But I Feel Awful.

Dylan wasn’t awake when the bus drove past the house.

He wasn’t awake ten minutes later, either, when Shane came downstairs. Shane said, “Should I wake him up?”

“I don’t know what you should do,” I told Shane. “I told Dylan I wouldn’t wake him up for school anymore this semester.”

“I’m going to wake him up,” Shane said.

“I don’t know anything about it,” I said.

Twenty seconds later, Dylan was downstairs, disheveled and anxious. “Mom, can you drive me to school if I get ready really fast?”

“If you are ready when I take Shane,” I said, “I’ll drive you.”

Dylan disappeared for awhile. Then he came back down, still disheveled and anxious.

“Mom, I really don’t feel good,” he said. “My head hurts and I just feel really awful.”

“Right,” I said. “Get back upstairs and get dressed. We need to go in seven minutes.”

“But I feel awful,” he said. “My head really hurts.”

“You need to drink more water,” I told him. “Now go. Get ready!”

Dylan got in the car, just in time. He didn’t look good. In fact, he was almost shaking. He couldn’t eat his breakfast-to-go, and said he was nauseous, too.

“You look like my mother did once,” I told him. “She didn’t have any tea one morning, and she was totally sick. She was nauseous and had a headache. Maybe you’re having caffeine withdrawal.”

“But this never happened before,” Dylan whined. “I drink coffee every day!”

“You didn’t drink Monster yesterday, did you?” (In spite of my urgings against it, sometimes Dylan drinks these horrific chemically caffeinated drinks.)

“Ironically, I did have some Monster yesterday,” Dylan admitted. “Just half a can that somebody gave me.”

I handed him his coffee. “Drink this during P.E.,” I said. “You don’t have to participate.”

“Really?” he said, visibly relieved. He loves P.E. (I should have known right then.)

I scrawled a note for the nurse to excuse him from P.E., which happened to be first period. Then I drove off. He called me a few minutes later, to tell me he had to go to P.E. instead of sitting in the nurse’s office, but that he didn’t have to participate.

“Drink your coffee,” I said. “And go back to the nurse and call me if you need me to pick you up later.”

Two hours later, Dylan texted me: “I’m cold.”

Dylan was wearing a muscle shirt and shorts, which he often wore even in the winter. Dylan never gets cold.

“It’s 85 degrees out,” I said. “But I am driving right by your school during lunch. Can you meet me outside? I’ll bring you a hoodie.”


He was actually grateful to get the hoodie. (I really, really, should have known then.)

“Now go do your work,” I told him. “And I’ll pick you up after homework club.”

At 4:00, I found him on a bench and dragged him home. He didn’t talk much. He said he was better after the coffee, but not much. I chided him for not doing enough work at school, and told him he’d have to finish when he got home.

At home, he wouldn’t get out of the car. Twenty minutes went by. I assumed he was texting friends.

“It’s a hundred degrees in the garage, Dylan!” I said. “Get out of the car!”

He dragged himself inside, and fell asleep on the floor in the office, next to his desk.

Dylan had a fever of 101 degrees.

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