Saturday, April 19, 2008

Double Whammiversary

So, I have been living in a box lately (maybe it was the nap box; I feel slightly disoriented), and when I came out of it, I checked the calendar to see if I had missed anything important.
Apparently I had missed the fact that Mother's Day and May 11th are THE EXACT SAME DAY this year.

Should that matter?

On Mother's Day 2004, my son was sick.
Elijah had caught the bronchial infection that was 'run-of-the-mill' with Supergirl, but more of an orange alert with him.
I drove him down the mountain to meet with our pediatrician, who happened to be on call that weekend. On the way down the spectacular canyon drive, I ran into a site which was not unfamiliar: A 'safety' or 'trailer' car going about 19 mph to protect the rider in front of the car: a skateboarder or inline skater.
All the way down the mountain.
All the fucking way down the mountain. All of those eight miles to the coast. At less than twenty mph. With a sick baby.
And in this case, on this day, it was a rollerblader dressed in a lime green catsuit. And it took every shred of self-restraint to see this catsuited figure who did a fancy spin and tossed a super lame thumbs-up motion to all the many cars that had been crawling along behind him/her, and then not MOW THEM THE FUCK DOWN with my car. But I was worried about my baby, so I only grazed them did not.

The pediatrician met us at the office rather than the ER; she knew we were always afraid of him catching more germs, or more horrible germs than the ones he had.
She listened to his lungs, and announced that he had bronchitis.
I was relieved; after all, it wasn't pneumonia. I remember distinctly how I scooped him back into my arms and kissed him with relief. We talked about the 'pinch test' for a rudimentary oxygen test, and how we had been checking his color regularly. I discussed how we had taken him off of the growth hormone because neither the endocrinologist, nor the pharmaceutical company would return our calls about Elijah's adverse reactions to the HGH. She was on call, and got beeped repeatedly while we were there.
She prescribed an antibiotic for him and then mentioned that he may sound a bit worse the next day, as things started to break up in his chest. She said to call if he started to sound wheezy.
I asked her if she really thought he was okay to not be in a hospital. I reminded her that we lived 30 minutes away from the hospital. This is both memorable and remarkable, since dh and I had done more in Elijah's life to avoid hospital stays than most parents are forced to do, and inquiring about the need for him to be admitted was nothing short of deep fear. I wish I had listened to my deep fear, rather than my desperate desire for the relief of a lesser illness.
I really wanted to believe her. I wanted to believe that he was not that sick.
So I believed her.
I allowed myself one last gut-knocking (hello brain? this is your gut knocking...are you listening?) moment of doubt. On the way out of the exam room, I stopped.
That moment is frozen in time.
He was on my shoulder, my sweet tiny little sick boy; and the carseat was hanging off of my other arm. I asked her if she was concerned about the tracheomalacia. It seemed to me that the combination of the tracheomalacia and bronchitis might be dangerous.
Her answer was unforgettable.
"You two are way on top of it - you are such careful and vigilant parents - I have confidence that you will know if he starts to get worse. And happy mother's day!"

Just TRY living with that.

On the way home, I picked up his prescription. It was a longer day than it should have been for a sick little baby. Which is why the admission of this next part makes me ill. Elijah was fussing on the way home. He rarely cried, so you would think that the Mother of the Year award would be within reach, with such a good baby and so little to complain about.
You would be wrong.
I actually gave him my mommy admonishment, "Oh now now, stop that fussing. We'll be home soon."

And go on, try living with THAT.

And when I brought him home, did I sit down in the rocking chair and rock his little sick body to sleep? No I did not. He was already asleep. I had an almost three year old, I had things to do. And I had spent the entire day before mother's day face-down on the bathroom floor with (assumed) food poisoning, avoiding Elijah in case it was some horrid contagious bug.

The horrible mothers day morphed into the next day without much to distinguish itself other than the sunrise. Elijah continued to sleep a lot and not look well. I continued to catch up on laundry and emails and making food. We tried all day to feed Elijah, he would eat just a few bites before he would try and go back to sleep. This was heartwrenching.
The pediatrician was right; he did sound worse. And he was wheezing. So I called and left a message for the doctor. Her incompetent nurse called me back and said to go pick up a prescription for albuterol. Another two hours away from my baby - just to go to town.

Do you think I go over these details much?

Maybe it is better this way. These anniversaries are like getting sucker punched each time, so now it will be two rotten days rolled into one.
The whole killing birds, stone thing. Not that I would kill birds. I rarely even kill spiders. Unless they are this kind.

For now, my (spider-filled) box is calling me back into it, so you can just wait for the non-surprise ending or you can torture yourself with the brain damagingly memorable early hours of May 11th.


Denise said...

Thinking of you G!

Kristen said...

I too am thinking of you. {{{{HUGS}}}}

mamadaisy said...

oh honey, i'm so sorry. sending you strength.

Boss of Seattle said...

G, you did EVERYTHING possible for Elijah. You are one of the best parents I have ever had the pleasure to know. Your love and devotion to your children is MORE than normal, more than devoted, more than loving. Your children are blessed to have (and had) you as their mother. Keep up the good work. I LOVE you.

Anonymous said...

In looking at this entire case it is the doctor that completely dropped the ball, NOT YOU. Sheer negligence on the doctor's part is clear. This doctor should have taken the time to consider your son's medical deficits in combination with a bronchial infection. It is appalling to me that doctors just take on more and more cases and no child ever really gets the individual attention that is required for their case, sometimes with horrible consequences. Whoever this pedicatrician was should not have expected YOU to monitor a child with Elijah's medical issues. I'm sorry, but her negligence was appalling and she should have been sued out the ass. This was not YOUR fault. Although I understand as a parent how we always seem to carry the guilt and blame, in this case the blame should be 100% on that doctor. Always remember that.

Jenny, the Bloggess said...

It's not the same thing at all but after my first miscarriage I asked to be tested to anticardiolipin syndrome and my doctor told me I was being irrational. I lost two more children after that. It was only after being properly diagnosed and given then right dosage that I was able to finally carry my only daughter to term. For a long time I felt such guilt whenever I would look at their things...the clothes I bought for them...the toys they never played with. Then I thought that if the roles were reversed, if it had been my mother that went through that and she'd lost me it would kill me to know that she suffered any guilt and I would want her to go on and remember me with happiness and no guilt. It's easier said than done but it gave me permission to remember the children that never were with a little more love and a little less pain.

HGH said...

Mother is the best gift given by God to human keep that spirit going on may God bless your childs with such unconditional love......I Love U dear

Anonymous said...

i've just begun reading your blog, having been led over here by bitchphd..and i just have to tell you that i'm so sorry you lost your baby. it's the saddest thing in the world, and it's enough to make strangers cry. my thoughts are with you.

-ashley in ny