Friday, February 1, 2008

A Virus and a Wedding

I am supposed to be on my way to Winthrop, WA, with Gregg, David and my in-laws today. Andrea and Mike's (original) wedding, in which Katie was to be a bridesmaid, was planned for tomorrow at Sun Mountain Lodge. It is going to happen, in spite of the record-breaking amounts of snow falling in the Cascades, and the fact that Snoqualmie Pass remains closed due to avalanche danger. Gregg is on his way over Stevens Pass with his parents. David and I are at home, because David awoke yesterday with a fever of 101.1 degrees and a deep, painful chest-cough.

Having a child come down with a cold/virus in the winter is not uncommon. Having a child die is uncommon, and having her brother become sick for the first time since she died is nerve-wracking. In my mind, I knew that this was very likely simply a winter cold. In my gut and my heart, I felt afraid and threatened. My body tensed up and began to feel braced against nameless fears. Of course, the last time one of my children had what I thought was a virus, she was diagnosed with cancer...and she died.

Since this is finals week of the first semester for David, the first order of business was to calm him down about missing school, and remind him that he is not allowed to attend classes with a fever, because that means he is contagious. The second order of business was to contact his carpool and his school, and let them know that he wouldn't be coming. The third step was to make a clinic appointment, which I did, as well.

We haven't been to the pediatric clinic on Bainbridge since July, when I took Katie there because of her back and leg pain. They referred her for an x-ray and what turned out to be her final CT scan --the one that revealed the new tumor. That was the day we learned that she was going to die. She was having random, severe attacks of pain, that seemed unrelated to anything that she was doing. She had a very high pain-tolerance, and these episodes were extremely confusing to me. Her moods were unpredictable, to say the least. We were struggling to understand the symptoms and to respond to them lovingly, appropriately and effectively for the whole family. I think a good way to put it is that we were feeling "in over our heads." The image of the Dutch boy, with all of his fingers and toes plugging the ever-growing holes in the dike comes to mind. So going back to that clinic, as nice as the place is, and as kind as the people are, was dreadful (full of dread) for me. I don't think David liked it, either.

It turns out that this is just a virus. David will be contagious until the fever is gone, and he still has a temperature of 100. We can't expose the family to that, especially the senior citizens, so we are at home, watching the DOT camera images of Stevens Pass and waiting to hear that Gregg and his parents have traveled safely through.

I have had to face my fear of anything bad happening to my son and to my husband in the past day. Let me just say how tired that makes me feel.

The wedding that I've written about before took place in August; it was for the family only (and for those of you who have asked me: Yes, it was a real wedding). Katie and David were both attendants, and that was one of Katie's greatest joys in her life. Tomorrow's event will be a lovely, winter ceremony and reception, in a place that Andrea and Mike both love; it will include family and friends, and will be more formal. It occurred to me this morning that the ceremonies are exactly six months apart: August 2, 2007 and February 2, 2008.

So this weekend, I find myself wishing Andrea and Mike great joy for their whole lives, blessings upon their/our family and friends, safe travel (for all) and ever-growing married happiness. Thank you again, Andrea and Mike, for giving Katie the gift of being a bridesmaid! I will be thinking of you and sending MUCH love tomorrow.

1 comment:

Diane Walker said...

Scary. I hope David's fever has dropped and Gregg has called to announce his safe arrival. I suspect it is a gift that you get to stay home from this one, but it must be difficult for Gregg. My prayers are with you all...