Wednesday, June 29, 2005

My Daughter's Pain

Athena has hand, foot, and mouth disease. This is a sentence I never imagined I would say (or write). After all, I never thought I would own a horse, and I thought this was something only horses got. Turns out, that’s a whole OTHER disease. “What is this disease?” you ask. I’m glad you asked.

I have absolutely no frigging idea. There are some articles on the web about it here, here and here. However, I am still a bit mystified about it. Basically, it’s a virus, and it may or may not manifest itself as a fever, sore throat, mouth ulcers, and/or skin rash. Apparently, Athena only has the mouth ulcers, which – if you ask me – would be the worst part to get. She has no fever and she doesn’t seem to have a sore throat. But there are some nasty blisters in her mouth, one of which popped while we were in the doctor’s waiting room. Blood trickled out of her mouth like she was a vampire. And her body kept going rigid with pain. I almost couldn’t bear it.

But the mommy instinct is strong, and it seems my logical brain is taking over. Before, if there was blood anywhere on Athena’s person, I would basically pass her off to Chris. He has a stomach for these things. And although it pains him as much as me to see her hurting, he deals with it very smoothly while I nearly faint dead away.

However, I am a single parent tonight, and for the next two days, while Chris is at Origins. I was nervous about this status anyway, as it’s been basically a year since I was alone with her for any great length of time. Then, only hours after I left her at daycare, I get the call. A cold I was ready for. Even a fever; I’m all set. But mouth ulcers?! Pain in her mouth that is not even comparable to the teething pain she already knows and loves? What on earth am I going to do?

And let me tell you… it hasn’t gotten any better as the day wears on. I have given her ice chips and I’m plying her with Tylenol every 4 hours… but she is trying valiantly to sleep and is only partly succeeding. Every now and again, she awakens with pain, and has to cry herself back to sleep. Nothing I do seems to help. She just hurts. It has been almost two hours since I gave her the last dose, and I can’t tell you how tempting it is to give her more. I’m ready to try the old Jack-Daniels-on-the-gums trick, but I’m scared I will kill her. I’ll give her too much and she will pass out and her heart will stop. Fortunately, I don’t have any of that fairly-new-mom paranoia I hear so much about, eh?

I’m afraid I’m in for a sleepless night. I thought those were past me… but it looks like I was wrong. However, this whole experience has taught me one very important thing. I am a GOOD mom. I am tired as hell, and I want nothing more than to collapse into a 12-hour coma, but I know that I will be up several times tonight administering Tylenol and rubbing a tiny little back. And I can truly say that I love this job.

Although, my husband is never allowed to go on a trip without me again.


Chris said...


cathy said...

I think you're a GREAT Mommy. I hope you got some sleep last night. You sounded very tired, when I called. I hope Athena is feeling better soon. :(

JL said...

poor little athena. she so lucky to have a mommy like you. apparently this virus runs it's course pretty quickly and is extremely common in daycare situations. i was thinking about you guys the other day. When you drove away, i still her heard little screams. :-( I hope she's feeling better and you're getting rest!