|"We're not broken, just bent, and we can learn to |
You describe me perfectly during certain difficult parenting moments--namely when my kiddos are ill or injured. More accurately, I become "totally bent-out-of-shape" or "
Yes, children get sick and hurt. It is a fact of life. No precautions on anyone's part can totally prevent them, and we just hope that in the process of these unwelcome events that either we build immunity to ward off future illnesses or learn from our mistakes to not get hurt the same way again. Except This Mama seems unable to "learn."
Dear Son became sick again--for the fourth time this winter--earlier this week. Suffice it to say, when body temperature reaches 103 to 104 degrees and the doctor's office is closed, I naturally begin to panic. You see, I have unknowingly inherited the Worry Gene in its dominant and homozygous form. I worry and I know it.
Not only do I panic, but I start to hear voices inside my head bickering with one another. And the battle between Logical Me and Crazy Me can be quite vigorous:
CM: How on earth am I going to be able to sleep tonight when DS has a fever this high? I'm going to be up half the night making sure he hasn't had a febrile seizure in his sleep. Wait, can one have a seizure in one's sleep?
LM: Don't be silly. He will be fine. He took ibuprofen and his temperature will come down in a little while. It always does.
CM: It's been twenty minutes and he's still 103.8. OMG, his brain is going to fry. This is way too high. Is he going to be all right?
LM: He's had temps this high before. Don't you remember? It will come down; just give it some time. He's sleeping fine, so just take him to the pediatrician in the morning.
CM: He has? Really? I don't remember. 104 is really high. Is he going to be okay? How am I ever going to sleep at all? Well, I just won't. Damn this fever. I am so worried.
Amidst this frantic conversation, I slowly begin to realize that I'm talking out loud and not just inside my head. Wait a second, Crazy Me is talking out loud. And Logical Me is responding out loud, too. Oh, I realize I've really lost it, because I have been having a conversation with Dear Husband all this time. He's the one with all the logical thoughts. Hmmm. (And he's really not understanding how I can not remember when just weeks ago DS had a temperature of 104 and this exact same conversation took place then as well.)
(For the record, I don't understand it either.)
I really lose it when my kids get sick. Panic sets in and my brain becomes worthy of comparison to gelatin. Part of the problem is that I lose all recollection to the kiddos' prior illnesses, their symptoms, order of events, and the days it took to get better. The other part of the problem is that in the peak of my panic, I can no longer think logically, so I begin to think the only other way: illogically and in the worse case scenario way. My mind goes wherever it shouldn't go. All the what-ifs rise from the dead in a dark, spooky, and chilly cemetery to haunt me. I look at each one of them in the eyes for a split second before realizing how ridiculous I am to even consider the possibility of any of them. But sometimes a few just seems almost plausible that it scares the bejeezus out of me. The mind works in crazy ways.
Really. All I really want is for my child to get well. And I'd give anything for that to happen.
My only way out of Panic Mode is seeing improvement. When the fever finally breaks, I can then exhale all that stale, worried air in my lungs. Or when we see the doctor, get a diagnosis, and get the meds. Then I can sleep again.
DS is all better now (it was an ear infection, something he's only ever had once when he was one). He'll be on amoxicillin for ten days, and is bouncing off the walls already. And I'm taking mental notes on this one so that DH won't accuse me of not ever believing what he says next time a kiddo gets sick.
Except I know that I still won't believe him anyway when that time comes.
So, Dear Bent, I am straightening out from this sick episode, but still in amazement as to how worried