Nora is coughing. It has been almost five whole months since we endured our last around the clock albuterol treatments, vomit-inducing coughing fits, and never-ending trips to the doctor. I even made the mistake of saying out loud to Nora last night that we were going to stop doing her mask (the pulmicort we’ve been on since November) this week as she winds down her time at daycare and enters her “healthy” time of year.
And today she is coughing.
She coughs and I hear pneumonia.
She coughs and I take a mental note of where her barf bowl is.
She coughs and I hold the mask a little tighter to her face.
She coughs and I wonder how long it will be until we are at the doctor’s office again,filling more prescriptions, hoping it doesn’t last and last like it always does.
She coughs and either Ken or I or both of us say, “Oh, Nora.”
She coughs and it is me who feels a little stabbing pain in my heart.
One of the worst things as a parent is when you feel helpless. For me, Nora being sick makes me feel that way. All I want to do is help her get better, feel better, avoid future sicknesses. In most of those arenas, I am powerless. I can soothe her, rock her, cuddle her, but I can’t make the pain go away; I can’t wave a magic medicine wand; I can’t promise her that I’ll quit my job and never send her back to germy daycare again. That’s the big one. That’s the mom guilt I can’t seem to shake.
Nora was sick this week. Really sick. I’ve blocked out bout number one with pneumonia, but I’d venture to say that she was sicker than she’d ever been before. It started with a virus – one that did not test positive for swine flu. It progressed into croup, which progressed into pneumonia. Horrible. She was crying in pathetic hoarse voice that even the hardest of hearts would have melted at – I’m sure of it. She wouldn’t eat – sometimes she wouldn’t even swallow. And she wouldn’t sleep. Who can blame her really.
When Nora is sick I get teary. I know it annoys Ken – that when she cries I most of the time do too. And I don’t mean to. I would stop doing it if I knew how. But I just want to help my poor sick baby. I know he does too. His brain gets more focused. Mine gets more fuzzy. I lose my focus on anything other than her. The house gets more messy. I forget everything when I leave for work. I just can think about Nora and what I need to do to make her better. Thankfully Ken thinks effectively about everything else and the whole house doesn’t fall apart. But this time Ken was sick too.
I have to send Nora back to daycare tomorrow. She was a big strong Panda for Halloween last night. I hope she can use some of her fierce roar to ward off future illnesses.