The Dark Side Of Motherhood

Despite all the bullshit I’ve been through the last two and a half years, today I learned something that made my heart literally stop.

My friend’s daughter has pneumonia.

To the normal person it might seem like not much of a big deal, but that…coupled with the fact that my oldest daughter has been feeling like poopy the last couple days, plus having very labored breathing, made me really worried (plus all our kids play together).  I was paranoid she had pneumonia, and when I found out this morning about our friend, I wanted to run and run and run away from my bad memories.

When Barry died, I had a major fight of flight adrenaline rush, and I had that this morning too.  I just wanted to run away from all my bad feelings because I was too scared to face them. But I had to take care of my daughter, who stayed home from school today.  One of the three causes of death for my husband was  “Bi-lateral multilobar Pneumonia” (the other two being cardio respiratory arrest and a blood clot).  All caused by H1N1.  He was the hospitals sickest patient the entire time he was there.

All I could think about while I was getting ready to take her to the doctor was deep, dark stuff, that a mother often thinks about, but rarely share with the general public or anyone for that matter, because we are worried about being labeled a crazy lady.  I wondered about her funeral, how I would fall apart and never be able to be normal again.  I wondered if her absentee grandfather would show up, and how I would finally get to yell at him and say my piece about how horribly he would treat us.  I wondered about counseling.  I wondered where I would hold the funeral, and who would come.

Yes, I went there.  I was that scared this morning, and had to force myself to not think about it.  I had so much adrenaline that when I went on my elliptical, I was holding an RPM of almost 70 the entire time I was on there.  I never go that fast, I just had to do it and get my energy out.  I know all mothers fear their children dying, and I hope I never ever have to go through that, because I don’t know how I could possibly deal with that after losing my husband as well.  I was so scared this morning.

When we got to the doctor, they said it was not pneumonia (thank you!!!), but something else they weren’t sure of, so they wanted to do some tests.  And guess what she tested positive for?

The flu.

Again, not a big deal to any “normal” person, but the flu and pneumonia are what landed Barry in the hospital.  They are what killed him.  In many ways the flu is worse for me than pneumonia, and especially so because we’ve all been vaccinated every year since then.  But this year her vaccine failed.  And now all 5 of us, me included, are being put on Tamiflu because of our family history.

Now that we have tamiflu, I’m not as scared because I know she’ll get better.  She won’t die yet, and hopefully not until she’s an old lady in her 90s who has lived a very full life.  It’s amazing how just one word…pneumonia in my example, can elicit such a strong reaction in us and make us think of the worst.

When the other kids get home from school, I get to run all over town to two different pharmacies picking up five different prescriptions for tamiflu, lots of crackers, 7-up, and whatever else a sick kid needs.

If something like this happens to you, what do you do, and how do you bring yourself out of that dark corner?

Happy Mothers Day to Me!


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