Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Over the Edge

A couple of hard weeks dealing with a friend's death on top of the usual stress of preparing for our journey has put a couple of chinks in my armor.  This recent Travel Vaccine Fiasco just about put me over the edge...

I'm not anti-vaccine by any means, but I do believe in being informed about what is going into my kids' bodies and why.  I followed a modified vaccine schedule, spreading shots out a bit even if it meant more needles, because I didn't like the idea of overwhelming their little immune systems with multiple vaccines all at once.  By the time Kenyon was born, giving newborns vitamin D supplements was standard practice.  I declined, because really, it would be an effort to not get enough vitamin D in Denver, with its more than 300 days of sparkly bright sunshine.

In preparation for our trip, a phone appointment with our insurance's Travel Clinic informed me that Sam and I would need Tetanus/Whooping Cough and Hepatitis A vaccines, and both older boys would just need the Hepatitis A vaccine (Kenyon had already had it, as it was standard by the time he came into the world).

Jackson, at 3 years old
As always, I asked what symptoms to watch for in case of a terrible vaccine reaction, and the shots were uneventful--the nurse gave me the handy tip of doing a few push-ups, even just against the wall, to reduce post-vaccine muscle soreness, and it really worked well.  Jackson, Alex and I were in the elevator heading out when Jackson leaned against the wall, saying he was really tired and wanted to rest when we got home.  We walked across the lobby towards the other elevator that provides access to the parking garage.  As we headed down to the garage, Jackson weakly said he didn't feel good at all, that he felt like he was going to throw up.

The doors opened and we stepped out into the parking garage elevator lobby, where Jackson's legs buckled, body collapsed, and he lay there totally unresponsive on the ground.

Jackson, at 5 years old
Inwardly, I was in complete panic mode, thinking of the possibility that he was having some freakish reaction to the vaccine that was just pumped into him.  I struggled, trying to lift him, but it quickly became apparent that his 8-year old body as dead weight is too much for this mother to carry.  The jackets and vaccination papers that I had been carrying were strewn all over the place.

Time stopped for me there, with my son lying limp on the tile floor.  With no one around to help and me unable to lift him, I had to drag his seemingly lifeless body into the elevator to get back up to the main lobby.  Alex was awesome; I'm sure he was totally freaked out inside but he stayed calm and I didn't notice it at the time but he swiftly picked up all the stuff that I had dropped and rode in the elevator with me.

Jackson, at 7 years old
Frustratingly, the elevator didn't appear to notice the emergency and took its merry time bringing us up to the main floor, where I dragged Jackson out in to the lobby and yelled for help; at this point he still wasn't conscious.  As nurses ran over, he was finally starting to open his eyes, and we took him in a wheelchair back up to the doctor's office while I tried to not completely lose my shit in front of my kids.

Turns out he just fainted; they said it's fairly common for boys to hold their breath while they get a shot and then it catches up to them a few minutes later when they're on their feet.

He was completely back to normal a short time later, but me?  I am ready to either spend some time locked away in a mental institution or at a spa.  Given our finances, an institution seems far more likely.

Who finagled me into this having-children-that-you-love-more-than-life-itself business?  I could be sipping Mai Tais on a beach with my biggest worry being deciding between the conch fritters or the lobster tail for dinner instead of trying to make peace with the terrible predicament of a mother desperately loving three human beings and not being able to protect them from life's dangers.  What worries me most is that in the grand scheme of things, this fainting incident was super minor, and it almost took me down for good.

There's no way I'm going to survive parenthood.


  1. Wow, I don't know what I would have done in that situation. They always say that a mother could lift a car off her child but I'm not so sure I wouldn't just stand there and scream. So glad it was only fainting and that Alex rose to the occasion as children so often do when you least expect it.

  2. I got teary eyed at the Alex part. What an experience! I don't know how I would decompress after that one.

  3. Tracy, I couldn't! I went back to work, and my hands were shaky and I fought tears the rest of the day.
    Alex keeps everything inside, so I made a point of saying to him, "That was really scary, wasn't it?" On the way home, Jackson thanked Alex for helping, and Alex said, "That's what little brothers are for." Very cute. Then Jackson said he was glad that Kenyon wasn't there because he would have been embarrassed. I asked why, and he said, "Well, Kenyon thinks of me as being so big and strong." I love them.

  4. You WILL survive motherhood. You are one of the best moms that I know. And your heart will probably break a million times, just as it will swell to a million times more than if you were just eating lobster tails on a beach with no children to love. Sometimes I feel like every mom is just walking around with a target on their backs waiting for the ball to drop. Then I give my mental brain a swift kick in the head because I know better. We're all here now. We're all okay.

    Six weeks?!! NO!!!!