A. has a cough, and a cold, and I have a knot in my stomach that gets bigger every time he coughs. It makes no sense that I would react this way; or it makes all the sense in the world, depending on how you look at it. It’s the end of the day and I’m exhausted from worry. Fucking worry.
It is not really any different from any of the other coughs our sweet boy has had his first year of life. Why am I obsessing about this one? Ah, oh yeah, I guess I obsess about all of them. It just seems like he’s barely over one “innocent” cough/cold before he’s got another one! Do all babies get coughs this often? For nearly every cough, we’ve called the after hours nurse line, or his pediatrician, asking if we should bring him in. They always say No, unless he:
a. is having chest refractions, and/or showing difficulty breathing
b. has a high fever and the cough is not getting better
c. is blue
d. is wheezing or making noises when he breathes
e. has the cough for more than 3 weeks
I know these things, I know what to look for, and yet loose grasp of their place in reality. Because I also know Maddie, and I also have lived through a three month NICU stay, complete with diagnoses of Respiratory Distress Syndrome and Bronchopulmonary Dysplasia. And then there’s “swine flu” on the radio. A lovely cocktail of anxiety.
Is he sick because I let him play in the water when it was possibly not hot enough out? (It seemed warm enough, but then the sun would go behind the clouds and the wind would blow…?..?)
While I find myself here, at this point in time,
there is a part of me that is still here.
What I want to know is, is there a part of my former preemie that is still here?
Or is he good to go?
Is this a “normal” cough? Are his lungs perfect now? He has not had a single infection, nor hospital stay, nor dose of oxygen or albuterol, nor antibiotics nor post-discharge breathing episode. He has not had RSV or pneumonia or bronchitis or bronchilococolitis (or whatever that cousin of bronchitis is called). A test last year revealed that he did get “paraflu,” the virus that can lead to “croup” but he did not get croup. But still, I worry. Thank god for wine, and thank god for the hour when it is acceptable to drink it.
Mister Finn never saw a pulmonologist post-discharge, because he did not come home on oxygen. But I wonder if I should get his pediatrician to write a referral for one so that we can have tests done to alleviate some worry? Do such tests exist?
This boy is the best thing in the world. I love him so much that sometimes it’s scary to think about how much I love him.