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I work with a woman who has the sickest children in the world. from asthma to allergies to bubonic plaque...these kids have it all. she is constantly calling or receiving calls from the school nurse, organizing "frail child" sheets, med lists, food lists, stocking epi-pens, or leaving work to pick them up. my problem isn't that the kids are sick...that's gotta suck to have all that shit going on when you're so young. my problem is with the almost gleeful delight this woman takes in listing off the many ailments of her kids. she'll stand there with a smile on her face, and this "oh shucks" kind of voice dribbles from her mouth as a cloud of symptoms gathers around her head. it's as if she wants everyone within earshot to know just how good a mother she must be to have kept these fragile, sickly little gifts from God alive all this time. you know, they're so cute when they're unconscious from fever 4 times a year! she also describes the extremely poor eating habits of her oldest son with an equal amount of kids-will-be-kids, what-are-you-gonna-do smile/shrug. she frequently tells me of how his plate barely ever contains anything other than a beige, starchy mess, but then laughs as she has to go pick him up from school because he's having "horrible stomach cramps again." she's had him seen a hundred times for cramps and constipation, yet it never occurs to her to FEED HIM SOMETHING THE FUCK ELSE?? once I mentioned that my oldest son gets those same symptoms every now and then, usually when he's been eating a lot of junk or drinking too much juice and not enough water, but we can usually get him back to normal within a week or so. SHE WAS ASTOUNDED. WHAT HOODOO MAGIC ARE WE EMPLOYING?!? so I told her...you know how we knock this shit out (literally)? we put him on fiber therapy when this happens (which is not nearly as medical as it sounds). we give him his lunches on high-fiber bread along with fiberplus granola bars, and when he gets home from school each day he gets a cereal bar and a cup of juice with benefiber stirred inside. oh, and no chocolate until the problem clears (my kids don't drink soda, so chocolate is really the only caffeine we have to worry about). again...ASTOUNDED. she said she thought she'd have to give that a try, because she's been taking him to the doctor for YEARS and they've just never been able to help him. recently I asked her how this was going, and she sort of shrugged her shoulders and said that she hadn't really done much of it because her son won't try new foods. i'm like, "you know you can dissolve the benefiber in basically ANYTHING he eats, right?" even the piles of fucking mashed potatoes or spaghetti sauce or whatthefuckever he actually eats OR you can mix it in his drinks. like you can for serious just fucking give it to him and he won't even taste it and then he'll feel better. but this is the major source of my annoyance: SHE DOESN'T WANT HIM TO FEEL BETTER. she doesn't want EITHER of her kids to feel better. because she gets some kind of sick pleasure out of her kids being sick, some kind of super-mom euphoria that she herself must be awfully addicted to if she's willing to keep her kids in a constant state of sickness 365 days a year. and it's not just them. she's always sick herself. and her mom. and her kids' dad. and everyone else on the planet. sick sick sick. everyone is always sick. there has to be some kind of clinical name for this shit. some weird, ailing martyr kind of complex. and i'm not the only one at work who notices this. now it's at the point where whenever she starts naming off the latest ailment of one or both kids, or herself, or whoever else, a few of us just look at each other and sigh...knowing that telltale giddiness in her voice. it's pretty...sickening.