Thursday, August 27, 2009

a rather challenging week of motherhood

Yesterday, after 2 emergency room visits, time logged in at the pediatrician, and an extensive ophthamology visit, during which we were assured Jack didn't have meningitis or a brain tumor, a CT scan showed he has a significant sinus infection. That explains the throbbing, shooting pains in his temples, behind his eyes, in his forehead. The lethargy that's had him napping for 2 to 3 hours every afternoon. The need for constant steaming towels pressed against his face. It’s been almost a week of him curled in a ball on the floor, in his bed, on the couch, in my lap begging for me to help him. His terror that something terrible was wrong, that he’d never get better.

As diagnoses go, a sinus infection is a great. They’re horrendous—I’ve suffered through them for many years—but treatable. On the other hand, the recovery can be long and there’s no immediate relief. Even though we know what to give Jack, he doesn’t feel any better today and now he’s got even more medicine to take. Sudafed, Motrin, Mucinex. Each dose is a nightmare to get into him. Today we’re adding antibiotics and a nasal spray. He doesn’t believe the meds are helping and it’s hard to convince him they’re secretly waging a winning war inside his head. And while there’s relief in knowing what he has, the absence of panic has opened up room for anger and frustration from everyone. We’re all sleep-deprived. Last night (or was it two nights ago), Jon reamed me for not being firm enough. It was 3 in the morning and I couldn’t get Motrin into Jack. Crushing capsules into ice cream, cutting them into tiny pieces to eat with pretzels, mixing liquid into Gatorade—he wasn’t having it. Threats of return visits to the hospital, bribes of video games didn’t help either. I walked out and left Jon to firmly deal. Needless to say, he couldn’t close. Iz is now melting left and right. I know it’s hard when all attention is focused on one kid. For the rest of her life she’ll resent that I bought him every kind of junk food he loves—cheetos, cheezits, oreos, oreo cakesters, ice pops, pretzels, Cape Cold potato chips—to entice him to eat. That time spent with him in hospitals and waiting rooms wasn’t meant to exclude her from fun-filled adventures. That it’s impossible to spend alone time with her when my other child is in searing pain.

At this point, I feel like I'm slowly swimming through an endless dream, disconnected and disembodied. Waking life has been remarkably like my nightmares—and at times almost as dramatic as the nearly drowning or being trapped without a way out in a strange house last night. At least once a day I locked myself in the bathroom so I could sob without restraint, other times holding tight to Jon as fear took over, once burying my head in Iz’s lap, desperate for reassurance.

I’ve cajoled, yelled, panicked, begged, encouraged, entertained, freaked, supported, engaged, bribed, threatened, cried. I’ve talked until I have nothing left to say, to the staff at the hospital, the doctor’s office, the drugstore, the acupuncturists and chiropractors and alternative care people I’ve been in touch with. I haven’t sleep, worked, cleaned, organized a meal.

I’m also trying not to feel guilty. Guilty of not getting Jack help fast enough. Of not forcing the doctor to see him earlier. Of letting him talk his way out of medication. Of passing on the offer of a CT scan at his first ER visit. As Jack said to me this morning, “This is all your fault. If I had that test on Saturday, I’d be better now.” Yeah, he’s right. He would be.

Lessons learned:

Better safe than sorry.

Trust your gut.

And always take care of your sinuses.

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