Fear of the common cold
It is past midnight and I should be long since asleep, especially considering that just two days ago I felt like I’d been hit by a very large automobile, but instead I’m awake, more awake than I’d like to be. I’m sitting here, holding a sick baby, trying to make him more comfortable, and worrying. I’m worrying like only the mother of a child whose spent time in the hospital knows.
In the past two weeks sickness has ravaged my home as it has so many lately. This horrible cough, cold, fever, and overall miserableness has taken down family members one by one, myself included. I knew it was bound to happen despite my incessant nagging, of everyone who entered the house, to wash their hands constantly. So when it happened I did everything I could to shield my littlest guy. I kept sanitizer in the kitchen and next to my bed, I washed my hands until they were chapped and raw, I started taking vitamin C and D in hopes it would pass on to the baby like the doctor said, my husband slept in a separate room with which ever child was sick in order to keep them out of my room, where the baby sleeps, and I wiped down surfaces that germy fingers touched, like my phone and iPad, in hopes of stopping the spread. I knew it would spread amongst my three older boys, my oldest is not good about covering his coughs and my Middlest drinks out of everyone’s cup, so my goal was to keep the baby healthy. It didn’t work.
A few days ago the baby woke up with a hoarse little cough and a runny nose. His symptoms have continued to progress as I watch him carefully for any signs of troubled breathing. Then tonight, as I was falling asleep, I heard him cough, gasp, and saw two little trachea-tugs. There were just the two and most people wouldn’t think anything of it, but we have a history with them. So now my mind it running as I worry about my son’s health. Will his cold get worse? Will he have trouble breathing? How can I sleep if he might get worse? What about his RSV shots? He’s only had one, what if he gets it anyway? Speaking if shots, how will I afford the three he receives after the New Year? I have to pay about $4,000 for the one in January before insurance will cover the other two! We only found this out a few days before Thanksgiving. Will I have to pull my middle two out of school in order to afford it? They love their school and have already had to give up so much because of their brother’s health issues. I didn’t want to start off another year with all these worries and problems, I wanted next year to be a fresh start where everything is better than this year. It isn’t fair to have to choose between my kids’ education and their brother’s health. Obviously health wins out, but it is so unfair to the other two. What if the shots don’t matter anyway because he’s sick now and it could get worse and he could still end up in the hospital? I’m so tired, but he is so miserable and just wants to be held. I’m sure to most I just sound like I’m overreacting or a hypochondriac, but to those who have sat next to their child in a hospital bed, unable to make them well, they know this feeling, this panic, this constant worry.
I know I’m not alone, that there are many out there that share this paranoia of cold and flu season; this fear of a simple cold. For us we aren’t worried that our child might have to miss school or that we might have to take off work or even that we might be inconvenienced by the household shut down of a cold. For us, the risks of this time of year are much greater and the fear is warranted. For us, the simple cold could turn into something so much worse. So I sit here, thinking of all these things, as I cuddle my baby, and prepare for a long night. I just pray that neither my baby nor yours has to experience the worse case this cold and flu season.