Saturday, May 27, 2006

Yesterday was such a hard day; it was one of those days when I questioned whether I was capable of being a parent. We had a lot of things to do, including a trip to the doctor for Tess’ 4-month check-up, and then Owen’s rescheduled speech. When we got to the doctor’s office, we were kept waiting. As Owen played with the communal toys (which I hate, because they are such a germ fest, but what can you do?), I glanced over to a couple who had brought their young child in. He was tugging at his ear, and then I saw him throw up all over the floor, and the chair. I was so freaked out, I almost left, not wanting my kids to catch something. It was then that it occurred to me that everyone else I know goes to doctor’s offices that have “well entrances” for when your kids are not sick. So, after we finally got in to to see the doctor (stats: Tess is 24 inches long and 12 pounds, 12 ounces), we went home, quickly ate, and left for speech. I should have known something wasn’t right with Owen when I made his favorite “pizza”, (basically anything I can cobble together that is healthy, hidden in cheese, and baked in a tortilla). I had asked him to sit nicely at the doctor’s office, and he did, without a complaint, while Tess was checked out. In fact, I asked his doctor why he kept rubbing his eyes and she said it was probably allergies. She said I could give him Claritin, over the counter. I asked if that was really okay for a child this young, and she said yes. So we left for speech, and Owen fell asleep in the car on the way there (it was only 11:30 a.m….).

I didn’t really think it was a problem, since he was up at six and had gone to bed late the night before. Then his speech therapist commented that he seemed really tired. Still, I didn’t get it. When we got home, I tried to entice him with chips, and milk, but he didn’t want either. He wanted to cuddle with me while he watched The Wiggles. That was when I started to notice he was hot. I thought it was because our house was hot, since the weather had changed so quickly and it was now in the upper 90s. But, the listlessness was new. I saw his eyes water, and thought it was the allergies, so of course, I gave him the Claritin. When I read the box, it said for under age 6 consult a doctor. Well, I did, I asked my doctor. So I promptly gave him an adult’s dose.

The next half hour, he went downhill quickly. He became much more feverish, and he wanted only to sleep. I got really concerned. I took him in my room, with Tess crying because she was tired too, and told him we were going to take a nap. Almost instantly, his head hung back and he was in some sort of doze. I thought for sure I had poisoned him. I called Erik, frantic. He came home right away and said, “he’s burning up, we have to get him cooled down.” I got a temperature of 102 degrees, and I was so upset I almost started crying, but then I thought ,what’s the use? It will only make things worse. We called the doctor, who took TWO HOURS to call us back (so much for pediatricians being available. I’m blaming it on Bush and HMOs). Meanwhile, Erik called poison control and they told him the fever was not because of the Claritin (thank God, at least I hadn’t poisoned my child), but we knew now we were dealing with an unknown. We tried to give him a bath, and he didn’t want it; he cried when I tried a wet cloth; and I couldn’t get a temperature to save my life. Finally, I just sat with him and sang to him. Erik had to run to the store to get baby Tylenol because of course, Owen hadn't been that sick since he was a baby, so all our medicine was expired (note to self: always have baby Tylenol on hand, until they are in the teens!). I was so upset, and felt so inadequate as a parent (Owen is a relatively healthy kid, he’s only had one fever that we know of). I felt like I had no idea what to do, and that my son could die at any moment (anyone else feel that way?)

We finally got him calmed down, and his fever down a little, and he went to sleep. Meanwhile, Tess, the awesome baby that she is, went to sleep right away with little fuss. Erik and I ended up making dinner, having a glass of wine, and eating outside on our porch as the sun set over Universal Studios, the mountains outlining the hills, the succulent jasmine sending it’s perfume to us. For a moment, I felt like Erik and I had escaped to a restaurant, for dinner, with all this unstructured time where we actually could have a conversation. We both were a little rattled from the day’s events, but oddly enough, we were having this amazing dinner.

The next day, Owen’s fever subsided, but it kept coming back. Tonight, again, it’s in full force. I finally got him to sleep. He wouldn’t eat anything, and even though I tried to fool him that it was a pacifier (those new pacifier thermometers), he knew better. He wouldn’t suck it. He finally took it from me and threw it across the room. When I offered his regular pacifier, he took it. He’s smart, that one. Better watch out, world, Down Syndrome kids are much smarter than you give them credit for.

I’m worried, though. I keep wondering why Owen is getting sick so much lately. I keep trying to make those thoughts that maybe he has leukemia go away. They always pop up when Owen gets sick and then I start thinking these horrible thoughts that he has it and this is part of the symptoms (demons: go away please, I don’t need you feeding me horrible thoughts right now).

Erik said to me this morning, when we were talking about Owen and him being sick, “why do I love that little guy so much?” and I said, “it’s because he doesn’t complain. He does everything we ask him to do, and then when it’s unbearable, he snuggles up to us and asks us to notice. He doesn’t cry, he doesn’t scream. He just patiently waits for us to help him.” And it’s true. He doesn’t demand attention until he really needs it. And it makes my heart ache when I see how patient he is, and how accommodating. He is truly amazing.


Blogger Pam said...

Wow! You've got a great kid! I hope he's better soon. :(

4:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

great blog.wish u could add a few snaps.i too have a special child.right now i am in a horrible mood and negative minded.hope to be normal soon.

10:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think you nailed it!!!! Owen does as he is asked and waits for attention only when he needs it - I think we all can learn something from this ........

7:28 AM  

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