When Your Child Is Sick

When your child is sick, it’s just about the worst feeling in the world.

It’s worse than being sick yourself. You would do almost anything to take it away, and be the one to suffer instead.

E has been “under the weather” – coughing, runny nose, whatever – many times (and even then I get nervous), but he has rarely been sick. I guess that’s why I get a bit overwrought when he does.

On Sunday he woke up in a fine mood, then halfway through breakfast refused to eat any more. This is not like him.

Then we played in his room for a bit, until he decided he’d rather just sit on my lap, quietly. For an almost-3-year-old boy, this is seriously out of character. For my own motor-mouthed son, it’s positively disturbing.

Then he just wanted to lie down. I could tell his skin was too warm. He was too silent, too docile. I lay down beside him and looked into his beautiful blue eyes, so unfocused, as he drifted off to sleep – only a couple hours after getting up. Normally, he doesn’t nap at all anymore.

He got worse before he got better. His fever got up to 102.4 (or 39), his face overly rosy; his breathing was shallow; his heart raced even as he slept; and he never stopped trembling.

The worst part was how sweet he is through it all; I’d say, “How are you feeling?” and through his shivers, he’d say, “Good.” I’d tell him I loved him and he would say it back, “I love you,” but so faint I could hardly hear it. It broke my heart.

Thank goodness for the nurses at Telehealth. They always put things in perspective. Your child is breathing fine, can move all his limbs, has no blood in his stool, is drinking and peeing, is not crying inconsolably… he’s fine. He’s just fighting off a common infection.

Even with that reassurance, I will admit to getting pretty emotional as I struggled not to imagine the worst. My robust little boy just seemed so fragile. Small children die, suddenly and mysteriously, often enough. Their parents are left with countless what-ifs, and thoughts like, “If I’d only followed my gut instincts…” I know I was overreacting, but I guess since last summer, my gut instincts are all messed up. It was really hard to leave his side, even when he was asleep. When he was awake, I carefully wrapped and stored in my heart every word he said.

Thank God, he was fine this morning. A bit quiet for the first hour, and then… it was like he wanted to make up for the lost time, and basically didn’t stop talking for the rest of the day. He was full of beans, actually. It was such a relief that I didn’t even mind the ENDLESS “Why?” questions. (I guess it’s the rule: you don’t get to skip the “Why?” stage. Sean was wondering if francophone children have a “Pourquoi?” phase, etc. I can’t see how they wouldn’t.)

Anyway, everything is fine. My kid is amazing.

I am one lucky mama.



8 thoughts on “When Your Child Is Sick

  1. Auntie CL says:

    oh, me, it is frightening, no matter how sensible and un-flighty one may be as a mom. i recall one time when L was ill (about age 7 maybe?) – he fell asleep in the car on the way home from a Camp Committee meeting, and woke up after the rest of us had had supper. he obediently ate his supper, dreaded vegetables and all, and then promptly turned around and vomited into the sink. he said cheerfully, “at least you can tell i ate my greens!” but shortly broke out in severe hives all over, and i was advised to take him to the ER in case they got inside his breathing apparatus, which i did not even know was a danger! but in fact he was fine in the end, and we never knew what it was that got him. life’s full of drama! hooray that your beautiful little guy is fine again.

    • diblog says:

      Awww! Poor little L – even if he did not seem too perturbed. I guess I should say poor you, because I’m sure that was very alarming. E also vomited on Sunday, when we tried to give him his second dose of Tylenol. I got all in a tizzy, but Sean was very calm: “Kids throw up all the time.” I guess maybe so.

  2. Mama says:

    I know exactly what you mean.

    If you HAD gone to the ER, it would have cured the fever instantly and he’d have been climbing the examining table and chatting up the nurses. That’s a natural law.

    I’m glad he’s better. And you too!

  3. Erin T says:

    Yikes! This really struck home. S was in hospital most of last week, hooked up to IV, with what turned out to be acute salmonella posioning. (Don’t know where he got it – we didn’t eat at home over the weekend and were mostly back in Hamilton. Nobosy else got sick.) Telehealth, yes – blood clots in stool, yes – worrying over gut instinct, yes. It’s definitely the worst feeling in the world. So glad to hear E is better. S is getting there, too. We’re still waiting for the return of “Action Man” – E’s return to full beanage is encouraging!

    • diblog says:

      Oh, Erin! Poor little guy!! This must have been a harrowing experience. I think I’d be a basket case by now. How is he now?

  4. emerge says:

    So glad he is feeling better :). And you too. I know exactly what you mean. <3

    It was great to talk to you tonight! Will would have kept going all night if we'd let him. He loves talking to Everett and having Uncle Sean to show his toys to as well was a special treat apparently.

    Miss you guys! See you in a couple days.

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