Corrigan is sick again.
I want to rant and cry and kick something really hard but there is no time for wallowing in anger and self-pity when there’s a sick little boy that needs attention. And I still have a sick big boy that is still suffering bouts of lung pain and isn’t out of the woods yet on his own illness. It sure doesn’t seem fair, that’s for sure but if these last few months have taught me anything, it is that whatever is going to happen is going to happen whether I get super upset or stay super zen about it all.
Might as well stay zen then, eh?
Last evening, I was alone with Corrigan and he was practically choking on phlegm and his fever was inching up and right around the time my anxiety would start to kick in, I made a deliberate and conscious decision to approach it all like Mark does, rather than set off on my usual rollercoaster ride of worried emotions and concerns.
I had given him a bath to loosen up the congestion. We had snuggled and I rubbed special lotion on his feet. I had dosed him with fever reducer and helped him sip as much juice as he wanted before bed. I had him propped up so that he wouldn’t feel choked and his feeding pump was running a special blend of extra calories and electrolytes. I assessed the situation as if I were his nurse.
He was stable. He was calm. I had done everything I could do for the next few hours. He was showing no signs of neurological decompensation and he was willingly eating and drinking. Now, I could go to my room and lay in my bed and start freaking out about packing hospital bags, and scrubbing floors. I could have laid there planning the week ahead just in case Corrigan and I ended up in Baltimore. Connor still has doctor’s appointments too and a very important chest x-ray at the end of this week, Corrigan getting sick throws a wrench into my one-working-car life, but it is manageable.
It is all manageable.
Instead of fretting, I came downstairs and scratched out a quick list. It has only been two weeks since Connor got home from his 11-day hospital stay, and only two months since Corrigan’s 8-day stay at Hopkins. My hospital bag is well stocked, both events giving me greater clarity as to what I really need to pack and what I can leave behind. Everything is ready in case we need to go and visit friends in the ER again.
I got a shower, and not a fast one, taking time to get everything done in case I wouldn’t be seeing my bathroom for another week and I tossed a load of towels in the wash. I looked at my floors and shrugged my shoulders. I could mop them, but it was late and if someone can’t understand that my floors aren’t spotless in the midst of my crazy life well then…whatever.
I watched a tv show on Hulu. I enjoyed it, even. I checked on Corrigan shortly after it finished and his temperature was normal. I mentally patted myself on the back, the previous hour had been fruitful and not panicky. I could handle the next hour just as well, so I did. Each time that I went in his room, I made sure that everything I could do to make him comfortable was done and I reassessed his condition. Then I walked out of his room and made a choice to spend the next 60 minutes calm.
He woke many many times last night and each time I took a deep breath and slowed my heart rate before I walked into his room. When I crawled up beside him to stroke his hair while he wheezed, I focused on happy thoughts. I imagined him feeling far better in the morning. I prayed for him quietly and felt peace.
This morning he was in far better shape than even my positive mind could have imagined, though he did throw up once and he has lost his voice. I managed to sleep pretty well between room checks and I still haven’t touched my hospital bags. We have built forts and I have slowly finished up my laundry. I’ve remembered to eat both breakfast and lunch and am considering a nap since Corrigan just fell asleep too.
Now none of this is meant to illustrate that in other instances, I am some kind of basket case, because I am, most certainly, not. I am calm and reasonable and make sound decisions. Surely no hospital professional would ever describe me as “nervous” or “anxious”, in fact, I portray the opposite in public and around my family as best that I can. However, what takes place in the quiet of my mind, the troubled thoughts that can lead me down the path to pity and sadness, defeat me before the battle truly begins. What I end up doing is wearing myself out before the door to the ER slides open. Then I am left working at a deficit for however long a hospitalization lasts, which means that I am not running at 100% like I need to be.
I am slowly learning, over far too many years it seems, that the extra burden of worry, that thinking of all of the worst-case-scenarios, and mentally living them out before they even manifest, is something that I don’t have room for in my hospital bag. I need that space for microwavable mac-n-cheese and quarters for the coffee machine.
I hardly recognize myself really. Maybe I am coming down with something too.