Saturday, June 18, 2011

Ticked off

On the first day of summer things went totally wrong.

After a morning of dealing with no school and wondering what to do, I left Mason downstairs to watch Backyardigans while Sophie and I went upstairs to take a shower so I could get my head awake.

Sophie and I were giggling up a storm, sitting on the shower floor. I was teaching her the wheels on the bus song. Mason came walking in and announced very happily, "we have our first watermelons." Moments later he came back in and asked if he could take a shower too. I hesitated and then after seeing his disappointment, I caved. He undressed and walked into the shower. I told him to get his hair wet and wash up and that's when I noticed a black spot under his arm. I told him to hold up and come outside. Glasses off I couldn't really see but I knew it was some sort of bug and wanted to get a tissue or something and get it off before Mason freaked out. I tried to flick it a bit with toilet paper and that's when I stopped to get a closer look. Squinting my eyes hard I stared at it and that's when I thought, oh crap. I think this is a tick.

Shower still running, Sophie quietly playing in it, I left Mason standing in the bathroom holding his arm up. Soaking wet and naked I ran to the top of the stairs and yelled for Fred. No answer. That's when I screamed as loud as I could so he could hear where ever he was and he came running in from outside. I hurriedly told him that I think Mason has a tick on him and I am not sure what to do, I don't have my glasses. He confirmed it was a tick and said he just saw our neighbor and ran out to talk with her. Our neighbor's daughter has Lyme disease. Has since she was about Mason's age. It's been a horrible disease and we've spent the last three years listening to the stories from our neighbor. I immediately thought about this and tried to stay calm, but all I could think was my poor little boy standing naked in the bathroom with this tick stuck to his armpit. How he had his whole life ahead of him and how this moment could possibly take all that away.

It felt like forever. Waiting there for Fred to come back. I didn't know what to do. Was there something I should be doing right now? My mind was going a mile a minute and I couldn't turn it off. My hands were shaking so bad and Mason started crying. I tried to calm him but I wasn't sure myself and Fred was taking forever. Mason kept crying and saying he wanted daddy and I felt helpless and scared and I started crying too. I couldn't just leave both the kids in the house and search for Fred outside, I knew he was getting information on how to properly take the tick off and what to do afterward, but my god the two of us were just standing there with no idea what was going on or what to do. And the seconds went by so slowly. IT WAS TERRIFYING.

Finally Fred came back but he wouldn't tell me what he was doing or what needed to be done and I was freaking out. I just wanted to know. It was killing me not having this knowledge and my son's health in danger. He tried to kick me out but Mason really started to freak when Fred got the tweezers so I ran back in and held Mason as tight as I could while Fred removed the tick (and some of Mason's skin with it) and placed it in a Ziplock bag. Mason was in tears, Sophie was trying to figure out what was going on, still in the shower, and I was sobbing. My whole body shaking in horrid sobs. I didn't know if my little boy was going to be OK or not.

Moments later our neighbor came knocking on the door to check the situation. We all quickly got some clothes on Mason and myself and went downstairs. She talked to us for like 3o minutes, giving us the website of a lab we can send the tick off to in order to test for Lyme disease. Arming us with what to look out for in the next days, weeks, etc. The bulls-eye rash, any fatigue, or irritability, etc. It was a bit comforting to have her there talking with us. Looking back she can see the warning signs she missed with her daughter. I hope her experience helped us.

So many things I am trying to stay hopeful about. Hoping the test the lab does on the tick comes back negative. Hoping no rash develops. The ticks head was not imbedded in Mason's skin, nor was it engorged so I am hoping that is a good sign. Trying to stay hopeful that this tick was not on Mason longer than the few moments yesterday morning before spotting it. We didn't notice anything before then, but then again we weren't looking either and it had been quite a while since the kids had bathed; I hate admitting that.

In the meantime we are observing the bite everyday, checking the kids for ticks on a regular basis after playing in the yard. I called our pest service about getting the yard sprayed for ticks. And emailed our pediatrician about the whole situation and thought I'd mention it to him at Sophie's check up on Monday.

I don't normally pray, but last night I found myself knelt beside my bed, head bowed, hands crossed and through my tears I spoke; "Dear Heavenly Father..." I prayed, and I've been doing that a lot since yesterday. I know, we as parents, can't protect our children from everything. There will always be dangers out there. As a mother, I find it is the hardest thing to accept that harm will come to my childen in some form or another. Be it a broken heart, broken bone, or an illness. I know that I can't keep them in a bubble, locked in the house, but I feel like I want to do that sometimes. To hold them, protect them and promise nothing will ever happen to them. It is these moments that I recall that scene in Finding Nemo when Marlin, Nemo's father, says that he promised he would never let anything happen to his son and Dory replies, "well that's a silly thing to promise. You can't never let anything happen to him. Then nothing would ever happen to him." Dory was right. I see that. But, how do I ease the fear, the pain, the constant worry, the guilt? How do I let go? How do I go on with life knowing the dangers yet still find comfort and peace? I need to know that it is all going to be OK. I need to have reassurance and knowledge. I know all to well how fragile and short life really is. I have seen and experienced my share of loss.

So as I sit here, my family in bed asleep, I think about how I wish I could go back to Thursday. Before any of this happened and prevent it, but know I can't. I think of how much I have prayed for the health of my son. I think, I need to say one more prayer. A prayer for strength. To find my strength to get through this no matter the outcome, and to learn from it all.

I may sound like one neurotic mother right now, I know my husband thinks I am, but I just needed to get this out. I needed to talk and have someone listen. So if you read all of this, I say, Thanks.

With that, I am off to bed with the hope I can get some sleep tonight.
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