To day was supposed to be about shopping. Sarah’s beloved Buick is at the mechanic’s for a tune-up (scheduled after the unnerving breakdown a couple of weeks ago), and she and I were going to spend the day out and about . Lunch, the mall, maybe a trip to Wickford for some fun boutique shopping. Then I would come home and write a witty little story about how much fun it is to shop with a daughter who is 20, as opposed to one who is 14.
Didn’t happen. Why?
Invasion. Infection. The dreaded swine-flu is in my house.
Sarah spent Halloween weekend in Beverly with her boyfriend. The plan was to meet friends in Salem for the “big day” – the commuter trains run to and from Salem for free on October 31, she says. But, by Friday night, she had already developed a cough. She sent me a text message before leaving for home on Sunday.
“Mom, I’m REALLY sick.”
She arrived, pale and weak and hacking – no fever – and was put to bed with a cup of tea. She ate a little dinner and went back to bed.
Monday morning,she seemed a little better. Then not. Then better. That afternoon she changed her sweat-soaked sheets and washed some clothes. Exhausted herself and went back to bed feeling worse.
Tuesday she stayed in bed all day.
Of course, it was never far from anyone’s mind that this had the potential to get ugly. Two 15-year-old girls died in Rhode Island last week, one who was a student in a Portsmouth private school. Both of them had the flu, but the Health Department has stopped short of saying that the flu caused their deaths. Close enough for any Mom with an active case in the house.
A trip to the doctor would have been pointless. Not only was she (most likely) past the window where Tamiflu is useful, the drug is in short supply around here, and reserved for people with chronic conditions who contract the virus.
So, we watched her for signs of an emergency. Is her cough getting worse? Fever too high? Are we sure she wore herself out on Monday and it’s not the “relapse” they say turns deadly?
And then there are the silent, pleading looks that say,”Mommy, do something!‘
Of course you want to do something. But there is nothing to do. Drink your fluids. Take your temperature. Rest. Try to eat a little soup. Rest some more. On a rational level, we both understand that. Still, it’s next to impossible to shake the feeling that, as the Mom, you should be able to fix it, just like you bandaged her scraped knee when she was six.
Now it’s Wednesday, and we seem to be coming out of the woods. She ate scrambled eggs for breakfast and drove her car to Rocky’s for its check-up. Her eyes are clear, and the cough seems better. No one else in the house has gotten sick, which is a major blessing. A few more days and I can find something else to worry about.
I hope the next one will fit under a band-aid.