Tuesday, May 6, 2008

The Good Life

Before Bubba was born, someone told me that becoming a parent is like having your heart walking around outside your chest. I didn't really comprehend what that meant until after he was born and it wasn't until he got a very serious case of the flu at age 1 that I truly understood the absolute, unending depths of my feelings. So many children died of the flu that year and my fear of losing him was a weight on my chest that kept me from breathing deeply, panic always hovering right around the periphery.

Bubba's flu was followed a month later by a severe bout of rotavirus, which landed him in the hospital. Granted, he was only there for 24 hours, but in the days leading up to it, he was pitiful. He couldn't keep anything down and right before we took him to the hospital, I was literally dropping tablespoons of water into his mouth with a medicine dropper and even those precious little drops would come right back up.

This past weekend I experienced a similar situation with Punkin. She is older than Bubba was when he got so sick, but she was still very sick herself. By Saturday afternoon, when she was feverish and nauseated she lay in my arms and kept saying "Mommy, mommy, mommy" over and over again and my heart broke. I cried, trying to hide my tears from her, and trying to get a grip on myself.

I couldn't do anything for her, except what I was already doing, which was doling out tiny sips of Gatorade in hopes that they would stay down. I have experienced few things as a mother more difficult than telling my child, who is literally begging for something to drink, that she can't have anything, knowing that if I give in to her that it will only come right back up again.

As I rocked her in my arms I thought of other mothers out there. Mothers whose children are truly sick. With cancer. With malaria. Mothers whose children are dying of hunger, or thirst. And my heart ached for those mothers. I'm sure I felt just a tiny portion of the desperation they feel but that was more than enough for me.

So I count my blessings that I live in a country, where I have access to health care -- though I do realize that not all Americans are so fortunate. I count my blessings that I have access to the medicines that we need. I count my blessings that I can get in the car and drive to the doctor's office and that I don't have to carry my child for days to the nearest hospital. I count my blessings.


SurveysCenter Group. said...
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AndreAnna said...

Great post. I'm counting right along with you. Every day.

Karen said...

You're so right. We're reminded every time we're at Children's Hospital that we're very fortunate.

Anonymous said...

Amen sister. We are very lucky to live in this country. Most of the rest of the world is no where near as fortunate.

Sass E-mum said...

I count my blessings every day that Ellie is safe, healthy and happy with me - in a safe, democratic country with a national health service.

Love is a powerful thing - it makes you feel bigger than the world, and sometimes as vulnerable as a flea.

Colleen said...

We're very lucky to have a daycare that teaches all of its staff that all those children they care for are little hearts with legs.

And you're right...we are so lucky to have our health...big pukefests and headers off the changing table are minor. I think of those folks in Burma whose own government refuses to care for them after a natural catastropy and just think how incredibly lucky we are.