Friday, January 4, 2013

The Occasional Landmine (part 3,566)

So glad to see 2013, although it's hard to believe it.  Carl is celebrating his 30th high school reunion this the heck is that possible?  Old people have 30th reunions....wait, what?  I guess we're either old or having to redefine old.  We're definitely not old.

New Year's was a quiet one.  G was unexpectedly sick and running a very high fever.  Our party plans cancelled, we settled in for a quiet night.  G's fever escalated over the course of the day and was peaking.  A last recorded temp of 103.7 accompanied by a pretty horrific cough had me worried and seeking the internet for medical advice.  There was nothing to be done except have him take a cool shower, continue his anti-fever meds, and make sure he stayed hydrated.  Incredibly frustrating. 

At one point, a hard unexpected cough caused him to run to the bathroom and choke on his pflegm.  His face turned purple, he gagged and choked into the sink and when the blockage was cleared he started to cry in relief.  I stood there and held him for a moment in a gentle hug - but I was hit with such a strong wave of horror and relief myself that I wanted to squeeze him tight.  In the brief seconds of his horrible coughing fit, my almost man-size boy in his man-size bathrobe looked almost identical to his Dad in a similar fit 8 years ago.  It was a punch in the gut I wasn't prepared for and it was hard for me to hide it from him.  Clearly I didn't want him to see my wild-eyed panic - he'd be so much more scared himself.  Instead - I marginally sucked it up, got him resettled on the couch with a cool drink and left the room for a moment to settle myself.

Seeing him look so much like Daniel when his cancer was so painful for him was a horrible parallel I wasn't ready for.  The fear and physical response was immediate.  Fortunately, G was feeling too terrible to tune into my response and was blissfully unaware.   It sucked.  The fear was completely irrational - G had a fever not cancer, but the whole situation had such a clear resemblance to the earlier one that I had to really talk myself down - it took a little while for my rational brain to take the driver's seat again.

Of the many gifts of widowhood - this is not one I'd count as a positive.  Irrational fear sucks.  Intense worry sucks.  I'm glad it happens only rarely, but geez, a five-minute warning would sure be nice!  The good news is that G is on the mend and his cough is almost gone.  Thank goodness for that.


  1. I think this is the worst thing about grief - these completely unexpected landmines that bring a tsunami of emotion and pain - and panic. In the beginning the fear of those moments crippled me - at times as much as the actual pain of grief. I described my grief in those days as feeling like I was in an abusive relationship - I knew I was going to get hit and I knew it was going to hurt like hell, I just didn't know what would set it off.

    Now, those moments are much less often and I don't live in fear of them, but the pain is still staggering and the shock and surprise takes me right out at the knees. It is horrifying to somehow be transported to a moment or a feeling that you would never want to experience again. Widow PTSD.

  2. I haven't yet had to be around someone very sick since Dave died. At least not sick in a way that struck so close to home. I hope I can keep it together enough to stay out of the loony bin. So impressed with (but not surprised by) your ability to get through it with your sanity intact. :)

  3. Thanks Cassie, it definitely sucked.... I have every confidence that you would stay out of the loony bin! (if not, I promise to visit!!)