Call Me Carol

After two and a half days in the house and at least one more ahead of me, I had to take a breather late Sunday afternoon.  I took Liam to the doctor then administered a round of Advil to keep his fever in check; then I told Bill I had to get out for a while.  I said I was going shopping – because I didn't know what else a mother does spur of the moment on a Sunday afternoon when she proclaims, “Enough!  You shall all survive without me for a couple hours!”  (I had showered that morning, so exercise was out of the question.) I went to the new Container Store, taking with me measurements of our three new bathroom drawers.  Their contents were chaos.  In the bathroom storage aisle, I perused the robust inventory for just the right stackable trays.  Voices of a man and a woman in front of me were getting louder.  “You want to talk about all your shit now?  You think I’ve got a lot!” decried a husband, too loudly, to his wife who was walking away from him.  Couples together over five years do not belong in an organizing store together.

As I tried to add tray widths together that would get close to the overall drawer width, a sweet lady picked up a piece of plastic with 24 holes in it.  “Oh, this would be nice on my vanity.”  I ignored her.  I was trying to add 8 + 8 + 3 1/2  – was that more than 19 ¼?  Or, maybe 6 + 9 +….  “Hmmm, do you think round ones would fit in the square holes?”  Well, you probably know that  saying as well as I do.  “I really don’t know.”  We were talking about lipstick.  She had a pretty shade of red on her lips.  “I wish I had one with me to test it out.”  Oh dear...  I felt that Carol Burnett glowering eye twitch and lip pucker setting in as I again loss track of my addition.

And my lip pucker was void of color.  And my purse was void of Elizabeth Arden, Clinique, and Estee Lauder tubes of color – round or square.  My dear, I don’t even have my Avon Care Deeply lip balm on me.  I gave it to my son as I left the house.  His lips are so dry from fever -- he thought the dead skin flaps were little wings sprouting on his lips.

Despite my annoyance at not being able to concentrate on simple addition while half-participating in this conversation, I stood up a little straighter.  This woman was asking my opinion about a lipstick tray.  I had succeeded.  The shower, blow-dry, and simple make-up application made me look more like a woman shopping and less like a tired Mom.  For a couple hours.

Until I went home and flopped down onto the couch.  Too tired to glower, twitch, or pucker.

Two ear tugs to Moms.

Sitting and Watching

Day 1 - Friday, Jan. 25th Ribbons of pink sunrise surround our house this morning.  Horizontal pinks line the sky and grow in intensity before giving way to the full glare of the morning sun.

That’s the background view out the window as I sit on the couch watching Liam.  At sunrise, he woke up screaming with a fever and a headache.  When I explained he had a bug, Liam wondered if it was a hot bug that landed on the top of his head.  When I explained he had a fever, Liam decided it was because he I had too many dreams in his head.

After giving him a dose of Tylenol, I sit and watch Liam.  Feeling his hot head.  Moving covers on and off.  Looking for any sign of a febrile seizure.  Realistic or not, that’s where my mind goes when fever comes into our house.

Will had a febrile seizure 6 years and 11 months ago when he was two, but I didn’t know that until we got to the hospital by ambulance.  I was at the kitchen counter, chatting away with my back to him.  When all was quiet behind me, I turned to see him slumped over in his chair.  I dialed 911.  I took him out of his chair and watched his lips turn blue.  His body was limp and I couldn’t feel his breath.  The quiet words “This is it?  I’ve lost him?” laced through my numb mind.

Then, I heard a firm voice say aloud, “No!  This is not going to happen!”  I did the Heimlich maneuver thinking perhaps he had choked on a grape.  I gave him a couple puffs mouth-to-mouth to make him breathe.  By that time, a police officer was at my door.  I opened the door from the floor where I was crouched holding Will, waiting to give him to somebody who could do more than I.  My neighbor arrived and arranged to get Bill from work to the hospital to meet me.  The ambulance arrived.  The paramedics were so calm, saying that he was responsive and coming around.  I didn’t see it.  I wanted them to whisk him out of my arms and make him better.

I sat in the front seat of the ambulance on the way to the hospital.  My body pulled taut, emotional armor.  My mind pleading with God.  I heard the paramedics calm again, saying he was still coming around.  I don’t remember much between that ride and the point where Will from the hospital bed hugged me and asked for the “fuzzy” oxygen monitor to be taken out from between his toes.  My body, emotions, and mind went limp.  Over the hump.  On our way to normal.

With a rotating 3-hour pattern of Tylenol then Advil, Will was fine a few days later.  However, I sat looking at the shadow of his blue lips for days.  Then the phone rang a week later and the voice of our adoption social worker was on the other end.  Linda... Will has a little brother, and Korea is willing to waive the age restriction for parents if you and Bill will raise the boys together.  My sobbing must have been confusing to her.

The call brought me out of a funk and left me with a feeling of ubiquitous webbing between Will’s seizure and bringing home his little brother Liam.  Had we passed a universal test?  Were there underpinnings of a gracious hand at work?

Day 4 – Monday, Jan. 28th

Blue gray sky puts a drab coating over the morning, sitting day 4 with Liam – still fighting a fever with alternating Tylenol and Advil every three hours.  Liam asks if I’m writing a story.


Is it a mystery?

I smile, Yes.