A Mother’s Guilt

“Mom! Mom!” I bolted upright from a dead sleep sure that some new crisis had arisen. “What buddy?” I groggily call back trying to find my glasses. “I am all cured. No stomach ache, no headache!” “That is great buddy, but it is only 7 a.m. go back to sleep!” June 3/17 @ 6:55 a.m. 

This is my week with T. My heart. My soul. I watched him cry and sob as his head throbbed and his tummy hurt. I felt as though that pain would cleave me in two. I could do nothing to help him.

After our doctor appointment on Wednesday I text my boss to let him know that T was down and out for the next two days. I was in a way hoping that he would tell me that I should take the time and be with my son. For it is my week and he is ill on my watch. The offer was not made so I had to take my ex up on his offer to watch T for me. He felt that he ‘owed’ me.

Thursday morning he arrived to pick T up. T was still asleep when he got here. I woke him up and he stumbled up the stairs. Whimpering a little at the pain but a trooper still. I worked at 5:30 this morning so again asked what the plan was. Which is when I found out that T was not going to be home until today when I got off at 2. I walked down the stairs, my heart breaking in two and I cried.

Nothing mattered to me. I went to work, and thank goodness it was quiet. I spent my day tidying my desk and getting all my paperwork caught up that I had been neglecting for the longest time. Got organized. Do not need my boss to put down that the thing I need to work on is maintaining a clean desk. (In an aside, I have read that a messy desk is the sign of an intelligence person so who am I to argue?)

I text my ex. I tried calling. I could not get through. My heart begins to race. T never gets sick like this. The last time he was this sick was at about a year and a half, and we were in hospital for three days while he had pneumonia. I was scared sick, than feeling that I had failed him as a mother.

My evening was relatively quiet as I sat here. I text the ex a couple of times. I asked that T call me. I waited. And than he did. In tears. Telling me that his tummy hurt. Asking me why I had to go to work and could not come and get him. I tried to be so strong. I told him how great he was doing because he had not asked for Advil since 6:30 a.m. and it was 9:30 p.m. I asked how the pain was. Had he eaten? I could hear his fear. I told him I loved him and could I please speak to his dad?

I burst into tears when my ex got on the phone. I demanded to know what he was doing to help T. I was livid because I could tell that he had been drinking. His dad came out. It was a party. (Yes there is some lingering anger issues here) He tried to tell me it was all good. The I did not need to be there, he was. And I said to him “That is not what this is about. I am his mother. That I cannot be there to hold him, to help him kills me. When we get off the phone you go inside and you cuddle him. Promise me!”

He promised. I think he was chastened. I was sobbing. My baby needed me and yet I could not be there for him.

Do I not trust my ex to do the right thing? Not at all. However, I felt that he did not quite see how extreme this was. Our son is never sick. Sniffles, flu, but down and out? Never.

This morning I lasted until 9 a.m. before I text to see how T was. And was told he had not eaten. That he had puked. And I freaked. This was an escalation, not a getting better. Now I am panicking. I made an appointment with the Quick Care Clinic because, well, I am a mom and I jump to insane conclusions when my normally healthy child is so ill.

On Wednesday I got everything done before 8 a.m. Today, I was done by 7:30. I do what I have to do. But that is not where my heart is. I argue with my phone when I received messages that are not about T. I tried calling my ex and finally shot him a message saying that his house line was screwed and to please let me know what was going on with my son.

When I showed up at 2:30 to pick up T he did not come out to greet me. I was concerned. Asked the ex where is he? In the house.  I went in and he is laying on the couch his head covered and I look at the ex and say ‘He is still sleeping??????’ T pops up and looks at me. ‘Hi mom.’

Than he stood up. Oh dear lord, really? The pants he wore were six inches above his ankles. I looked at the ex and went really? What the hell are those? T bursts into tears and falls on couch covering himself with his blanket. I rush to him and apologize, brushing his tears away.

I tell him we will stop at home and change before the appointment at the Quick Care Clinic. That is when he tells me he does not want to go. His dad and I cajoled and he agreed. We walk outside and he trips falling head over heels. This has not been a good week for my baby.

His head is aching a little and as we drive along I try to hold his hand. He is not in the mood. Still a little weepy. When suddenly he announces that he is starving. I look at him and ask what he has eaten today? Nothing. We drive along and I tell him he has a choice. How is he feeling? Does he want to see the Nurse Practitioner? T tells me that he is feeling better. He is hungry.

I ask again what he would like for supper? He says to me you mean lunch right mom? Okay buddy what do you want? McDonald’s mom. I am really hungry.

I stared at him. The good mom is already nattering away, ‘Jay don’t you dare. He has not had anything substantial to eat in 72 hours. That is not the way to go.’ Mom who is experiencing reality and relief ‘Jay let the boy have whatever he wants so long as he eats it.’ T did ask for milk with his happy meal and drank it all. As well as eating everything.

