You are here

Running on Worry, Adrenaline, and Coffee

Is there anything as powerful as a sick child that can keep a mom running on nothing more than worry, adrenaline, and coffee for days without crashing?

Gabby has been sick for days. The type of sick where you have the doctor on speed dial and know the answering service people on a first-name basis. (Oh, hi, Susan. Jennifer here again!) It is not the type of illness where you give them some ibuprofen, some juice, and send them off to bed. It is the kind of sick where we are watching her around the clock and piggybacking medicines to attempt to keep her fever down. (Which, so far, is not very successful but it's keeping it lower than the danger zone.)

On Wednesday, Gabby began to complain of not feeling very well. By that night she had a 104.7 fever. We medicated her, called the doctor, and got her in to see her pediatrician first thing on Thursday. He said she has the flu and it was most likely the H1N1 version. (Most likely?!) Of course Friday night after the doctors have left for the comfort of their homes, all hell breaks loose with my daughter.

Her fever shoots up. She begins screaming with ear pain. We manage to get that under control. I called the “on-call triage nurse” who said that we were doing the right thing. From there we went through severe bladder pain, the other ear beginning to hurt to the point of screaming, and absolute listlessness -- not eating or drinking and becoming dehydrated.

I finally got her to the doctor Monday. Her regular pediatrician was out so we saw his partner. The doctor was as baffled as we were. Her symptoms don’t match what they see. And? The doctor decided to give me attitude, as if I am either making the things up that Gabby is saying hurt, or it somehow comes around to me not doing my job. On top of everything else, I do not need a doctor to try to make me feel guilty.

They drew blood, which is very hard to do on a dehydrated child, and they took chest x-rays. We are waiting on some of the blood work. The chest x-ray says it is pneumonia. One of the blood work results indicated that there is some inflammation in her body but that is not consistent with pneumonia. (Great. Even the blood work is confused!)

So we wait. We watch movies. We drink lots of Gatorade. We pray. We sleep.

We are sleeping in rooms attached to each other. We are both on couches and within easy hearing range. I can hear her breathing as I type this -- which is easy when she is wheezing and coughing every few minutes.

My baby is sick, and I have not been able to make her better. That hurts. I am her mother and I am supposed to make everything okay, but I cannot do that. I cannot even get a doctor to figure out what is wrong with her. It breaks my heart.

If a mother’s worry were medicine, she would be totally healthy by now, and we would both be sleeping peacefully. (And I would be much better at stringing together sentences that made sense. But moms, I am guessing if you have ever had a sick child, you understand the babblings of a sleep deprived, worried mother.)