I’m fairly certain the least safe place to shower is in a hospital bathroom.

Monday we revisited the pediatrician for a follow-up on my son’s recent chronic bronchitis. It’s gotten no better with at home treatments, so we’ve been admitted to the hospital for more aggressive treatments which include beating my son’s torso, feeding a tube up his nose to extract mucus, and strapping a vibrating vest on him. That’s aside from the myriad of medications he’s given. I keep thinking he is improving, although he could be brewing espresso as he lies in my lap right now.

My son’s never been a sick child. For the first eighteen months of his life, he rarely even suffered a runny nose. Then he started daycare. I can only imagine the germ breeding that occurs there. Every toy is its own petri dish. I don’t blame the daycare staff. I’ve seen them clean the place. It’s just impossible to prevent the passing of bacteria and viruses between two dozen tiny imps who care more about eating mud pies than proper hand washing.

The pediatrician assures us sickness now will ensure a good immunity to illnesses when he enters preschool, but it’s little consolation while we administer three futile breathing treatments a day, and I’m almost certain he will develop an addiction to Children’s Mucinex.

Compounding the problem of finding sufficient treatment for the bronchitis is the fact that my son has an allergy to Augmentin, a strong antibiotic which cleared his lungs but covered him in hives. No other antibiotic worked as well. Our pediatrician also advised a penicillin allergy now does not mean he will have it later in life, a fact about which I am glad.

Being in the hospital with a toddler is difficult on all parties involved, especially since neither child or parent is allowed to rest longer than thirty minutes at a time. I’m pretty sure that’s the time limit on sleep in most hospitals because every half hour, a nurse, respiratory tech, or other hospital employee enters the room. Sometimes alone, sometimes all at once. I was woken up twice today by food services so I could choose specific menu items, which is all well except “not hospital food” wasn’t an option.

After two days of my getting no sleep or a shower, my husband came to take over, and I was able to sleep and cleanse myself. There are rails on either side of the toilet, presumably for safety, however I doubt it. I nearly tripped over the damn things five times while attempting to undress and get in the shower. The shower itself goes from -32 degrees to 190 degrees with just a slight touch of the knob. There’s no vent because why would there be? And no rug on the slick tile floor. I believe the hospitality department also failed to realize that parents staying with their little patients will have to shower, as all of the towels were miniscule and were mere hand towels on my huge body.

Having survived the shower, I stepped out to towel off and realized the nurses were administering a treatment to my son while my clothes laid on the bed. I considered just going into the room nude, as I was armed with hardly a hand towel – assuming the nurses, as medical professionals, have seen worse. But I decided all would fair better if I waited for them to leave. Which I did while listening to my son vibrating and calling, “Mo-o-o-ooommy!”

The doctor visited earlier and said we’re looking at another twenty-four hours of treatment. We’re hoping for a less adventurous tomorrow.