Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Still Standing

Eli 7.5 is better today. Gloria is much better.

I think I can breathe for the first time in a week.

Eli had been in near-constant pain for four days. That's how awful a rotavirus can be. Seeing someone whose picture should be in the dictionary under "exuberant" suffer like that is an awful experience. It felt like someone had put a huge weight on my chest and I couldn't get any air.

That's what it's like when your son or daughter is seriously ill. The only phrase I can think of to describe it is the claustrophobia of fear. After it goes on for a certain length of time, it's almost impossible to think about anything else. I try very hard to find something funny in everything that happens as a parent--it helps keep me sane--but there's just nothing in a rotavirus but fear. It's so intense, and so pervasive, that there's nothing else to find.

Plus, when you're afraid, it's almost impossible to grind. I always think of myself as a grinder, and I guess it's one of the ways that I define myself. But when I'm afraid for Eli, I lose that ability to focus, so I feel sort of lost.

Actually, it's not lost--it's vulnerable. I never feel vulnerable. I don't feel invulnerable, either, but I'm somewhere in-between. But when Eli gets ill, really ill, I feel incredibly helpless, which must be one of the worst feelings in the world.

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