Yesterday I was supposed to leave for New York. But today is Aidan’s sixth day sick with what seems to be croup with a high fever.
I got sick first, with a flu-like ailment that left me headachy, feverish and weak for about two days, then coughing for over a week like an aging dame who’s smoked too many packs of Marlboro Reds in her day. Aidan got sick on Thursday, screaming for me in the night with a high fever, then shrieking in terror and leaping out of our bed at what seemed to be fever-induced hallucinations. He later told me there had been “snow monsters” in my bed and a “big dinosaur” under his.
Since then his fever has peaked at 104.7 (on Friday), dropped to around 101 and done a pogo type dance ever since, but it has not left him. He developed a deep, barking cough a few days ago, which has kept him up at night and often left him sobbing. On Monday I took him to the CVS Minute Clinic, where a nurse practitioner told me he seemed to be on the mend, and yesterday to a doctor in our pediatrician’s office who diagnosed him with croup, gave me a prescription for antibiotics just in case, and also told me he seemed to be getting progressively healthier. She might have been right. Contrary to my hippie-mom, non-medicating nature, I have been desperately pumping him full of children’s ibuprofen and occasionally Tylenol to try to keep the fever down and today started the antibiotics.
I need my baby to get better. Harlan left town on Sunday, so it’s just been me and I’ve been out of my mind.
Obviously we didn’t leave for New York yesterday. We also didn’t leave today. It just didn’t feel right while he still had a fever.
Yes, this was supposed to be my solo trip to New York, during which I would play with friends and kickstart a fumbling career.
That plan hit snags and now it has hit more.
As a mom, I must put my son first and that is a fact I never question for a minute. I love him so much, each cell throbs with anxiety and prayer when he is ill. As the mother of a baby who died, my anxiety might surpass that of other moms in this situation. Maybe not. Maybe every mom believes her child might die when he coughs in the night. I know that I do, and that I sobbed in Harlan’s arms the other day, because it terrified me to see Aidan shifting from foot to foot, nervously eying his bedroom as if it were haunted, saying, “Mommy, can I sleep downstairs?” It made me me want to have another child—just in case.
But that isn’t what I intended to write about. I intended to write about New York and my incredibly shrinking vacation.
We may go tomorrow, if Aidan is well enough. In any case, tonight I will miss the meeting I was supposed to go to of the book group I was a part of for many years when I lived in New York. I was so looking forward to seeing those girls. I even read the book! (Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson.)
If we do make it, it will be a shorter trip and I am no longer thinking about schmoozing. I’ll see some old friends, go to a reading, a party, maybe a screening, hopefully eat in one of the restaurants that I love. I’ll attend my friend Julie’s bridal shower, the date of which determined this trip in the first place. I’ll spend time with my husband who is working away from us for the next two months (and who also is now fighting flulike symptoms).
It’s a different kind of trip now. And that’s okay. I’m used to sudden shifts in plans. Such is the life of a mom.
And if we don’t get to go at all? Then I might just have to cry for the sacrifices I have made.