Fear makes you drive faster

standard April 17, 2009 6 responses

The phone rang and when I saw the daycare provider’s name pop up on the screen my heart skipped a beat. She never calls. I mean, she only ever calls if it’s a dire emergency, which is never. I’ve gone to pick up the kids only to find one of them with almost a black eye and any explanation is always accompanied with a dismissive wave of the hand.

So, when they call, I know it’s going to be bad.

Today it was about Little L.

“She went down fine, but then she coughed so much we went in to check on her. She was just sitting there. And now she won’t sleep.”
“Is she still coughing?”
“Yeah, she can’t seem to stop. We gave her some of her medicine around two and it didn’t help at all.”
“Is she wheezing?”
“Yeah, it sounds pretty bad.”

They never call. Little L coughs and wheezes all the time and yet they never call.

I dropped everything and told her I was on my way; that I’d call the pediatrician on the way to get an emergency appointment. And then I took what felt like the longest drive in the world.

The daycare is all of 15 minutes away, plenty of time for me to imagine the absolute worst. It’s been a sad couple of weeks online and two dead babies is two dead babies too many and causes a mother to instantly jump to terrible dark places.

What if this is it? What if this is the really bad attack that lands us in the hospital? What did she mean ‘she was just sitting there?’ Is she lethargic? Lethargic is bad, really, really bad. Oh God. My baby, my baby is having trouble breathing. Why is this guy driving so damn slow? Doesn’t he realize I’m in a hurry?

I have to get there. I have to see for myself. I bet she’s fine. That’s it. She’s fine. They’re overreacting. Ha, I bet she even fell asleep while I was getting there. No, no, she wouldn’t have, they’d have called me. OK. I bet she’s playing and having a grand old time. Yeah. That’s it. Or not. Maybe she’s not fine and she’s sitting there, waiting for me, struggling to breathe. Oh God, why can’t this guy drive any faster?

My mind raced much faster than my car, but I finally pulled into the driveway and threw the car into park. I took a deep breath to try to settle myself and I climbed out. As soon as I walked into the door I heard her voice. My baby’s chipper happy voice. And then her laugh.

I almost cried. Little girls who are struggling for breath and are suffering from low oxygen saturation levels do not laugh. They do not talk. She saw me just as I walked into the room and she called out gleefully “MAMA!” and ran to greet me.

My eyes met those of the daycare provider as I scooped her up and held her tight, tight, tight. She just shrugged and I echoed her gesture. Little L was fine, very congested and rattly sounding, but fine. Not struggling, not lethargic. Just fine.

I took her home and tucked her in for her nap, and as she drifted away I stood over her crib and watched her sleep, saying a silent thank you that our incident was ending like this, and not any other way.

Leave your reservations by the rash entrance

standard March 31, 2009 3 responses

The tiny pink dots first appeared on her lovely round belly. Then they spread upward and outward until they covered her torso and back. Last night she developed a fever, almost as though her body was thumbing it’s nose at my pathetic attempt to cure the rash with a dose of Children’s Benadryl. “This rash ain’t no allergic reaction to your brand new ‘green’ detergent!” Her body taunted as it sent the numbers on the thermometer spinning higher and higher.

102.3. Ouch.

We’re not strangers to high fevers around here. As soon as these kids so much as catch a whiff of a virus I know we’re going to be seeing some pretty scary numbers on the thermometer. The rash, though, that’s a new one for Little L. Especially an all body rash that now spreads from her hairline to her toes without missing a single nook or cranny.

I’m a pretty laid back mom. Because we go to the pediatrician so often for respiratory issues, I tend to treat most other illnesses without much fanfare. If something strikes me as a bit odd or out of the norm I call the advice nurse and ask her if a virus with similar symptoms is going around. If there is, great, we stay home. If there isn’t we go in. Simple enough system.

Once in a while however I get struck with guilt and worry. What if the cold/flu/cough/fever/rash I’m blowing off as unimportant blows up into something dire and I have to rush them to the ER in the middle of the night and admit that I don’t take all their sniffles seriously? What then?

I would die of utter mortification. And guilt. That I let my child get that sick. That I didn’t realize something was really wrong. That I didn’t think something was wrong at all.

