The worst case scenario

My 7-year old is sick.  She’s been sniffly all week, but last night she complained that her arms, legs, head and pinkie finger hurt.  I am deeply in denial that the flu can affect my family, but this sounded suspiciously fluish.  Especially once I felt her forehead and realized she felt warm. I gave her ibuprofen and hoped for the best.

At 1 a.m. as I was getting ready for bed, she woke up and complained again of pain.  I gave her more medicine and put her back to bed.

At 3:30 a.m., she appeared bedside telling me that she hadn’t been able to fall asleep because her room had too much space.  She said she kept turning on the light to look because it was just too big.  Either she had just taken LSD or she was feverish and ill.  She cried when she told me this, clearly upset by the wrongness of the space in her room.  She wanted to watch a show because the fluctuating space in her room interrupted her sleep.

So I let her watch television, only the cable wouldn’t work in her room.  Instead, I rewound a Winnie-the-Pooh video.  I have no idea how long she watched t.v. or if she fell back asleep.  In the morning, I gave her more medicine (her head ached) and told her she had to stay home from school.  She cried about that, too.

And so the pattern went for the day.  The pain relief would wear off and she’d tell me how much her head and body ached.  I’d give her medicine and she’d perk right up.  At one point, she was busily typing on the computer, fingers clicking at high speed.  She was typing  a pretend essay on George Washington in multi-colored fonts.

Tonight, she looked terrible when I put her to bed at 10.  She was flushed, crying because her fingers felt so small.  The whites of her eyes were pink.

I considered the possibility that she might have the dreaded H1N1 flu, the Swine Flu which I mocked mercilessly last spring due to the media hysteria.  I imagined finding her unresponsive, worried about rushing her to the hospital, imagined a world without Grace.

My mind tends to travel the road to the Worst Case Scenario.  So many things can go so wrong, so fast, without warning.  I’ve learned now to say, “Why me?” because the question really is, “Why not me?”

A little while ago I heard the floor creaking above.  I went upstairs to investigate and found her standing in the darkness of my room talking to my side of the bed.  “Grace,” I said, “Come here.”  I felt her bare shoulder with relief.  She no longer felt feverish.

“Did you use the potty?”

“No, I don’t have to.”

“Okay, let’s go back to bed.”

She climbed up the ladder to the top bunk, telling me, “Tomorrow when I . . . I want to . . . and then can we . . . will you . . . um . . . I can’t remember what I was saying.”

“Okay.  Time to sleep.  Nighty-night.”

“Nighty-night.  I love you.”

“I love you.”

So I guess tonight I will not have to call 9-1-1 and rush her to the hospital and wonder why I didn’t get her vaccinated against the Swine Flu and why I allowed her out in the world where she could touch undisinfected surfaces and catch deadly germs.

Thank God.

5 thoughts on “The worst case scenario

  1. I cry when I’m sick too! & we refused to get the flu shots! The Dr thought we were nuts today when we were at the clinic & he was trying to force it on us. We insisted we didn’t want it & he couldn’t understand why. Finally my husband just said, “I don’t trust the government!”. The Dr dropped it. We’ll just keep on praying & thanking God that we are healthy. And we’ll keep on washing our hands with soap & hot water.

    I hope Grace feels better!


  2. I’m diabetic, care for young children – one under six months, and visit the nursing home to see my mom.

    I just do not know what to believe.

    So glad Grace is better. My son’s fever broke two nights ago. He is married and 28 years old, yet I still was worried.


  3. I remember that space fluctuating thing from when I was a kid. I can SO relate to what she means when she says her room has too much space. I used to describe it as everything being too small. Translated, too much space between stuff and everything looked sooooo far away. Even my own hands. It was very scary! I still feel that way when I’m beyond exhausted, but it doesn’t scare me anymore, thank God! I remember how terrifying it was though. Now I can just turn over and go to sleep. Poor Grace. Poor Mel, having the swine flu on your mind and worrying about her being sick in general on top of that. Glad she’s on the up and up.


  4. Wow, I remember having that happen when I was little too. Thought I was the only one, my whole family thought I was making it up. It really was a bizarre feeling, the inherent “wrongness” of everything, even though there was no way to explain it. I’m glad she’s okay. I hope you all stay healthy.


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