X-Ray Vision

My son sprained his ankle yesterday at school.  He didn’t tell anyone and the teacher didn’t see, so no one called me.  When he got home, he told me all about his day but he didn’t mention his injury.  In the evening, when he was winding down, he finally mentioned his foot pain.  After some interrogation I got the story and proceeded to perform Mommy Triage.  Everything seemed ok, just a bit swollen, so I gave him Motrin and an ice pack.

Everything was fine.

Until.

An hour or so later, my son walked over to me and began to cry, almost inconsolably.  He was cold, he said.  So cold it hurt and he couldn’t get warm. I took his temperature, expecting a fever, but what I saw was the opposite.  His temperature was dropping.  His skin was cold and clammy to the touch.  I carried him, still crying, back to his bed.

As a mom I feel like I’m constantly walking a line between not reacting ENOUGH and TOTALLY FREAKING OUT.  There is not much in between for me, unfortunately for my calm, collected, level-headed husband.  Husband, of course, thought our son was overreacting, but I had a feeling he was telling the truth.  His tears, hot and streaming down his face, were real.  The fear on his face was real.

Externally, I tried to comfort him by saying things like “It’s going to be OK”.  Internally, I was making a list of who to call, what to ask, and what to pack for the hospital.  I called my mom, who is a nurse, and with her guiding me, checked his pulse, his temperature, examined his body for bruising, and put a heating pad in his bed to help him get warm.  After watching a couple of episodes of Transformers on Netflix, he fell asleep. I took out the heating pad and left the room, still feeling some anxiety in my gut.

I checked on Emmett every two hours until the morning, taking his temperature, feeling his skin, and watching him breathe.  I felt very strongly that he should get x-rays, since he just sprained this same ankle a month or so ago.

Early this morning we arrived at the Pediatric ER. The staff was courteous, if a bit incredulous that I wanted x-rays on what was obviously a sprain.

Fast forward to lunch time, and my sweet boy is in a splint.  He has a distal fracture of the fibula that, due to the location of the break, did not present as such.  The break is on the growth plate, which means we will see an orthopedic doctor next week to discuss next steps.  His “just a sprain” turned out to be a broken leg.

[On the bright side, his cast is red and festive.]

This was a sneaky break.  A painless fracture.  There is internal damage on a pretty important part of the body.  Fluid has pooled in his ankle and heel. The fracture wasn’t visible, so no one I talked to believed it was there. Only after looking inside did they realize how seriously he was hurt.

Considering this, I am reminded me to be more conscious of others.  What I can see with my eyes doesn’t often betray what’s going on underneath.  A person may look like they have it all together when they are crumbling on the inside. They may not look to me like someone I could befriend, when we actually have a lot in common.  NOTHING is  ever what it seems on the surface. While I don’t have X-Ray vision, I do have opportunity to dig deeper. I have an obligation to look deeper.  To investigate.  To find out what’s going on in the heart, the mind, and the spirit.

Finding out about an injury is the first step to healing.  Knowing a person, really understanding them takes time, but it is the first step to helping them heal and grow.  Stepping out of comfort zones, crossing invisible lines we’ve drawn for ourselves, choosing to let go of old beliefs in order to embrace new friends.  These can only lead to good things – things like love, peace, and community.

I am grateful for this awareness, particularly at this time of year.

This holiday season, and always, may you see others –  and may you be seen – for the magical, powerful, gorgeous creature that you (we, they) truly are.

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Sick With Guilt

I guess it goes without saying that this blog is not my “day job”.  I wish it were, and if “likes” were money I’d be getting somewhere, but for now I work full-time somewhere else.  I just started a number of months ago, after staying home with my son for 3 years.  The decision to leave him (that’s how it felt to me) and give up cooking, cleaning, running errands, and napping during the day was a difficult one.  I struggled with it.  I cried.  Oh, there were many tears. 

But this is what grown-ups do, I told myself.  And if I hadn’t told myself, there were plenty of people making similar comments under their breath.  For me, being part of the corporate life was never a dream I had.  I’m not ambitious in that way.  I am a dreamer – a true Pisces – and I always wanted to stay home and paint, or write, or … I don’t know, run a sea turtle ranch.  So the day my husband and I decided that this was what had to happen, I felt like I died a little.

Months later, my perspective has changed only slightly.  I work with nice people.  It’s not a difficult job.  We are paying rent.  See?  Lots of positives.  (Detect a hint of sarcasm there?)  Still, I spend my extra time working on meditation, prayer, hypnosis, anything that will help improve my attitude and our financial state and allow me to come back home.  My heart cries out that this is where I am supposed to be.  It’s certainly where I’m most happy.

In my experience, freely admitting that I am different causes others to lash out.  I’ve been accused of being lazy.  Even selfish.  Family members, coworkers, friends, have made me feel at one point or another that if I’m not willing to die for my job, I’m not committed enough.  And honestly, that’s fine.  I have learned not to take others’ opinions so personally.  As a mom and wife working in the home, I busted my butt, day in and day out.  I participated with charities and clubs and was able to cook meals for my family and spend time with my kids.  Some people think that’s worth giving up.  Some people think it’s normal to sacrifice it.  I don’t.  I just… don’t.

This morning I called out of work.  (Well, texted.)  And even though I’m typing on the computer right now, I give my word that I am actually feeling awful.  I am normally a punctual, responsible person, and I start to feel sick to my stomach when I have to call out of work.  This morning upon rising I was greeted with a massive migraine (with pretty colors!)  So I had to text my boss and let her know.  I felt like I could “hear” the disappointment in her reply.  I feel so judged when I call out from jobs.  I try never to do it.  This morning, I must have forced myself to the car a dozen times, finally bursting into tears.  (My poor husband, perplexed, watched me silently from the window.  I’m sure he thinks he married a crazy person. He may be right.)

The thing that gets me, is that I was fighting my body and my own will, trying to make myself go to work, in order not to let someone else down.  I knew how bad I felt, I knew that I could not drive, but I dreaded so much the judgment of my peers that I was trying to go anyway.  I felt guilty.  WHY should I feel guilty?   It isn’t right that I feel so obligated to go to this building, spend my best hours there, so they can (barely) pay me, so I can get up and do it in the morning?  Why do I care so much if they believe me?  Why do I feel like a criminal?

It’s madness.  Do you guys do this or have you been in a similar situation?  Is it just me?  Or have you already found your perfect place, your passion, your path?  I’m reading lots lately on being present in the moment and changing your reality by changing  your mind.  That’s what I’ll work on today, along with sleep, because it’s the only thing that makes me feel better.