Wednesday, September 15, 2010
Epic Mommy Fail. Also, Fainting Goats.
I HATE being weak.
So I guess that explains why I was sprawled out on the bathroom floor at the doctor's office, knees under me, head down, both arms extended in front of me, as if worshiping the toilet bowl.
As I knelt there, doing my square breathing, I was wishing I was a normal mommy, one who doesn't feel faint when her child gets five shots in a row in the thin skin of the underside of his forearm, a mommy who doesn't get queasy when this adult-boy in a man's body takes a little break before the last three shots. A mommy who doesn't run away to the bathroom, where she can faint in peace.
Did I lock the door?
What if none of this works? The kneeling and breathing and the cold paper towel on the back of my neck? What if the nurse finishes and I'm in here unconscious, my tongue hanging out and my skirt tangled up around my waist?
I'd told her that I was going to get water, which was true. I'd had a sip. But then the hall started looking a little tunnel-ish, and I walked my feet in front of me, hoping I could make it around the corner before I crumpled to the floor.
At least the bathroom floor was fairly clean.
I'd been doing so well. I was fine during the whole exam, as she gridded off a map on his back. The panel of allergens was no big deal, just tiny polka dots, cooking under the skin like the last time we did this, bubbling up a reaction, hopefully. Something to make it worth the trip. Something to explain why he couldn't breathe.
It was the third time I'd taken him to the doctor since school started, and his asthma was getting worse, not better. This athletic kid who runs eight miles in the heat and humidity of summer with barely a raise of an eyebrow, now, in the cooler weather of the oncoming fall, felt his chest closing in on him. Running against the tightness was wearing him out.
Unfortunately, the allergy panel showed nothing. "It's time for fun with needles," the doc said.
Surprise, surprise. It wasn't fun at all.
And how did Mom support him?
By hiding in the bathroom.
It wasn't the first time.
I'd camped out on floors in doctor's offices and hospitals all across the eastern United States. When Sarah had her pre-op for her wisdom teeth removal, when Todd had his knee surgery. Even during a mammogram once.
(Be warned, it's not a good idea to faint when your boob is trapped in a vice. Heed my wisdom.)
But I'd never hidden myself away, until now.
It wasn't going very well.
And then I thought of the muffin.
Months ago, I had met my friends for coffee, and as we laughed, a crumb took a wrong turn. I started to choke a little, then held up my hand, as if to say "Don't worry, I've got control of this." I coughed and coughed, a lot at first, and then just a little. But the bit o' muffin wouldn't quit bouncing around my windpipe. The coughing wouldn't stop.
This was embarrassing.
I had the urge to leave, to go outside and hack out the muffin, so I did. I ran out the door and hacked myself silly, a cat with a hairball. Not pretty.
Finally it stopped, at the exact moment Susie opened the door.
"I was about to come help you, whether you wanted it or not," she said. "You know that's what people do before they choke to death, don't you? They run off, just like an animal, burrowing away to die. They don't want everybody looking at them, so they go away and choke to death. It's a real thing, Becky. It's in studies."
How I love my friends.
I finally relaxed enough and stopped thinking about needle pricks and blood enough to get up and check on my boy. What did we learn from eight shots and a panel full of polka dots?
Nada. Rien. Nothing.
But we're trying a new inhaler and we'll see what happens.
And what did I learn, personally?
The age old lesson that when we try to hold onto our pride and a false sense of control, when we hide our weaknesses from others instead of letting them care for us, we just may end up cheek to cheek with the bathroom tile at the allergist's office.
And also that I could be related to Myotonic goats.
Have a wonder-full Wednesday, y'all. And tell me, is it hard for you to be open about your weaknesses?
I wish you easy breathing!
PS. If you know my son, don't ask him about it. It's a touchy subject, as you can imagine.
Photo by rcameraw, creative commons