As a child, I had swollen lymph nodes. Constantly. If I even got the slightest cold, the nodes would plump right up. My dad was in the Coast Guard so we moved around quite a bit. Every town had a new doctor and a new person to explain about the swollen lymph nodes. According to my mother, some doctors thought I had lyme disease. Another insisted it was "cat scratch fever."
I have survived, swollen nodes and all.
So, my reaction can be forgiven, when the school nurse called me today in an absolute panic. Son D's lymph nodes were swollen. Scarily swollen. Visibly swollen. "Oh, yeah," I said, "that happens."
The school nurse seemed surprised by my ambivalence to my son's condition. He'd gotten a crick in his neck earlier this morning that was bothering him. He was in a bit of neck pain. She called me back at work 3 more times. She was convinced that it was an excessively swollen left supraclavicular lymph node. Evidently that can be the first sign of something really bad. She suggested we get it looked at immediately.
Luckily, husband D could drop everything at work and go get him. I managed to get the boy to the Doctor later this afternoon (at the school nurse's insistence.)
I explained to our doctor, "my family - our nodes - they swell" but had written down the school nurse's concerns word-for-word, just to be safe. Our Doc checked him out thoroughly and said that he is perfectly fine. The school nurse had mis-identified the particular swollen nodes - They are not the supraclavicular nodes (although to her credit, they are on the left.)
So, as annoyed as I was to disrupt our daily schedule for an overly cautious school nurse, I was deeply grateful, too.
Somewhere in this great big world of ours, I suspect there was a mother today who didn't get to feel annoyed. Instead, she had her worst nightmares confirmed - some kind of serious illness in her child.
It's amazing how just the flicker of possibility of something bad happening to your child immediately rearranges all of your priorities. In the blink of an eye, that "Top Priority Project" at work doesn't even matter.
And can I say that we have the best Kindergarten teacher in the world? She called us at home tonight to make sure he was OK. Say what you will about the quality of education in a high-poverty urban school...but our teachers, they care.