Tag Archives: sick

Birthday Week: The Eve

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My secondborn opted to not have a meltdown until after the five-hour car trip, which is, I suppose, a small mercy.

After an immensely draining day at work, a five-hour drive, and more shoving aside fears of flying tomorrow morning at 6 a.m. than I can count, I was ready to collapse into bed and get, say, four hours of sleep. But my 4-year-old decided that she didn’t want to sleep in her own guest bed. She didn’t want to sleep anywhere but with my wife and me (and, by default, the baby), which made my 6-year-old want the same thing. There was weeping. Mostly hers.

She’s settled down now, but she’s like that. Earlier this week, she began sobbing that her tummy hurt, telling me of the pain in her most desperate voice, only to immediately stop and tell me it didn’t. I think she was just on autopilot from the day before when she was throwing up every 20 minutes or so for 18 hours; she’d just gotten so use at shouting her ailment and my wife and me, routine briefly took over.

She seems to be fine now. The tears have stopped.

I fly in the morning.

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Birthday Week: Kicking Worry

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As I noted over the weekend, my daughters each started an activity recently: softball for the 6-year-old and ballet for the 4-year-old. My wife and I committed the family to months of weekly or multi-weekly activities. The girls loved the first days of their respective pursuits and went to bed happy. My wife and I celebrated by watching the Bronies documentary streaming on Netflix that night. It made us both get all teary eyed.

Last week ended well, but this week didn’t start off so great. My 4-year-old woke me at 4:45 a.m. on Sunday asking for water, then more water, then some food. She had refused to eat dinner the night before, so I guessed she was fairly hungry. I made her a bowl of cereal and toast. At about 6 a.m., she started throwing up, an activity that—unlike ballet—continued for another 14 or 15 hours.

On Monday, I wasn’t feeling great—nobody in the family was, except for our first grader—so everyone (but the first grader) stayed home. And though she was keeping down food at that point, my secondborn then declared, sobbing, that her throat hurt. Of course, throwing up for an entire day will make anyone’s throat raw, but I immediately began worrying about antibiotic-resistant strep throat, since she had strep a month earlier.

Before you judge me, know that I’m about to fly soon—I’m heading to New Orleans for the Dad 2.0 Summit later this week—and I’m a terrified flyer in the best of times. Louisiana is currently in the grip of what meteorologists are calling a “once-in-a-generation winter storm.”

Tie all that up with a particularly stressful season at work and you’ll get an idea of why my mind is racing many miles a minute.

I’ve written about dread before in the Shallows, and that’s what really gets me: Dread that something bad will happen on (or to) my flight. Dread that my kid will get really sick. Dread that the flight will be fine, but my kid will be seriously sick while I’m far away.

My trip is coinciding with my 35th birthday. Here’s to hoping that 35 marks a year of less worry—less to worry about and less energy given to worry from my end. On that note, I’ll be writing Worry Wednesday posts only occasionally. I’ll still write on Wednesdays, but I don’t want to give all of them over to what’s eating away at me. I still want to leave that door open, though, since there’s something therapeutic about pouring it all out.

Sometimes.

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Outside Week: Worry Wednesday

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Taking the kids outside of the house means exposing them to germs. Forget fresh air; people don’t cover their mouths when they cough and sneeze around town.

Since I can’t actually isolate my children, they do get sick. My son started getting a fever on Tuesday evening—101.4 going up to 102—which pretty much shut me down with worry for the rest of the night. Yes, despite me knowing that it’s not even that high of a fever.

It’s not so much worry as it is dread, I think. Author Orson Scott Card once wrote about dread: “It is that tension, that waiting that comes when you know there is something to fear but you have not yet identified what it is. The fear that comes when you first realize that your spouse should have been home hours ago; when you hear a strange sound in the baby’s bedroom; when you realize that a window you are sure you closed is now open, the curtains billowing, and you’re alone in the house.”

(I’m pretty sure that’s what I remember reading from a story collection of his back in high school. I couldn’t find the quote firsthand, so I turned to the Internet for help and can’t vouch for its total accuracy. I mean, it seems fine, but often so do words of wisdom mistakenly attributed to Einstein and Lincoln.)

Anyway.

At bedtime, I read a story packed with similes to my girls, and we took turns practicing creating some of our own: “We are as cozy as … ”

“Mice!” my firstborn said.

“We’re as sleepy as … ”

“Mice!” she said again.

I then turned to specifics of our family, saying one girl was as sweet as … and the other was as fun as … . Then I threw out: “Your brother is as sick as … ”

“A sick baby!” my secondborn shouted.

While my firstborn said, “Cancer!”

The little dude’s fever was gone the next day, and I know modern medicine has relegated to folklore the idea of teething causing a temperature rise, but darned if he didn’t have a giant tooth sticking out of his gums where there was just a little sliver of white before.

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Late Week: Worry Wednesday

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My goal to post each day—except maybe Sundays—on this blog was tested when I realized that starting a post at 11:47 p.m. is a bit late, even for a week themed on being less than punctual.

Fortunately, I have no shortage of stuff to worry about, so it’s easy for me to pull something off the top of my head. Let’s see … hmmm … yep: meningitis.

Several college students at a college in a nearby county came down with meningitis a few weeks back, and a college student in my town developed a case of it even more recently. I can’t remember which is worse, and which is communicable despite the vaccine—bacterial or viral—but none of that matters to a worrying mind such as mine. I’ve already established that I can quickly go to some dark and medically impossible scenarios with very little provocation, such as my kid sipping a soda she found.

I was recently struck by the realization that this health-based worrying came to me late in life. Late in my life, I mean. I’m 34, but the germaphobia started a little more than six years ago, which—coincidentally?—is when I was just getting to know our newborn daughter.

The world wasn’t so scary to me when I was a kid, a college student, a young working professional, even a newlywed.

Having kids, though, changed me into something new—something paranoid and freaked out by even trivial stuff. So when one of my kids gets a runny nose and a slight cough, forget that the others have been sick, too, for days, and are getting better. It must be meningitis.

Of course, somewhere deep inside, I know I’m overreacting. I wouldn’t be able to survive otherwise.

But the girls do have strep throat right now. So there’s that.

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