Sometimes that’s all we need. And then we can let the tension run its course.