There are very few things that scare me. Chickens (or anything with feathers that move), vermin (more disgusting than scary, really), ghosts. But nothing compares to that feeling of terror and utter helplessness that overwhelms me everytime one of the kids get sick. Oh, the usual cold and the occasional cough I can take. In fact, I've become an expert at handling these types of things. But the minute they get a fever I go to pieces. There's just something inherently scary to me about fevers -- probably the fact that you never know what's causing them. My overactive (and morbid!) imagination goes all sorts of places it shouldn't go to that it drives me crazy.
So when Faith gets a fever of more than 38 degrees three weeks ago, I switch into the Oh-no-it's-the-paranoid-mom-from-hell mode the kids' pediatrician knows (and loves) so well.
It's this kind of behavior that earned me the slot in his cellphone's memory card. I no longer hear the polite, 'yes, who's this?', instead, it's "O, menchie, what's up?' when I dial his number. But thank goodness for being paranoid. A few hours post paracetamol (fever still high) and two calls to the pedia later, we were on our way to the ER. I had all the tests done and it turns out that she had a bacterial infection. Faith was admitted, had an IV inserted into her arm and we were on our way to hospital stay hell.
And what a hell it was. Ever stayed with a cranky, feverish, whiny, clingy-I-want-mommy-only toddler in a hospital before? I wouldn't wish it on my enemies. Let me tell you, my nerves were shot from worrying about Faith's on and off fever, her persistent cold and cough, her terror and hysterical crying everytime a nurse would come near her for her nebulizer dose or to change her shirt (was hard to change her due to the IV). Not to mention the way Faith would pull at the IV tubes in frustration trying to pull them off. We were both exhausted -- her from crying and not being able to sleep comfortably and me from the worrying and lack of sleep because Faith refused to sleep on anything except me (literally on top of me). Any little movement I made to be comfortable would wake her and set off her crying bouts until she dozed off and we had to repeat the cycle again. She didn't want me to lie down or sit up -- she had to be rocked standing up. It was a very long five days and a heck of a way to celebrate your 5th wedding anniversary.
This experience is second only to when I gave birth to Josh but it was just as physically hard and emotionally draining. My husband told me he couldn't imagine how I could handle the stress and still be patient with Faith. I was thinking that I did it because it had to be done. There was just no question about it -- I don’t think any mom would have done less than what I did those 5 days. My baby was hurting and I had to be there -- I couldn't take the pain away but I could give whatever little comfort she could take from me.
I mentioned it was our 5th year wedding anniversary -- it happened in the middle of Faith's hospital stay. Needless to say, there was no romantic dinner date, not even a movie date. But I did point out to Jun that instead of a one night date, we actually had a 5 day date where we were together from morning till well…the next morning. I know it's stretching the whole look on the bright side thing but we just take what we can out of the situation right? And that's what I choose to take out of all this. I told my husband on our wedding anniversary that on the scale of "in good times and in bad" on our wedding vows, while this would probably weigh closer to the bad times, I couldn’t imagine spending it with anyone else but him.