At 2:30 a.m., he wakes, vomits again, cries, then wants to discuss heaven. What is it? Does everyone go? Does everyone believe in it? Also, why do they advertise Taco Time with a cactus and not a taco? Life's big questions. I'm glad to talk about it, but have no answers that satisfy him.
When I woke yesterday morning, it was too early, my eyes too red and dry from no sleep. I was pacing in my worry cage. Joe-Henry moaned in bed, begging me to help him feel better, to make it stop. He complained of hurting in his shoulder, his neck, his heart. He was unable to keep anything down. He ran a fever, his face so hot to the touch, his cheeks so flushed and pink they reminded me of two hot coals. I give him tylenol, telling him it would make him feel better soon. (But not soon enough for me.)
Then yesterday at 4:00, the miracle happened. He had kept down the jello, the soda crackers, the gatorade. He had slept through the afternoon. He woke, hair damp, cheeks a more beautiful pale pink, his eyes glittering with mischief. "Mom. Better get the basket! Nah.... I'm just kiddin'"
I left the room laughing. His voice, his strong voice, clear and sparkling. The tears came quickly, but didn't last. They were indulgent, the tears of a tired, grateful parent. Done with the vigil, on to the next task.
I am guilty of over-worrying. With his syndrome, I always worry that it's a blood-borne infection, and not just some random, horrible childhood virus. I spend at least twenty four hours, sitting on my worry, waiting it out, tricking myself so that I won't call the doctor again. Read another story, attempt another sip, administer the tylenol. Worry, distract. I pray my clumsy prayers, not even sure what I believe, but remembering the peace it gave me as a child. It doesn't give me peace, but it feels good to admit my failure, my utter helplessness.
This morning, after a good night's sleep, we are both new. Pancakes, juice, water. I can see all of it in his tummy, his body so skinny from the last few days that I can make out this bite of pancake, that bite of veggie sausage. One more day home from school, but there are plans to get dressed, to go to the post office to mail Grandma's mother's day present, to stop at the Walgreens and get him the rocket launcher that he gave to the boy next door for his birthday. It was the promise of this last thing that helped him turn the corner, I admit. I told him when he was at his worst, that we would get him one when he got better. And since it worked, I will fulfill my part of the bargain. I don't bribe that often, especially with "stuff", but I was ready to make any deal to get him to the other side.
Gratitude for the new day, for the annoyances, the dishes to be done, the laundry to be sorted, washed folded. The healthy boy on the couch watching tv.