Tommy's cough was back, worse than before, poor baby.
No preschool for him tomorrow; that meant one of us would have to stay home with him, give him nebulizer treatments every four hours. Probably take him back to the doctor. I hoped he wouldn't need another round of Prednisone.
"I took off work last time," Tom reminded me. True. And he was just months into a new job after finally graduating from college.
I, on the other hand, had three weeks of vacation to use for the year, my reward for working twelve hour shifts through two and a half pregnancies while Tom earned his degree. We wouldn't be going anywhere for vacation this year because Tom, as a newbie, only had one week coming to him, and I was due to deliver smack dab in the middle of July.
I dialed my supervisor's number, then cradled the phone between my shoulder and ear while adding medicine to the nebulizer's plastic cup. "David, I need a day of emergency vacation tomorrow. Tommy's sick again."
Tommy coughed and coughed from the living room, waiting for me. I knew it would be a long night, waking every four hours, perhaps even every two to give him the treatments if he didn't respond to it.
"Um, I've been instructed to tell you that you can't take anymore emergency vacation days."
"What? By who?"
Sam. David's boss. That bastard! Just a few weeks ago he was telling me about his son's battle with asthma. His son was Tommy's age. He, of all people, should understand.
There had been cutbacks lately and forced overtime, and now they were worried about manpower and coverage. But Sam was just a male chauvinist control freak bastard, anyway.
And my baby was sick. And geez, tomorrow was Friday! I just needed off one day. Tom could take over Saturday.
I felt my heart beating faster, my face flushing.
"I'm sorry, Barbara. I don't have a choice."
"I know, David. I don't blame you. But I am taking off tomorrow."
I hung up and immediately dialed the plant's main number, punching the numbers hard and fast. "Dave Loveday, please." The plant supervisor. Head honcho. I wasn't messing around anymore - my baby depended on me.
A few clicks and then, "Dave Loveday here."
"Hi Dave. It's Barbara." I poured out my conversation with David to him, shared with him how sick Tommy had been the past few months, how he was struggling to breathe now, how worried I was about him. "You know, I earned those three weeks of vacation and we have an emergency vacation policy in place for situations such as this. If the plant is short-handed, that's someone else's responsibility, not mine. I have done my job out there, but being a mother is my most important job. So right now I'm thinking I need to either call a lawyer or a psychiatrist. Which do you think, Dave?"
"Oh, Barbara, you just stay home and take care of that baby! Don't you worry about a thing out here!"
"Thanks, Dave." Damn right.
This is my contribution to The Red Dress Club's RememeRed. This week's assignment was, when meeting someone for the first time, describe a scene from your life that would help show the person your true self. It was tough trying to think of something I haven't already written about (I'm not even sure I haven't written about this before!) and I am barely slipping this one in under the deadline. Click on the image above to see the other contributions.