Friday, September 28, 2007

Cause for Concern

I admit it...I'm somewhat spoiled when it comes to the health of my children. Outside of the usual childhood ailments and occassional bouts of winter-induced asthma, my kids are as healthy as can be. Having suffered most of my childhood from one ailment or another (some serious), I was always concerned that my progeny would inherit the weaknesses of my youth. This is not the case, so as I said, where their health is concerned, I've been somewhat spoiled.

My idyll was shattered this week when my youngest, who had complained of a mild sore throat for some time, called from school to say her throat was very sore and her ear hurt when she swallowed. A throat culture at the doctor's office the next day came back negative for strep. A diagnosis was offered that the sore throat was probably brought on by seasonal allergies, with medications for same duly prescribed.

Here's where it gets ugly. Not only did my daughter not respond to the medication, her condition dramatically worsened in the next 12 hours. Her throat was raw and every swallow brought a stab of pain that brought tears to her eyes. She couldn't talk, couldn't eat, couldn't sleep from the pain. All she could do was roll herself into a ball and whimper like a frightened pup. Nothing unglues a parent like watching helplessly as their children suffer. Having basked luxuriously in the glow of healthy children for 27 years, this came as a nasty shock and I was frantic.

Another round of telephone calls had me running to a lab for a series of blood work. The preliminary results came back within a matter of hours, indicating an elevated white blood cell count, indicative of infection. Another prescription for an antibiotic to address this new information. Several more hours of watching helplessly as my child writhed and cried out in pain, hoping and praying that, this time, the medication would work.

Nothing commands your all-consuming focus like bringing your child through a rough illness. Nothing, I repeat, NOTHING is as important as that child's comfort and well-being. I went nowhere, I spoke to no one, I did no housework, no school work, nothing but dispense medication, record body temperature, monitor any improvements in her condition and sit by my child to comfort her. This is what she needed. This is what she wanted. This is what she got. End of story - no questions asked. As we say in Spanish, punto y fin.

Thankfully, she turned a corner within 24 hours of taking the antibiotic and was feeling well enough to eat, something she hadn't done for most of the previous 48 hours because of the intense pain in her throat and ear. She now appears to be heading for a new Guiness Record in the eating binge category. I never thought I would be grateful to hear her squabbling with her brother over rights to the television remote control or watch her playing on the computer. It's those little things that say life is back to normal.

Of the blessings I've been granted in this life, healthy kids tops the list. This reality check did not go unnoticed. Thank you, God. I hear you loud and clear.

Ballo ergo sum,
Always and All Ways,
- Gitana, the Creative Diva

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