Wednesday, October 21, 2009
When Mommy Worries
The aliens returned yesterday. My sense of humor about it left with the mothership the night before. It was not a fun evening in our house. And now I'm worried. I think we have some of the explanation of Teagan's behavior. She's sick. Broke out a 99.7 fever last night. She's had a cough for a couple of days now. She's home sick with Daddy- who is also under the weather with chest congestion and a cough. I don't normally fret much when my kids are sick. It's a stressor, sure. Extra care and comfort, medicine, humidifiers, vaporizers, tissues, night wakings. Hearing my babies cough, sneeze, be hoarse. It's not easy. But it happens and I take it in stride as best I can. Kids get sick. Adults get sick. But we got an e-mail from school yesterday. It was a reminder of the illness policy. And it also shared the following: We have had NO confirmed cases of H1N1, and one confirmed case of influenza. Finally, I want to make you aware of a virus that we are seeing for the second time. We have had two children who have had cold/flu like symptoms and toward the end of the occurrence, they both experienced severe pain in their legs. Both of them began with slight pain, mentioning it in passing. The pain increased over a period of 2-3 days, until both of them were unable to support weight on their legs at all. Both of these children were diagnosed with a virus that has settled and is attacking their joints. The virus should resolve itself, and leave no residual effects. I tell you this because, a) it would be extremely frightening to see your child wake up and not be able to walk. and b) I want you to be alert to any symptoms such as this which aren't necessarily "typical" of what we're on the lookout for right now. Teagan has been waking at night, legs thrashing, muscles constricting, crying and seeming to be in pain. But when she's been asleep, you can't wake her enough to tell you what's going on. So I'm scared she has this virus or maybe has this virus or might be getting this virus or... It's not like she's never woken with leg pain. She seems prone to growing pains and has had a charley horse from time to time. But that knowledge about the 2 kids at school, coupled with her out of character behavior the past 2 evenings, the night waking, and now the fever... I'm concerned. I'm stressed. I'm worried. When Zach was only a few months old, I felt this worry. He had a respiratory illness. We made a few trips to the doctor, one trip to the ER. It wasn't RSV, it wasn't asthma. We set up a canopied area with a humidifier in the living room. Eventually, we turned our bedroom into his medical room- humidifier running, menthol plugins, TV and rocking chair. My mom stayed with us to help out so we could find time to go to work, be at home, trade off care time. It was hard, it was stressful, I was worried about what would happen next. I haven't been very concerned about H1N1. I don't know that we will be able to get the vaccine since it seems to be in such short supply these days. I have mixed emotions about the whole thing but my general sense is we just spend the next several months being even more cautious about hand washing, kitchen and bathroom cleaning, replacing toothbrushes monthly instead of every 6 months, washing pillow cases, towels and sheets more often and in hot water. But this virus attacking the joints... if Teagan gets that... if Zach gets that... I don't know what I will do. It scares me. I don't know how or if I can handle my babies being in pain that I can do nothing to salve. I'm getting choked up right now just thinking about it. I hate this. I hate feeling out of control, facing the unknown. Being a working parent complicates matters. I have to admit that work provides a nice escape and plenty of distraction. And then I feel guilty for feeling that way. I want to be home. I want to be able to observe and see with my own eyes how she is doing. I want to be there to encourage her to eat soup and drink juice. I want to snuggle with her on the couch and watch movies together. I want to read her books and help her play on the computer (she loves PBSKids.org and Starfall). Jeff is able to stay home with her today and he will take great care of her and maybe even feel up to doing a little around the house- some laundry, sorting clean clothes, straightening up the living room. There's just still this Mommy guilt at not being there myself. Zach was sick last week. Teagan and Jeff are sick this week. I'm hoping my turn can at least wait until my already scheduled time off next week. There is just a lot going on the next 10 days... Zach's 2nd birthday, Teagan's school's family Harvest Party, Zach's birthday celebration and dinner, Teagan's class Harvest Party that another mom and I are throwing (as co-room parents), Halloween. I think I could squeeze in my own illness on 10/30. So keep us in your thoughts and prayers, please. We are blessed that Zach's illness last week wasn't any worse than it ended up being. He's still a bit congested but he is a little better each day. He's had Miss Lisa mostly to himself since last Thursday- another boy has croup and another is also very sick (he has asthma, is sick, and has had a trip or 2 to the ER with this round of illness). Now- go wash your hands.