Tadashi* hit an unfortunate milestone this week: his first sickness. More specifically, his first bout of the flu. Which has made for a very tumultuous past few days in the C.B. household.
Looking back, it’s simultaneously funny and miraculous how we even discovered he was sick: it was because our DVR malfunctioned. For whatever reason, my recording of Sunday’s post-Super Bowl episode of “This Is Us” was botched. And, because I couldn’t bear to go to sleep and wake up to spoilers all over my Facebook and Twitter feeds, I re-activated my Hulu account and waited until midnight for the new episode to pop up on the streaming service.
And thank God that happened. Because, while waiting to watch the new episode, I realized that my sleeping baby was sleeping a lot longer than usual and was making an odd whistling sound while snoozing.
So, for whatever reason, Reggie and I decided to take Tadashi’s temperature. And lo and behold — he had a 104º fever.
That led to a bit of whirlwind night, filled with long phone wait-times with the Kaiser Advice Nurse, panicked conversations with my mom and my sister, and mini arguments about whether or not we should give Tadashi Tylenol, whether or not we should undress him some more, whether or not we should bring him to the emergency room…
Eventually, after talking to the advice nurse and monitoring him for a bit, we gave Tadashi some Tylenol, resolved to schedule an appointment with his doctor the next day, and tried our best to get some rest.
The past few days have been chaos, punctuated by really strong emotions. Sadness at his discomfort, quickly followed by overwhelming helplessness, since there’s not much we can do other than try to comfort him as much as possible. Then, every few hours, anger at certain individuals who I want so badly to blame for potentially getting him sick — irritation because, at the end of it all, what’s done is done, and there’s nothing I can do about it.
Then, of course, there has been a lot of worry about whether or not we’re doing everything that we can. Fear that he might get a lot worse. Frustration that this is all happening in conjunction with so many other things going on in our lives: the death of Reggie’s grandfather, issues with family, craziness at work… Anxiety around whether or not he’ll get better by the time we need to do things this weekend.
And guilt. A hell of a lot of guilt.
Guilt that I’m impatient that Tadashi just gets better soon. Guilt that I’m missing work. Guilt that I’m feeling guilty about missing work, rather than focusing on taking care of my sick child. Then, finally, guilt that I somehow managed to get my barely six-month-old sick with the flu in the first place.
It has been tiring. And saddening. I admit: there have been quite a few times these past few days where I’ve either cried hysterically or screamed into a pillow because I’m not sure how to make Tadashi better. And then my heart breaks into a million pieces when Tadashi starts fussing and crying and yearning for Reggie or me to hold him and comfort him. In those moments, I wish that I could suck the sickness right out of him; I’d gladly be sick in his stead if that means his tiny infant body isn’t uncomfortable anymore.
But there have been silver linings. Like the fact that Reggie has been able to stay home to help me. That my team at work has been so supportive to allow me to work from home to take care of Tadashi. That I have siblings with young children who can easily answer Reggie’s and my questions when it comes to anything, from how we should dress him when he sleeps to how we can disinfect his toys after this flu has run its course. That Tadashi’s doctor was so thorough and direct and so efficiently helped us to pinpoint his sickness — and got him the right medication to help him get better more quickly.
And that, for whatever reason, Tadashi just happens to be the happiest sick baby ever. Even though he’s running a fever, he somehow manages to smile and laugh and babble and play. And that, as the hours pass, his fever keeps dropping, and his spirits keep rising.
And those are the things I hold onto to ensure that I’m maintaining my sanity. And — at the end of it all — make me so grateful for these past few days, no matter how hard they’ve been.