Archived Story

Son’s ‘sickly’ antics

Published 11:58am Thursday, October 27, 2011

This week my family has suffered from all sorts of ailments. I’ve been dealing with fever and coughing, my wife Karen is suffering from terrible allergies and my son Nathan was diagnosed with strep throat this past weekend.

Needless to say, all of us are falling behind on our work, especially Nathan. Being absent from school for several days is tough, especially when you have to make up a lot of homework assignments.

Fortunately, Nathan has tons of experience with making up missed coursework. You see, my dear son has a history of sickness that is second to none. His illnesses range from fever and coughing to stomach and headaches. In fact, it’s amazing how often these debilitating bouts affect him during the school year – maybe a bit too amazing, if you catch my drift.

Now, I’m not claiming his recent affliction was faked. I personally checked his temperature and he went to the doctor and was diagnosed with strep throat – this time. But, I must admit that I first doubted his initial complaints about his health due to his history. To be honest, Nathan has “cried wolf” too many times in the past for me to accept his word right off the bat.

Let me explain.

About twice a month, normally on a Sunday night, Nathan suddenly starts complaining about a headache or stomachache. For a little added effect, he sometimes complains about both. This usually goes on for 30 minutes or so before Karen starts getting concerned, or should I say suspicious. At this point I normally enter the room, tell him his going to school no matter what, and that’s the end of it. But it’s a ritual we seem to repeat on a consistent basis.

About a year ago, Nathan apparently realized the “Sunday night sickness” routine wasn’t working. So, he changed tactics in order to achieve better results.

It worked.

What I’m about to describe to you is nothing short of amazing. In fact, I believe Nathan has somehow acquired an almost superhuman ability to control his body temperature in ways that normal folks simply cannot do.

Last year my amazing son discovered an Alex City school system medical rule that automatically sends a child home if their temperature reaches 100 degrees. So, he apparently developed a method that raises his body temperature to the desired level of 100 degrees.

Soon after his discovery, we received a call from the school nurse, stating we had to come pick our son up because of his temperature. Once we got him home, however, he acted a little sick but seemed to recover enough to go outside and play. Obviously, this was a sign something was amiss.

After several more calls from the school nurse, each resulting in a trip home, I confronted Nathan about it and he simply shrugged his shoulders. He wasn’t about to reveal his secret. I was nothing short of perplexed and the more I thought about it the more I realized how amazing a feat my son was performing. How could anyone control their body temperature at will?

At first I thought he was holding his breath, or maybe he was running in place in the bathroom. But, none of these explanations seemed right. I eventually had visions of my son meditating in a bathroom stall while chanting some ancient eastern language and levitating in the air. Surely, he must be a candidate for ninja school if he can perform such acts of mind-body control.

Fortunately, I’m glad to report the number of calls we’ve been receiving from the school nurse has declined recently and Nathan seems a bit happier at school.

Nevertheless, I’m not sure if this contentment comes from a newfound interest in his studies, or the apparent bathroom meditation he’s been performing.

I hope it’s the former. But, if you see him levitating, please let me know. I’ll notify the ninja school they have a sick, but very talented, student.

Roger Steele is general manager and advertising director of The Outlook.