Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Last week Joedy and I took Malko to the doctor for a checkup. He got four shots, and the rest of the day, at home, he seemed tired--a little impatient, but more or less fine. He'd had a runny nose lately, and because the last time he had four shots (before we went to Costa Rica) he got a pretty bad cold, which turned into a really bad cough, which I thought was whooping cough, we wanted to watch him carefully. Not watch him so carefully that we would, like, take videos of him coughing in the middle of the night, to show the doctor the next day (SEE? He whooped!! That was a whooping sound! SAVE HIM!!), but enough to make sure he didn't get a really high fever, start convulsing, or start acting strange, as if, um, his central nervous system was damaged.

That night, we let him sleep in our bed. He was still sniffly and a little out of sorts, and he woke up a few times asking for something--a bottle, to be held, his pacifier--but overall he seemed ok. Since the shots didn't seem to have affected him much, the next day we thought he was in good enough shape to go for a hike at Mount Bonnell, a high peak overlooking Austin and the lakes running through it.

It was a fun, beautiful trip: Malko rode on Joedy's shoulders, and on our way back down I lingered to take some pictures. Hurrying to catch up, I turned a corner and saw Joedy standing on a flat rock overlooking the lake far, far below. He was holding Malko in his arms, and though I knew it was ok--Malko wasn't going to fall out of his arms and tumble down the sloping side of the cliff--my danger radar started beeping and I asked Joedy to give me Malko so I could take him to other, safer side of the path (where all the poison oak was).

The rest of the day Malko seemed to get crankier, and I started worrying the shots were having a delayed effect on him. He got worse in the evening, developing a fever and growing increasingly dissatisfied with EVERYTHING, and that night we gave him some Tylenol and kept him in our bed again.

Before midnight, he started screaming and flailing around, and though we tried to calm him, nothing helped: he kept screaming and crying, twisting his body like he was in pain, his face hot and red, tears and snots coming out, NOTHING helping. He just kept screaming--AYYYY! AAAYYYYYYYY! AAAYYY, AAAAAYYY, AAAAAYYYYY!--and I thought, this is it, the shots have hit him. It was scary to see him so upset, to see him in what appeared to be intense pain, and for a while I thought about taking him to the emergency room.

Finally, after a third, bigger dose of Tylenol, he went to sleep. My worries that he was hurt by the four shots lifted, but as soon as I began to relax disturbing images came to mind: images of Joedy holding Malko on the edge of a cliff, of Malko falling out of his arms, of Malko falling off the cliff. I tried not to picture them, but the images kept coming back, and the feeling I had when I saw his little body fall, when I realized that he was too far away for me to catch him--

I felt an overwhelming, sickening dread and fear. I kept trying to fall asleep, but each time I drifted off I'd lurch awake with a start, the sight of Malko falling through empty space fresh in my mind. I tried to shake the awful images and feelings, to tell myself he was fine, and finally, by listening to his steady breathing, I fell asleep.

The next morning we discovered Malko was teething. It explained his recent fussiness and the discomfort he'd been in during the night, and it was an unbelievable relief: he was just teething! The shots hadn't burned a hole in his veins, he hadn't suffered permanent damage from the cocktail of chemicals pushed into his bloodstream. We had survived a hurdle, we were relieved, we were all--phew!--ok.

We had a late, groggy breakfast, and though Malko was happy by then, chewing ferociously on a book, I began to feel depressed. Before I could say "teething biscuit" the depression knocked me down and I was crying--bawling--in Lula's bed. "What's wrong?" Joedy asked. "Malko's fine!"

"I know," I said, hyperventilating into Lula's pillow. "It's's just..."

It's just that sometimes I can't handle it: the fears, the worries, the sadness that come with the happiness of having children, of loving children, become overwhelming. Sometimes, when the edge of the cliff gets too close, I just can't handle it.


packofchicklets said...

great- well written entry :)

Anonymous said...

AWWW sister, I feel that away about cats and butterflies, how am I ever going to have kids?!

Tamara Wallop said...

With a name Malko, hes destined to have some sharp little buggers coming thru!! haha.

just sent you a facebook message, then i saw this link. maybe some of my questions answered here...:)

Anonymous said...

Isabel, I think all mothers go through what you just described. It's especially hard when they're so little and gets easier though...except then the day comes for them to start driving (eden's almost there)! Don't even get me started on my anxiety!
kisses, nadine

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