Today I got one of those calls--the kind that every working mom dreads.
I walked into the house around 1:00 today and the phone rang, and my stomach lurched. Even before I heard the voice, I felt like I knew something was wrong. And then the voice confirmed it. "Hi, L? This is M..."
I'm not sure exactly what she said after that--something something seizure...something something...emergency room...something something. All I could think was that I couldn't understand why she was still talking. Didn't she realize I should be in a car right now?
Sometime around noon or so Little Man spiked a pretty bad fever--a reaction to his recent round of vaccines. Somewhere around the parking lot of McDonald's, one of the other kids at his day care said that something was wrong with Little Man. Sometime around the time I was leisurely eating a Chipotle burrito, my baby was getting stuck with needles and crying without me in an emergency room.
When I finally got to the hospital, it seemed like hours had passed. I somehow managed to take the longest possible route, and quite frankly I'm surprised I didn't get pulled over or in an accident. When I walked into the room he was already asleep. M was holding him, her eyes bloodshot from crying. The other kids were sitting quietly in the corner keeping each other entertained. It didn't seem possible at that moment that he could have had a seizure; he seemed to peaceful and quiet.
"We don't usually start them on epilepsy medication for something like this," the doctor said with an unnerving calmness. How is it that your seemingly normal and happy life can be punctured so easily with so few words? Before today I had been vigilantly thankful for his health, but I don't think I had ever really realized it wasn't guaranteed.
I'm still not sure I've completely understood what happened today. There's a large space sometime between 1:00 and 4:00 that seems only to be made up of wavy images and white noise in my memory of it. All I want to do is sit in his room and watch him sleep tonight. I'm afraid to take my eyes off him for too long, even though I know that he is in all likelihood just fine right now. I feel this enormous guilt--for not noticing he was too warm this morning (he was, wasn't he?), for having lunch while he was scared and in pain (why didn't I just go pick him up early?), for even working in the first place (is it worth not being there?).
It still feels surreal. Just a few hours after he was sick, he was up as though nothing even happened. He seems to have forgotten it. He seems to hold no grudge about my absence. I'm glad it hasn't seemed to mark him, but it's certainly marked me.