Tag Archives: parent

My Baby’s Sick

As a mom, the worst thing in the world is when my child is sick.  I’m a natural worrywart… but with Eve, I have a good excuse.  When she was 2, I put her down for a nap one afternoon, turned on the monitor, and called my husband.  I immediately said to him, “She’s making a funny noise.  I’m going to go check on her.”  When I picked her up, she was hot as an iron.  Her eyes had rolled back into her head, and her hand was shaking in tremor.  The sound was her choking on drool.  Within the space of two minutes, she had developed a nearly 106 fever and began to seize.  I rushed her to the ER, moaning, “Hang on, baby” the whole way.  They were unable to bring her fever down below 103, but she began to stabilize.


The doctors needed to rule out life-threatening conditions, like meningitis or tumor… so in the space of eight hours, they subjected my tiny girl to a CAT scan, blood tests, urine tests by catheterization (which I know as an adult was excruciating for me).  She was terrified, in pain, and horribly sick.  I thought our hearts couldn’t break into any more pieces.  But then came the spinal tap.They administered an intravenous sedative – Twilight Sleep, they called it – and said she would be semiconscious, but would not feel or remember anything.  Her face soon glazed over, and I was relieved that she was at least unconscious and could be spared further trauma.  When they inserted the catheter into her tiny spine, her little face remained expressionless and frozen… but one tiny tear slid down her cheek and dripped off her chin.  My baby was awake and feeling everything – but could not move or scream for help.  That sight, that knowledge, will forever remain etched in my memory as one of the worst moments of my life.  It never fails to crush me, every time I remember.

Almost four years later, she is now free of the inexplicable, sudden life-threatening fevers and seizures – and 911 calls and ambulances, ER visits, and multitude of tests – that plagued her for over two years.  But whenever she is the slightest bit ill – especially when she has a fever – I panic.  I can’t help it.

But Eve, almost six and very precocious and cunning, knows this… and milks it for all it’s worth.


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A Gift from My Grandfather

Excerpted from my grandfather’s will. He died when my father was ten, making him an orphan (his mother died in 1928, of complications that arose from my father’s birth) and immersing the family in a fierce custody battle over him between his very young stepmother and his much-older siblings. My father had found a box of old papers and photographs that had been given to him when his sister died; and he was so excited to show me the dozens of court documents that detailed the turmoil of his young life.  This last page of his father’s will was among them.  It is especially poignant now that my father is 81 and ill with cancer.  

Rather than saddening me, it gave me an unexpected moment of peace and joy.  Somehow, a man I never had the opportunity to know had reached across decades to give a bit of comfort to his son and unknown granddaughter.  It showed me, in an instant, how the truly good soul of my father had been shaped in ten brief years.

And it reaffirms a universal truth:  the gift of a father’s love is utterly timeless.
Thank you, Grandfather. Until we all meet again.  

New Rochelle, N.Y.
February 24th 1937.  

If this will is found with my effects after my death it will be my only will and it is my last will, and cancels any will I may have made prior to this date.

In this my last will and testament I leave my love and hopes to my children for a long and happy life and ask that my furneal [sic] be of simple form, with least possible expense, and above all things remember that I have just gone ahead for a while so smile and make the best of the changed conditions, and be of good heart, and never forget your God, place your full faith in God and always look upwards and you never need to fear for the future or what is called death.

My love to all of you my children who have always been fine, beautiful and everything any father can hope for, I only wish I could feel that I was as good a father as you have been children.
Until we meet – again.
In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal the day and year first above written.
HC Olsen

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Filed under Family, Grief and Loss, Parents