Tag Archives: sick

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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Flu Confidential

Monday, November 2, 5:01 PM
I leave work at the Empire State College Registrar’s Office in Saratoga.  I unlock my car, get in, turn the ignition.  Notice a little tickle in my throat; wish I’d remembered to fill up my water bottle at the cooler before I left.

Monday, 5:35 PM
I manage to park my car in the driveway and stagger into the house.  My husband catches me, alarmed.  My temperature is 102.  I fall into bed, wracked with chills.  I’ve never been so crushed by an illness. This is a whole new animal.  Pun intended.
Eve, unconcerned with her mother’s fate
Tuesday, November 3, 6:35 AM
I awaken to my daughter’s face peering at me.  She is poking me in the head.  She has had enough of me being quarantined, and wants breakfast.  I tell her she has to stay away from Mommy for another few days.  She bursts into tears and cries, “I just want a hug!”  So I make her put a blanket over her head and hug her around the waist, from behind.  She is mollified for the time being.

Me in all my pathetic, bloodshot glory
Tuesday, 8:32 PM
I haven’t eaten anything all day.  My husband orders Chinese food, which is not exactly convalescent food – but I didn’t have to make it, and that’s all that matters.  He makes me lots of tea, and take comfort in the honey and hot liquid that is just slightly hotter than my burning throat, though my glands are so swollen that I can hardly swallow. I’m coughing so hard that my back and stomach muscles ache.

Wednesday, November 4, 12:13 PM
My fever is still out of control, nearly 103.  No one’s home to police my actions.  I’m delirious and and can’t remember when I last took medicine.  I pop five ibuprofen and wait an hour – nothing.  I start downing Tylenol; suddenly dizzy, it occurs to me that maybe I’ve overdosed.  If it’d help me sleep through these wracking body aches, I would actually welcome it.  My father calls.  I make the mistake of telling him I have the swine flu.  Now I have two panicky parents calling every half-hour with advice and new warnings.

Thursday, November 5, 3:15 PM
I started to feel a little better… but then my fever spikes back up to 101.7.  I’m shaking like a leaf while I wait for the afternoon kindergarten bus to arrive.  I’m hacking up a storm and I feel like I’m going to start bleeding out of my ears.

My sweet girl’s note
My husband, who has been great through this – staying home to keep our daughter out of my quarantine, taking care of meals, making me tea, giving me medicine – says, “Did you orchestrate this so we’d know what it’s like without you?  We get it!  Get better already!”

When will this ever end?  Damn pigs!  When I recover, I’m going to eat as much bacon as I can stuff into my mouth!  Or maybe Westphalian ham… or serrano… or prosciutto… or pancetta…  lots of delicious ways to get my revenge.

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