About 10 pm last night it dawned on me that I had been wearing the same shirt for about 18 hours, give or take. It was garnished with stains that represented the kind of day I’d had.
There was a grimy little fingerprint, left by one of Will’s classmates when he gave me a hug as I came to collect my boy from school.
An oily splash from the stir fry that I concocted for dinner.
A pink schmear that flew as I engaged in the special martial arts known as Trying To Give Will His Antibiotic.
A drip of toothpaste from when I hastily brushed my teeth in a public sink with a Disney Princess toothbrush in an attempt to claim some control and normalcy as I waited for my son and my husband to come back from having a CT scan and shunt series x-ray.
The lingering images of tears shed waiting to hear whether all was well with my son from his neurosurgeon.
The indelible mark of a gentle touch from a very kind emergency room nurse.
As I lifted the shirt off, and tossed it on the floor atop the mountain of laundry on my bedroom floor, it wouldn’t have surprised me if the damn thing stood up all on its own, buoyed literally by blood, sweat and tears.
Will is sleeping peacefully, snoring gently thanks to the remnants of his virus/cold. Hopefully my husband is resting comfortably, finally, as well. It has been a long two days for all of us. This time last night, we were in the throes of a fortunately infrequent crisis that occurs when Will’s normally robust health shows signs of its earlier peril. He awoke in obvious distress, culminating in the advent of a brief but forceful seizure. I immediately went into my personal zone that I inhabit when this happens. My darling husband followed suit, creating his own coping blueprint as he had never been privy to one of these situations up until now. He travels pretty much exclusively for work, and had never seen Will like this before, only having heard about it over the phone from me. While I know how hard it is to see one's child in distress, it was a personal relief not having to manage things all on my own.
I am always amazed at my ability in these hospital situations to be able to be calm and collect, spouting forth the necessary information always asked in order for the professsionals to get a perspective on the patient’s condition. I suppose it can be attributed, in no small part, to the constant SOS prayers I send up silently, asking for divine guidance and strength. God’s heard it all before, from me and no doubt from other parents in similar situations, and I daresay He’s got quite the handle on the situation, for which I am humbly so grateful.
After visits from hospital personnel both new and familiar and a cup of bad hospital coffee, Will was deemed ok to go home. It was determined that the seizure was One Of Those Things That Just Happens periodically to kids with neurological issues. He’s bounced back with the natural resilience that comes with youth. My husband and I are still pulling ourselves back together, as the residue of our personal post-traumatic stress lingers longer in our adult minds and emotions. We watch him like the proverbial hawk, noting anything that could be a precursor or signal of something going awry. What is normal four-year-old behavior and what is the sign of another crisis brewing -- questions we ask ourselves as we test the limits of our parental instinct.
I suspect that my shirt will be washed pretty soon now, as the laundry beckons, as do the other mundane life tasks that were put on hold yesterday. Getting that shirt clean can’t come soon enough -- I have plenty of other reminders in my life. Although hopefully the physical clothing stains will disappear (hooray for stain sticks), my emotional ones still remain. I really wouldn’t be any kind of parent if things stayed clean and pristine on my soul. And so it goes...