It’s like that time my mother and I wanted to save some money and just rubbed the cat on the dog’s back so they could share flea medication. And then the cat started foaming at the mouth. And we had to take her to the vet and admit what we had done. Mortifying. Still remember wanting to dig a hole to crawl into.

But back to my kids. On the odd day when I feel like maybe there’s more to the rash/sniffle/cough than meets my skeptical eye I call and make an appointment. And in my heart of hearts I know it’s just another darn virus. And I know I’m going to be charged for the visit and expose my kids to a million other germs only to be told it’s just a virus and there’s nothing I can do about it. But a little voice in my head keeps whispering “but what if it isn’t just a virus?” So I pack up my sick kid and I go.

This morning, as Little L’s rash spread up her pudgy cheeks and down her meaty thighs, as her fever stayed solidly above 101F, I gave in to the little voice and I called to make an appointment. As the nurses busied themselves taking her temperature and checking her rash, as the doctor took a double take at the extent of the rash, I felt somewhat justified about having made the appointment, taken the time to go in, feeling sheepish standing at the secret rash entrance waiting for someone to let us in, and sitting forever waiting in the exam room.

Then they delivered the verdict. It’s a virus. There’s nothing we can do. Just like I said.

Mommies who complain about not getting sick days get punished

standard March 6, 2009 5 responses

I went to bed last night and was woken up shortly after by a coughing, coughing, coughing child. I went to tend to her, gave her some asthma medicine and went back to bed. Her sister immediately woke up and started crying. She was running a fever, a pretty high fever actually. Then she started coughing too.

I’d love to tell you that the night got better after that, but it would be a total and utter lie. In fact, the rest of the night included vomit, changed sheets, more vomit, more changed sheets, more asthma medication, lots more asthma medication, standing in front of a steaming shower, and finally, two very, very brief hours of sleep.

The only conclusion I can draw from this is that karma is reading my blog and decided to punish me for whining about not getting a sick day. Because clearly not getting a sick day is nothing compared to not getting a sick day because you have to care for two very cranky, feverish, needy children on barely two hours of sleep.

Luckily, about an hour after my head exploded from all the whining and fussing M came home and rescued the children from me.

Mommies don’t get sick days

standard March 5, 2009 3 responses

When I woke up this morning I felt nauseous, stuffy, and all around icky. A lifetime ago I would have turned off the alarm, rolled over, and made a mental note to call in sick an hour or so later. This morning I suppressed the urge to puke, got up, and faced the day.

There was a toddler to hug and a preschooler to feed. There was asthma medicine to be dispensed. There was a lunch to be packed and there were children to be dressed. The laundry was calling and the kitchen was a mess. And even though I wanted to pack it all in and beg M just to take the kids to daycare so I could go back to bed, all I could hear was C say to her daddy “I get to paint today! Did you know they have an easel at school daddy? An easel with lots of different colors!”

On May 17, 2005 it stopped being all about me. And yes, I know it’s important for mommies to take care of their needs, blah, blah, blah, but it’s also a fact of life that we have to take care of our families. And if that means sucking it up when we don’t feel very well, or pushing through the day when we haven’t slept, well then so be it.

This morning I sipped lemon ginger tea to settle my stomach while I brushed Little L and C’s hair. I dressed them and popped them into the car. After dropping them off I took up residence in my usual coffee shop and sipped more ginger tea while I waited for preschool to let out. I didn’t feel well. I didn’t want to be there, I wanted to be in bed. I kept a close eye on the clock, counting down the hours until I’d be able to nap, but I was where I had to be and I made the best of the situation by getting some much needed work done.

I finally made it home and after putting out a few work fires I dropped into my bed and closed my eyes. My head was pounding and my stomach was achy, but it felt amazing to finally rest my head on my flannel pillow. I didn’t open my eyes again until I heard a familiar little voice chirp “Where’s mommy? She was supposed to be there on the couch working, but she’s not here. She must be out eating lunch.”

I smiled, dragged myself out of bed, and went to welcome my little family home. I swallowed some ibuprofen and hoped it would take care of my headache. Little children needed to be fed, bathed, and put to bed, and lots of hugs and kisses needed to be dispensed. Mommy was needed again.