Posted by Gina Perkins, Pre-School Mommie | Posted in Gina Perkins, The New Mommy | Posted on 21-03-2011
Tags: blood draw, blood test, bone pain, Gina Perkins, new mommie, new mommy, sick, worry
It’s been a long morning – the kind of morning lead by gross imagination, by negative stories, and by worst-case scenarios. I have only just exhaled.
A few weeks ago, DJ had her 18 month well-check. As you know from reading my blog, her shots were traumatic, and her growth was slow. While I am still taking steps to manage her growth, I have also finally made peace with the fact that she is just small. She is small – and totally healthy. So, I can cross that worry off my list. For now.
However, since getting her shots that wretched afternoon, DJ has been steadily complaining about her knee. She whines, holds her knee and repeats, “knee, knee, knee” in this gentle, yet tearful voice. For the first few days, my husband and I chalked it up to pain related to her shots, along with the enjoyment for the sympathy we readily showed. Every time she’d complain, we were quick to offer her knee kisses and sweet, warm touches to her leg.
Fast forward two weeks, and DJ is still complaining about her knee. Her complaints are now mixed in with her tantrums. So, last night, after throwing herself to the floor and sprinkling complaints about her knee in with her newfound growl – we decided it was time to take her in.
Her doctor asked a few questions, made a few harmless speculations about what was likely causing the pain (if in fact it was really there, and not a trained response to hoard more compassion from us). And then she said, “But, I think we should be thorough and do a few blood tests.” “A few blood tests? For what? What would we be looking for?” “Honestly, Gina, worst-case scenario, leukemia. Leukemia causes bone pain.”
The world stopped.
For several minutes.
“OK, can we do that today? How long will I have to wait for results?” Oh my gosh. Oh my gosh. Oh my gosh. Is this really happening?
“Yes, go to the lab now. I will have results in 1 hour and will call you.”
I have been to that hospital a million times and suddenly forgot where the lab was. I did a few laps around the main entrance before I remembered what I was doing there and where I was going. We entered the lab, and my heart sank. I had promised DJ a dozen times that morning that she wouldn’t be getting any shots today. I was sick. I had to break that promise, and I knew that having her blood drawn would be far more traumatic than getting an immunization. DAMNIT.
It took two nurses, a tourniquet, and a previously untapped strength to get through the blood draw. “Be strong. Don’t cry. Be strong. Don’t cry,” I kept telling myself. It was horrific to see my baby girl so scared. She was a trooper though, and stopped crying immediately after we left the sterile room. I, on the other hand, cried all the way home.
I waited. And waited. And waited. I stared at my phone for an hour and a half. Paralyzed and unable to do anything but wait.
My husband called. The doctor had called his number instead. “Everything looks great, Gina. She’s just waiting for one more test to come in, and she’ll call you once she has all the results. So far, though, nothing to worry about.”
In between his call, and the doctor’s call – I logged into my health account and pulled up DJ’s results. Some of the numbers were outside of the “normal” range. I did what my husband has warned me not to do seven thousand times before, and turned to Google. In reading other cases, and what this and that meant, I had convinced myself that DJ’s bone marrow was abnormal. I had diarrhea.
Then, my phone rang. The doctor. “Everything looks great.” She went on to explain everything she tested for, what the results meant, and even confirmed that my fears about the abnormal results. DJ’s numbers were in fact, more favorable than the normal range! I felt like she was talking forever, and I couldn’t comprehend any of it. I finally interrupted, “So, she’s OK? Not a chance of leukemia?” She reassured me – not a chance.
Oh, thank you God.
DJ is napping peacefully now. She is healthy. My baby girl is healthy. Our plan is to lay off the “knee sympathy” this week, and then return for a possible x-ray on Friday if the complaining doesn’t subside. I can deal with hairline fractures, pulled muscles, or strained ligaments. I can totally deal with that.
Today, I realized that there are some moms who get the call that their babies are actually sick. Today, my heart absolutely ached for those moms. I had ever-so-briefly put myself in their shoes and realized that they posses a strength and grace that I pray I will never know. Today I realized that we are all in this parenting thing together – and that while my baby isn’t sick, I now have a sense of empathy that I wouldn’t have ever had if our pediatrician hadn’t said the word “leukemia.” As of today, I will never be able to see, read about, or hear of a child with a life-threatening disease without thinking of the two miserable hours I waited to hear news about my own child.
I am stopping myself from being consumed by what-ifs, and I’m instead devoting that energy to praying for the sick children whom I know of. I hope you will all do the same. How wonderful to imagine a community that stops and prays, or sends positive energy, or well wishes, every single time we hear of a family suffering? Let’s be that community. Our babies are so, so precious. I will be holding mine close today.