When you live with a phobia, the slightest imbalance of security can cause excessive worry. That is where I was on Sunday when Paul left me and the boys alone up in Munds Park to head back down to our home to work his last week of work. While I had previously looked forward to this alone time with the boys, since two of them had been sick the previous week (it even bothers me to say it – thrown up), I was no longer excited and looking forward to the coming days alone with the boys; instead I was hesitant and even a bit fearful. I was waiting for the other shoe to drop.
Monday was a good day. The boys and I played at the park, I drove into town for a few hours to get some work done while the boys ate frozen yogurt and played on my phone. We had a nice dinner outside and then took a nice walk towards dusk to say farewell to the sunlight for the day. After a nice bath, the boys were snuggled into bed. I woke up Tuesday morning feeling “off” myself. After a few hours of trying to ignore how I felt, I realized that my experiences were mimicking what my older two boys had been through the previous week.
Panic Trigger #1 – being alone with my boys, sick and unable to take care of them.
Luckily, I did not “throw up”, but I felt pretty miserable all day and realized that the “food poisoning” the boys had that I had convinced myself of was probably a spreadable virus.
Panic Trigger #2 – waiting for the “other shoe to drop” – when would my youngest come down with it?
I started feeling better Tuesday afternoon and by evening time, felt confident that I had kicked whatever it was. I woke up feeling great physically on Wednesday morning only to find my youngest had a “tummy ache” and was lethargic and laying down on the floor. His symptoms followed suit except it was not long before he threw up.
Panic Trigger #3 – watching and waiting for the next episode.
Unfortunately for my youngest, he turned out having this tummy virus much worse than the rest of us. Wednesday was filled with multiple episodes of him getting sick and lots of hours holding him and breastfeeding him for comfort and sleep. I was hopeful he would “kick it” by the next morning because I was expecting several friends up to the house for a two-day training retreat. Thursday morning looked much the same as the day before and I realized that he was not getting better. In fact, he seemed worse. It quickly dawned on me that one of my biggest fears was going to happen – I was going to have to host something with a sick child around.
Panic Trigger #4 – people are coming and I cannot imagine how they wouldn’t feel like I do (on edge) around a sick child.
Thursday brought no changes, in fact the vomiting continued through the night. I comforted myself with looking back at pictures from earlier in the week when he was feeling good and happy. I spent much of our training and time together holding a sleeping child both Thursday and most of the day on Friday. I survived. It was uncomfortable, but I managed. I had strong women surrounding me that supported me and gave me strength to face and manage one of my biggest fears. I was present for my child and I nurtured and cared for him while still being able to take part in the events of the training.
At long last, Paul pulled into the driveway. He is back with us – my partner and support. I made it through. He is on “vacation” for 8 weeks – he will be with us. I was so relieved, I felt like I could cry. At long last, as the last of my friends were leaving, my poor, weak child started eating and showing signs of recovering and my husband said “I’m here now” and gave me permission to let go and relax.
What feels like the longest week of my life is over.