Sickness takes over
Not fun when you are sick. Even worse when your kid is sick. Why ? For me it is because I see the human body in a fight of challenging itself to become stronger and yet at the same time weak enough that the fight may be overturned and overpower and the child may lose. Such was the case recently.
Days of High fevers and sore throat lay waste to my son’s physique. He had been refusing to eat or drink and the herbals supplements and regular medications were barely keeping things together. I took him for a cleansing shower to the bathroom. He stood weakened before his reflection and suddenly burst out screaming, ” AHHH my chest is hurting.” This was quite odd as this is the first time I have ever heard him with this complaint. ” Call an ambulance, I am dying,” he yelled out with a great big moan. I was shocked and taken back. As a physician my mind was racing with the differential diagnosis and yet there was a part of me that spoke words of denial that this was an unreal scenario. These are words of some adult having a heart attack and he is a kid so this cannot be real. Yet the roles switched and I became a parent in that instant.
Instinct prevailed as I could see his eyes begin to roll back. Reflexive checking of the pulse revealed a fast heart rate drop and become thready. I caught in my arms and rushed him to the bed and raised his legs up with pillows. I thwarted his attempts at falling asleep despite his pleas. Forced water in him orally every 30 seconds for the next few minutes along with crackers and sugary treats at the bedside. Worked fast to catalogue his “vital signs” of temperature, heart rate and respirations and consciousness every 2minutes. It felt like an eternity as I felt him slip away and then return again and again. Parental instincts and doctoring impulses were my tools to help me keep him going. Fears of loss as a parent and reassurances as a doctor were the mind’s dialogue for the next few hours.
Once confident that he was out of the dark woods we both shared a smile. ” I dont have any more chest pain daddy” he whispered. ” Are you going to die ?” I inquired. “NO, I am fine now” he replied. Relief. The mind’s fears had raced all the way to the thought of having lost this battle for him in an alternative future dimension. Now trying reassuring this anxious mind with the scientific logical nature of my brain was quite the spontaneous battle. These were expected outcomes and symptoms my mind computed and my experience sounded out loud. Yet I remembered the losses of the children of a few of my close friends. It was heart breaking. No. It was life shattering. Nothing can prepare us to meet that fine line of a loss of a child. Nothing.
The fragility of life is the most vulnerable state one can experience. Possibly as it reminds us of our own desperate holding onto each moment of our thread of existence. Times like this shake us and our thread.
I love you