Influenza A and One Sick Man: My Son and I Battle Through One Hellacious Bout!

“Sickman, sickman, sickman…

I can feel the wheel, but I can't steer When my thoughts become my biggest fear” ~ Alice In Chains

This so unfair. Why him? Why Me! Going to the ER 1-2-3 times in four days. What’s that? Why does my head feel like it is housing a quaking nuclear power plant? Is it “symp-pain” for my Japanese brothers?

My sons temp going to 105. 105! For 4 days maybe 5. I am sick with worry or helplessness or (the least of my worries) I have it too.

I am sick, sad, tired and in excruciating pain! I wish I had an ice pick to pry this bullet from my brain. I remember an episode of a crime drama, where a guy drilled a hole in the center of his head because it ached so badly. I dream of drills and ice picks. Of numbness.

No place to run, no place to hide. My own pain is not important because my son is suffering. And when my son suffers I ache. There is nothing more painful than watching your child in pain. This man-sized boy is a sickman and I have no way to make it stop.

The ER was helpful to an extent. Dr. Chris Flynn was actually refreshing in that he gave me his cell number and in these long days of misery and doubt he gave me hope.

We have all these sayings… “This too shall pass”

“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change”

“Lord, make me an instrument of your peace, 
Where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; where there is sadness, joy”

These things we tell ourselves to consol during times of misery and doubt. But when a Mom is so worried about their child that we sit by the “sickman’s” bed just to make sure they are breathing Grasping for moments when we can offer comfort and solace. God! It is hard to be a Mom at these times. And the weakness in my soul that reveals itself as doubt is holding my brain and my body hostage.

The “sickman” and I had a conversation today, in our shared delirium. We talked about Japan. About our friend at Sushi Teri that makes us scrumptious Charashi bowl and buckets of soothing hot miso and green tea. We love to walk around the corner and eat at the sushi bar. Hearing stories of Japan. Of another persons life and home. Of what it is like to leave a home and family behind to start another home and family here. We sat and talked and then laid head to head on cool pillows to help the fever feel less hot. We thought, “How lucky are we that we have cool, clean pillows and cool, clean water. How hard would it be to be this sick and not have some comfort?

I know, I am the queen of putting a “bow” on a story. I tie them all up with little bows of hope. Does it help? I think so. Anyhow, it is just what brain does these days. I hate pain. That is why I drank, and ate and had sex with stray boys. I have to find some level of comfort in through the worst pain.

My son has this ability too. We talk together to sooth what is hurting us. I sit by his bed and press a cold wet cloth to his brow and later he comes to my room and puts his hand on my head and then goes to the sink to make the same “personal soothing device”, a clean, cool, wet cloth. He presses it on my head and smiles. “You are sick too Mom, and no one is here to take care of you.”

We had a joint revelation… “There are people who help and those who just take help. And there are more takers than givers…why is that? Why are some people perfectly comfortable to just take and never give? ”

Well now we have tripped over the human condition. Because it has always been my belief that we should always be “in service”. Even before I got sober, I volunteered. And it really was a selfish thing because it made me feel better as a human. But there are times when the human “being” is just a human “doing” and that is the sand trap of service. It’s like any addiction. Once you have had the high …you want the high. But some highs are OK and some will kill you.

I know I am babbling today. In a delirium. I have a fever and haven’t slept for many nights. I have been scared for my boy and very sad about being powerless to relieve his pain.

I believe there are no accidents. So what does this illness mean? For him? For me? Where to start…WTF! Where to end! I am now simply praying we both wake up healthier tomorrow. I hope the “angel of Influenza A” passes from our house. I hope for some nice weather so I can take my son for a walk. He has been so weak, not able to go far from his bed for these four days. He and I long for fresh air and clear sunlight. We feel deprived of human interaction in the physical. Facebook is a fine thing during these days, but nothing works like a pick-up game of ultimate Frisbee or a run up to the rose garden. I think it is hardest of all for the athlete to be sick. Their endorphins feel deprived as well as your spirit and a kind of depression sets in from the lack of movement.

So here’s to the cliché’s that help us believe in tomorrow and in wellness. Here’s to..”This too shall pass” and “what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger”. Because it does and it will. I have faith and hope.

The “sickman” just patted my hand and it touched my heart so deeply that I wept. My strength was pierced by a single gentle moment reminding me, I don’t have to be so strong all the time, that it is ok to ask for help and that these days make us grateful in the end for the sunny days of health and true happiness. It is the yin and the yang…without both we are not alive.

Slange! Get your flu shot!

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