As I sit here typing this, he is curled up in his bed, eating half a freezie watching Youtube. He was cracking jokes and making fun of me earlier so I know that he is on the upswing.

T is my life. Nothing and no body matters more to me than he does. That I could not be there for him each and every day that he was ill, when he required his mother to hold him and cuddle him, rips my heart asunder. The stress and fear that I felt because he was not in my presence, where I could ensure his well being, was crippling.

T is my life. He is my heart. He is my soul. He is my inspiration. He is the reason why I want to achieve and be a better person. And he is the only boy (man) who has the ability to rip the heart from my chest. And I will love him forever.

 

Are you dying?

Mom is a trained nurse. She is tough. When the bro and me were younger we so did not even dare to get sick during the week. Mom even brags about how good we were, always saving our sickness for the weekends. I can only remember staying home once and that was when I had Scarlet Fever and only than because we had a babysitter coming to the house.

My brother has asthma and rarely did he have an attack the precipitated a visit to the emergency room. I recall, again, only one incident. And it was late. Or later in the day on a holiday. I want to say Thanksgiving but am not sure.

This has lead me to going to work and pushing myself hard when I should be at home. In bed, sleeping and sipping hot drinks. Not cashiering and talking to/sneezing on my staff and customers. I have to suck it up though for I constantly hear my mom asking me if I am dead. (Inside joke dead or in the hospital the only way one was allowed to stay home).

Flash forward to yesterday when T is at M’s because Auntie K cannot watch him after school. Apparently he crawled right into K’s bed and told M had had been cold all day. I talked to him briefly re soccer and at first he wanted to go but two minutes later M is calling me to tell me he got out of bed and began to cry.

By the time I got home he had been let into the house and was curled up in his bed. I could feel the heat coming off him. I was able to persuade him to take a Tylenol which seemed to bring the fever down. Still had a headache and his tummy hurt. I fed him some soup and he was off  and into bed by 9 p.m. without a fight. Asleep in like 2 minutes.

Had to wake him up this morning at 5 to take him to the babysitter’s. Again I could feel the heat coming off of him and he began to cry. It hurt his head to stand and walk, his tummy was hurting again. I felt horrible but needed to be at work. I dropped him off with heavy heart and went to work.

My mind was not there. I went through and got everything done in record time. Everything from settling the store to getting inventory done. Watching and waiting for  8:30 a.m. so I can call the doctor’s office. In the two minutes it took me to get through this morning, our family doctor was fully booked up but we were able to get into the same day clinic.

I was frantic when Auntie K called to tell me T had a temperature of 103 but she had given him some Tylenol and he had eaten an orange. I no longer even had a thought about work. I watched the clock to 9:30 when my second got in. Raced through the doing of exceptions and tobacco daily inventory so I could be out by 10 a.m.

I ran across the parking lot which should give you an indication of how scared and worried I was. I may move at a fast walk but rarely do I break into a run. Got home transferred T from the van to my car. Talked with Auntie K for a few minutes and than we all went our separate ways.

T brings his stuffed dog into the doctor’s office. He ended up wearing my coat because he was freezing. And he cannot get comfortable. Wants to lie down but has grown so big that he is draped across my lap. He sat with his head on my lap and I ran my fingers through his hair and across his back. T was not happy. He had no questions and even my attempt at a lame joke went completely unanswered.

Finally we see the doctor. His temperature is down in the normal range. Ears and throat are good. Headache not good but manageable. It is the stomach that is of concern. And of course in my head dances the possibility that his appendix is the culprit. He told the doctor where it hurt while she was poking and prodding. Thankfully it was not his appendix.

Viral gastroenteritis. An inflammation of the stomach lining due to a virus. Usually includes all T’s symptoms with the added bonus of diarrhea and puking. Thank goodness T does not have those two symptoms. Diarrhea I can live with, but I am a sympathetic thrower upper. The minute I hear someone throwing up my own begins to rise. In all his life T has puked on me once, he sat up in bed and blach! I made the ex clean it up.

So we came home. And he took over the couch. Binge watching Teen Titans and suffering with the pain as best he can. He finally caved and had half an antacid which I was told to give him because it might help. I am making him drink a bit of milk and praying that he does not end up throwing that back up. (Milk thrown back up is disgusting.)

Where I may not look after myself and see the doctor unless I am in deep distress, I do not wait for T to get that bad. But there are sickness rules; if you are sick you are not allowed to play with your friends. You may watch t.v. but there is none of this racing around, you have to lay on the couch. T willingly follows all these rules. Which is when I know that he is truly ill. Oh yeah, and he had no questions for the doctor. Usually, he asks tons of questions as he wants to know everything. Today none of that.