Here's this week's free read. Check out the original prompt and the rest of the responses here.
“Life’s Little Troubles”
I pull my car into the driveway, a smile on my face. As much as I love my job, it’s always nice to come home at the end of the day. Especially when I have an amazing family to come home to.
When I was a teenager, I never thought that it was possible for a gay kid to live happily ever after. And yet here it is. Married to the man of his dreams with a sweet little boy that we can raise as our own. Yep, life is good.
But my happiness fades as I open the door into the house. Little Aiden is screaming and crying for all it’s worth. That’s very unusual. Aiden is a happy little boy. Curious, I walk farther into the house, following the cries. As soon as I walk into the living room, my heart breaks. Joey is lightly bouncing and swaying our two-year old son, tears running down both their faces.
“Steve! Thank God, you’re home! Something’s wrong with Aiden.”
My heart skips a beat at his husband’s broken words. Without a moment of hesitation, I walk over to my small family and wrap my arms gently around the two of them. Aiden doesn’t seem to notice, still screaming his heart out, but Joey seems to appreciate the comfort.
“What’s wrong,” I ask Joey over the screams.
“I don’t know. He’s been a little off all day. Tired and whatnot. But about a half an hour ago he just started screaming and crying. I would’ve called, but I figured you would be home soon anyway.”
Nodding, I gently kiss the top of Aiden’s head. “I need to get my stuff. Why don’t you guys settle on the couch? I’ll be right back.”
Quickly, I run upstairs to my home office. I don’t really use it now that I have my own office, but I still have a lot of stuff in there from my medical student days. It doesn’t take me long to find my old, but fully-packed medical bag, which I quickly grab. That done, I go into the bedroom and get all of the children’s medicine we have in the cabinet. I laughed when Joey came home with every child’s medicine they sold at CVS, but it would serve its purpose now.
Everything I needed in hand, I go back to my family. Joey is sitting on the couch, Aiden in his lap. Dumping everything on the coffee table, I quickly fall down to my knees in front of them. Gently, I maneuver Aiden so he is lying flat on Joey’s lap.
Working fast, I check Aiden’s lungs and heart, thankful to hear that they are okay. I’m getting ready to check his throat when I see his tiny hand lift up to rub at his ear. All of a sudden, I know what is wrong. Taking the otoscope, I quickly check Aiden’s ear and see what the problem is.
“It’s okay, Joey. It’s just an ear infection,” I say as I check Aiden’s other ear, which is thankfully clear.
“An ear infection? All of this is from an ear infection?”
“Yeah. It can get pretty painful for kids.”
“So what do we do about it?”
Reaching behind me, I take the Children’s Advil and hold it up so Joey can see the label. Opening the bottle, I measure out some of the liquid and help Joey sit Aiden up so we can get it into his. Aiden, thankfully, doesn’t fight us too much and takes it relatively easy.
Once that is done, I get up and run into the bathroom to wet a washcloth down with warm water. I bring it back to the coach and set it on Aiden’s ear to help ease the pain. Aiden fought a little bit more when I put the washcloth on his ear, not liking the feeling. But Joey was able to calm him down.
When I had done everything I could do, I sat down next to Joey and wrapped my arm around him. With my free hand, I start to rub Aiden's stomach hoping to ease his pain.
It took a little while, but soon the drugs and the warm water worked and Aiden’s pain diminishes enough that he falls asleep. Joey and I wait a few minutes to make sure he was well and truly down. Once we are sure he’s out, we gently get up, careful not to jar him too much. I take the washcloth off his ear and Joey lays him back on the couch before covering him in his Spongebob blanket.
When we’re satisfied that Aiden was comfortable, we go into the nearby kitchen. There we can talk, but still be close enough to hear Aiden if he needed us.
“Is he going to be okay,” Joey asks as soon as we are far enough away not to wake Aiden.
“Yes, baby. He’ll be fine. Most ear infections clear up on their own in a couple of days. He might need a little more Advil to help with the pain, but otherwise he should be okay. If it doesn’t clear up like I think it will, I’ll write him a script for an antibiotic.”
“I was so scared when he started screaming like that.”
Stepping closer, I take Joey into my arms and start to rock him, like he was doing with Aiden when I got home. “I know, baby. But he’ll be okay. Kids get sick all the time.”
“Shouldn’t you be more worried?”
“Hon, I’m a doctor. I see this all the time. But if it makes you feel any better, it broke my heart to see him cry like that.”
“Tell me about it. I never want to see him suffer like that again.”
I hold Joey for a little longer, comforting him with my touch. Aiden’s illness really freaked him out. Although, it freaked me a little bit too. But we would get through it. After all, this was just one instance of sickness and health on a long road to happiness.