|What Big Son is wearing this week.|
You know what I hate? The law of the universe which dictates that your child
* will only ever have a volcanic raging fever – in the middle of the night. Play all day, run wild outdoors then clock strikes twelve? Pumpkin coach explodes. Fever, crash and burn.
* will only ever be mortally wounded – in the middle of the night. Climb a tree in the moonlight because they think ‘it’s fun’ and rip their leg open bad enough that they need emergency surgery.
* will only ever suffer a life-threatening allergic reaction to their pain meds – in the middle of the night. Play X-box all afternoon. Sleep. Eat. Play more X-box. BAAAAAM, ‘I’m dying, help me.‘
I also hate that secondary law of the universe which dictates that all of these bad things will only ever happen to your child when your partner is an ocean away in Samoa/Australia/NZ.
Last week, Big Son had his wisdom tooth extracted. There was crying involved. From me. There was pain, suffering and swelling. For him. He was doped up with 3 different types of medication. By the second day, he was feeling worse than the first. I soothed him and told him ‘this too shall pass. Be strong. Be patient.’ By the third day, he was feeling super worse than the second. I was a little irritated with him. Because of course, I am a busy multi-tasking mother who has way more important things to do than coddle a seventeen year old who’s practically a MAN already. I brushed him off and told him ‘you’re exaggerating. Get over it.’ He went and played X-box. An hour later he came to tell me “I feel really weird. Dizzy. Breathless.” I told him, “X-Box has that effect on people. Its a scientific fact. Go away. I’m very busy.” Night time comes. Big Son staggers over to me and shows me a google page printout. “I think you should take me to the emergency room. According to Google, I’m having an allergic reaction to codeine.”
I am ashamed (now) to tell you that I rolled my eyes. And complained loudly. All the way to the afterhours A&E. And I muttered words like…’hypochondriac…bloody Google…giving sooky teenagers ideas…’ as I thought about all the writing that I WASNT doing because I was taking this kid to the doctor. My annoyance continued right up until we got to reception and I noticed that Big Son’s face now resembled that of a lopsided blowfish. And he was red in the face. And struggling to breathe. And doctors rushed him down the hall, hooked him up to machines, pushed the panic button, loaded him into an ambulance and drove away. Huh?
“What’s happening?” Your son is having an allergic reaction. We need to get him to the hospital immediately. Just like that, Big Son went from being ‘Annoying Big Sook Son who is Fiapoko enough to google imaginary illnesses’ – to Big Son who Might Die and All Because His Horrible Selfish Mother didn’t Look After Him Properly.
Some hours later, Big Son was alright. Disaster had been averted. And I had to deal with the next awful challenge. Telling his faraway-father-in-Samoa what had happened. Saying, “But he was playing X-Box all afternoon and he looked just fine dammit!” was a little bit helpful for my case. But not much. Especially not when Big Son tells his Dad on the phone ( in a very weak, sad voice) “It’s so lucky I turned to Google.” Because my mum ignored me. Google loves me more than my own mum. “It’s a good thing I kept asking mum to take me to the doctor and didn’t give up.” Because my mum is a cruel heartless creature. I could have passed out on my bedroom floor and she wouldn’t have noticed I was dead until rats started gnawing on my body.
I want the universe to witness that I have apologized profusely to my son. All this week, I have been creeping in to his room when he’s asleep to check that he’s still breathing. (I havent done that since he was a little boy that believed I was the smartest, bestest person on the planet.) I have also stopped complaining about how much I miss living in Samoa. Because I’m feeling overwhelmed with gratitude for excellent medical care in NZ. I am also very appreciative of the majesty and wonder of Google.
Can I just say though, that it’s been a week now and Big Son is STILL workin that guilt trip? “It would be nice if you bought me some ice cream/gave me an extra ten dollars/excused me from chores…you know I could have died last week? Remember how you didn’t listen to me? You didn’t care? Remember that?”
Parents everywhere, let this be a lesson for you – Never ever be too busy to pay attention to your sick kid. Because if he has to end up Googling his own symptoms? Then he will NEVER let you forget it.