(Due to excessive words routinely and joyfully used by yours truly, I have divided the following account into three parts. You may want to read part one before continuing to suffer through the wordiness in part two. The little red box in the right-hand corner is always available to use at any time.)
Some things in life have the potential to bring a mom to the very edge of insanity: A child’s laundry hamper overflowing with clothes that are CLEAN because it was the easier choice over the hanger beckoning in the closet. A carpool line that moves so slowly that one is able to witness the actual growth process of grey hair in the rear view mirror. A monkey fit thrown by a three year old at church, in the main entrance, on the floor and in front of the preacher.
Then there are those moments that not only push you to a teetering position on the edge of insanity, but catapult you deep into the valley known as Lunacy. Recently, I made myself at home in this cavernous space for a good seventy-two hours, wearing out my welcome in such a manner that even the insane residing with me in Crazy Canyon would not allow continued co-habitation.
A child in pain brings me to my knees. I lose all sensibility and rational thought which is then replaced with pure panic. I want to urgently minimize it, impulsively fix it, or irrationally inject myself with it.
Our physician warned us of the pain Chandler would experience after the combined tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy. However, he told us that dispensing the pain medication at regular intervals and continued hydration throughout the course of recovery would greatly help in alleviating the discomfort. It was imperative, he firmly told us, that dehydration not occur during the healing process.
After returning home from the hospital, we settled our nine year old into his bed. I fluffed his pillows, placed a water bottle on the nearby desk and watched him fall asleep as his body recuperated from the surgery. Every hour or so, Chandler would awaken and groggily take a few sips of the water I offered before returning to sleep.
This schedule continued for the remainder of the day and throughout the night as the combination of anesthesia and pain medicine given at the hospital provided drowsiness and relief.
Early the following morning, Chandler woke up as a mime. Soreness of throat prevented speech, but from wide eyes and emphatic hand gestures, I was able to surmise that it was time for the pain medicine prescribed.
I am quick like that.
I gave him a dose, which took a little bit of effort as it was difficult to swallow, and then my sweet, obedient child flat out refused to take a sip of water. Mr. Mime placed both hands over his mouth and violently shook his head back and forth like a Labrador drying off from a swim.
The doctor’s echoes warning of the evilness of dehydration rang in my ears and I could feel the panic rising. Chandler hadn’t eaten the day before, and drank very little, and OH NO, WHAT WAS I GOING TO DO IF HE BECAME DEHYDRATED?
An hour passed, and I tried again to get Chandler to drink a little water. This time he looked at me with the stink eye and aggressively pushed the glass away from him. My tenderhearted son, the one who is kind to all and loves his mama, had turned into the devil. He had the red eyes to prove it.
A third attempt a little while later found him kicking the air in my direction. The Mime had added karate to his collection of wayward communication skills and not even Mr. Miyagi would be able to get near him with a cup of water. Chandler looked pale and his skin seemed to shrivel right before my eyes from obvious lack of fluids.
Thirty minutes later, I made another attempt. As I slowly neared him in a defensive stance prepared to intercept a hand sword collar-bone chop, Chandler weakly sat up, turned in my direction, and threw up all over me.
I could have moved in time to avoid the spew of vomit but maternal instinct overrode maternal sense. I held out my hands, in cup like fashion, in an attempt to CATCH THE CONTENTS OF MY CHILD’S STOMACH.
What is it in a mom’s DNA that releases a reflex quicker than that of the feline variety to catch vomit? I don’t feel compelled to catch the throw up belonging to my husband, or that of my best friend. But gagging that involves a child of mine? I turn into an all-star center fielder who will dive across a room to trap regurgitated pop tarts in the palm of my hands.
The pain Chandler must have felt when becoming sick all over me made me weak in the knees. If the vomiting continued, then this would mean that even if I caught my little mime in a weak moment and convinced him to swallow, he wouldn’t be able to keep any of it down. OH NO, WHAT WAS I GOING TO DO IF HE BECAME DEHYDRATED?
It was clear I was in the beginning stages of working myself into a “tizzy” (Southern word for an adult hissy fit or tantrum; also a state of confusion or anxiety), so I picked up the phone to call my husband at work. Surely, sound counsel would calm my fears.
And that’s when I saw the swarm of buzzards outside of Chandler’s window.