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I don't cope well when my children are sick.
When they're feverish, it consumes me. When they wake up in the middle of the night burning up and shivering with the chills, I am in anguish. When their throats hurt, or their heads hurt, or their tummies hurt, I am broken in sympathy. I would do anything for them. Heaven help me if they ever have any of the serious problems so many brave parents cope with every day.
I think about those parents often, and my lack of knowledge about all things medical, plus my fear that the slightest thing is the tip of an awful iceberg, leaves me feeling powerless and vulnerable.
I think that is one reason why I am so fascinated by the fact that my grandmother, Fleeta, who died before I was born, was a registered nurse.
This last weekend, my middle child didn't feel well. He was hot to the touch, his cheeks were bright red and he said his throat hurt. So I took his temperature and my heart sank when I saw the results: 103.3 degrees. I worried over him until he started chasing his sister around the house again a couple of days later.
And a few days before that, I took my baby, who just turned 1, to see an occupational therapist to teach him how to eat food. He can't eat any finger foods without gagging and throwing up. Again, my husband and I furrowed our brows and worried over what could be wrong with our little boy.
Not knowing how to make it all better makes me crazy. So, I often find comfort in calling my friends who are schooled in medicine. I call my sister, my friend, my mom (she's not technically educated in medicine, but talking to her helps anyway) and anyone else who knows anything about the human body and I ask for guidance. They tell me what to do.
I figure that if I were a nurse, like Fleeta, I wouldn't have to ask anyone if this fever is dangerous or if that bump is a problem. I would already know. Triage would be my middle name.
The other thing that fascinated me about my grandmother was the fact that she worked full time in an age when not many women did, yet she somehow managed to be the kind of homemaker who cooked everything from scratch, cleaned, sewed and changed tires. She made a great team with her husband, and her two sons, my dad and uncle, absolutely adore her.
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