Pump Up the Volume and Keep Down the Barfs

If you had been at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto yesterday, you would have seen a woman in a striped shirt sternly chiding a hyperactive little boy in the line for Starbucks. You might have rolled your eyes at this lady’s major over-reaction to some 4-year-old shenanigans. Or you might have felt sympathy for her as she struggled to just keep her son at her side as over and over he giggled and tried to run away.

Yesterday was just seriously one of those days. One of those days that I have lived so many of in the past 3 years. A day in which I had to keep my little guy under control in the busy hospital environment, and put up with the well-meaning but very irritating commentary of passers-by. A day in which I had to remember the names of the health personnel for the specific clinic we were visiting, and the details of what was discussed at our last visit.  Although to be honest, there is just no more room in the database of my brain for anything else, and it seems lately that other, less important stuff is getting deleted as we go.

Bean had an appointment in audiology yesterday afternoon, so we went straight to the hospital after school and ate our usual sushi lunch. Here is what typically happens: while I am trying to pay for said sushi, Gavin takes off into the busy lunch-time crowd in the atrium, and someone yells, “There he goes, you’d better go after him!” I would like to believe that no harm will come to him there, but can’t actually test that belief, so always have to tell the sushi guy to just wait a moment while I run after him, grab him and bring him back laughing to sit down and eat. As soon as he has finished and I am trying to clear up the garbage, he is off again, and I am stuck with hands full of empty soy-sauce packets, trying to pursue him, dodge the 3 million people in the Subway queue, get rid of my garbage, and somehow, somehow keep my cool. Once I’ve lassoed him again I deliver a warning about TV privileges, and enter the line at Starbucks, where he tries to take off again and bounces off of people holding hot coffees and looking at their phones, no clue they are about to be torpedoed by a little boy.

After all this typical action yesterday, I was already tired by the time we got to audiology. We are now testing Gavin’s hearing every 6 months, and at our last visit discussed the possibility of trying a hearing aid. It is always stressful to sit through the tests, as it is quite possible that his hearing will deteriorate with each visit. We only discovered a slight difference in his left ear yesterday, and the hearing in his right ear remains good. Thankfully.

After a visit with the ENT doctor, quite on the spur of the moment we walked over to a nearby office to get Gav fitted for a hearing aid. It’s a big step, but it feels right to at least try one. Although when we talked about it he told me, You know Mum that I don’t really like trying new things, after discussing it, he agreed. The biggest issues that Gavin’s loss pose are being able to hear in crowds and figuring out where sounds are coming from in space. If he is looking for one of us in the house, we have to tell him where we are exactly as he cannot tell if our voices are coming from the office upstairs or the basement. The nice folks at the hearing aid centre had the mold of his ear done in about 5 minutes, so we’ll get the aid for a trial period in a couple of weeks.

Feeling positive about this turn of events, we headed for home and I gave Gav permission to watch a movie on the couch while I got dinner ready. A little while later, he gave me a look which I know all too well and said, I think I need to go to sleep now. He then said, I don’t have a headache, but my head just feels… weird. This is what happened the last time he got sick at school, and once the barfing started, well, we ended up in hospital for a couple of days. Of course, my anxiety levels rocketed straight to the moon, but I quickly brought a pillow and a bucket and tucked him in. He went straight to sleep.

I just sat numb, in the kitchen, and thought about the more than 25 days Gav has missed at school this year. I thought about the last 3 years, as we approach the anniversary of D-day on June 20th. I thought about all the efforts I have made to protect and ensure his good health – the naturopath, osteopath, the research, the holistic meal-planning, the supplements, vitamins and smoothies, the air filter, humidifier, hand-washing, physio, exercise. The many, many doctor visits. I thought about all the cancelled plans and the fact that we are supposed to be taking a trip to New York this weekend. I thought about the intense loneliness that feel stuck in the house with a sick child 4-7 days a month. I thought about all of these things and just felt so, SO f***ing sorry for myself.

And then I also thought about the fact that if this was another episode coming on, it is early, arriving only 4 weeks from the last, and our only advice from our docs was that this vomiting syndrome works in a similar way to migraine, and that we would need to try to shut it down as quickly as possible by administering ondansetron and lots of rest as soon as vomiting begins. And then I thought about the fact that I did not have this medication because I had failed to pick it up last week from the pharmacy.

About half an hour later Craig arrived home from work and I raced to the pharmacy to get the meds. I noticed it had not been bagged up, but the pharmacist grabbed it off the counter and asked me to pay at the front cash. I should mention here that we don’t have health insurance. This is a choice we have made, but there are times it jumps up to bite us and this was one of those times. In shock, I looked at the $300 price and just welled up in tears. The cashier was quite lovely as I sniffled and handed over my credit card. I could write a book called Crying in Inappropriate Places. 

But I had the meds in hand so I headed home. No barfs. Gavin went to sleep for the night shortly after and did not vomit. I am keeping him at home today to rest, and his only symptom seems to be a slightly poky appetite. Has this wave passed us by? Could it possibly just be that he was tired and needed to rest? Maybe.

He and I are hanging. I am trying to stop him from bouncing off the walls. I am watching him, watching him and hoping for the best.


2 Responses to “Pump Up the Volume and Keep Down the Barfs”

  1. Anonymous says:

    Oh my dear, dear Erica, you can feel sorry for yourself all you want. Indulge yourself in self-pity. But never feel guilty about it. Forgive yourself if you get cranky and teary. In spite of all the evidence which points to the opposite, you are NOT superwoman. You are doing a tremendous job at managing Gavin and all his needs. Yes, I’m sure you feel alone as many at-home Moms do, but you have more reason than most to feel this way. It’s all worth it in the end. I know you know that. Love you.

    P.S. Gavin’s a monkey! I can’t help but laugh at what he does, but I’m not there am I? 🙂

  2. Cherie says:

    Try not to be too hard on yourself for your feelings. I admire you so much for your strength and willingness to openly share what you are going through. Hugs and sending positive vibes to you all.

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