Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Motherhood and More: With sick child comes Mom’s anxiety

I suppose there comes a time in every mother’s life when she’s sitting next to her child who fell asleep on the couch after puking all over himself and his bed. Twice.

I know, I know. I’m lucky it hasn’t happened before.

My husband became ill first, but we all just assumed it was food poisoning since he was the only one who showed any symptoms. He recovered, mostly, and life went on. And then a couple days later, after an afternoon snack of popcorn and Pez candy, Sebastian announced his stomach hurt.

My kids don’t seem to get sick like other kids I’ve known. Sure, they’ll have colds or maybe the occasional bouts of strep throat we were blessed with last winter and spring, but even so, they never act how I’d expect someone sick to act.

Meaning that instead of lounging all day watching endless episodes of "Wild Kratts," my kids run up and down the sign-in area at the doctor’s office laughing and chasing each other.

I’m afraid I look like I’m faking my kids’ illnesses whenever we go in. And the only way I can actually tell they’re sick is that the 2- and 4-year-old attitudes I usually deal with are amplified.

But this time it wasn’t like that. He grabbed a blanket and lay down. He didn’t move much until all the puking started. And, oh, the puking. I missed the first one because I was putting Adele to bed, Adele who was screaming because she got her 2-year-vaccines and, probably, because she’s got the same stomach virus her brother is afflicted with.

My husband cleaned him up and we got him into bed, where he fell asleep when I was reading him a story, which has only happened twice before – once when he was an infant and once when he had the flu. And so I understandably worry. It hurts not to be able to make him feel better. It hurts to be helpless. But he’s convinced, because of a YouTube Magic Schoolbus episode, I believe, that little superheroes inside him are fighting the bad germs to help him heal.

“I hope they get the bad germs fast and make me feel better,” he said, specifically to break my heart, I’m convinced.

And so I will hold vigil next to him, rolling him over as he pukes for the fourth time in two hours, not even waking up this time. I will wake up multiple times in the night to clean him back up and change the sheets. We lay down on the couch where he will spend the night. I will make sure he drinks as much fluid as I can force him to, and I will agonize over the fact that my normally wild, rambunctious little guy is reduced to lying down all day and even taking an usually unheard of nap.

Oh, my sweet boy. I hope they get those bad germs making you feel sick soon, too.

 *This column originally published in The News-Enterprise on September 26, 2012.  

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