Friday, October 14, 2011

The Fear

We have felt The Fear.  Tuesday we sat in a hospital and held a frightened little hand and tried to ward off The Fear. Not only in ourselves, but in Fiona. 
The Fear is not only the fear of what is happening but of the unknown. It's not knowing but having to survive it anyway. It's the time as a parent when you are helpless to stop whatever is happening to your baby - regardless of the age.  It's when your driving teen leaves the house and then gets in an accident. It's when your tween falls on the soccer field and doesn't jump right back up. It's when your toddler is stuck in a hospital bed screaming about spiders and you just don't know why.
Finally Sleeping
Fiona woke up in the wee hours Tuesday morning screaming about spiders. It was the scream that has you half way down the hallway before your body even realizes you're awake. She's screaming about spider and trying to claw out of her jammies.  Doug was close behind and we did everything we could to calm her down from what we thought was a really bad nightmare.  
We shook out her bed, fixed her sheets,  brushed her off. We turned on the lights and showed her there were no spiders.  All to no avail. She was NOT going to get back in her bed, and keeping her calm was proving to be a challenge.  We decided that we would try to get her in our bed to try to catch that last half hour of sleep before the day started.  No good.  It was the same thing. Terrified screams coming from my normally happy girl.  Maybe it's the blankets touching her. Maybe she's just so tired that she's getting the tinglies right as she falls asleep. Maybe she was bit by something and so I checked her.  Top to bottom I checked her.  Nothing.
There is a special kind of helplessness reserved for parents.  When your child is sick or injured or scared and there is nothing you can do but watch it happen and it sucks.  That's why it is The Fear, because it is every parent's worst fear.  You have to lay down your superhero cape and admit that you just can't fix it.  

Little toddler butt peaking out!
Three hours into it I knew there was something wrong and she needed more than what we could give her at home. I called and made an appointment with the doctor and off we went.  Of course we get there and she is all sweetness and light. The doctor told me it was night terrors (which I was sure it was not) and sent us home with instructions to come back if it happened again. Which it did. As soon as we got all the way out of the building and on to the freeway. Of course. So back we went. This time, mid freak-out, the doctor took me seriously and not like a freaking-out-over-nothing mom.  They decided to admit her for overnight observation.
I'll save you the details of my 24 hours of hell.  No, they never did figure out what caused it. All of her tests came back clean (Amen!). She is, as one doctor told me (one of the few I could talk to without wanting to spork in the eye) that she was a 100% healthy 2 year old... that happened to be seeing spiders that weren't there.  There was nothing they could find. CT scans, blood work, neuro exams - all healthy.  They don't know why or what caused it or how to fix it. Hopefully it just stops.
I will say that I am OK with that diagnosis. The big things that cause The Fear are not there.  There is no sickness to beat, there are no further tests or hospitals in our future because of this.  I will not have to hold down my terrified little girl while she is poked and prodded by hospital staff, trying to calm her while I bawl and pray. 
Thank you to the friends and family that prayed for and with us.  Thank you to the doctors, nurses and various other hospital staff that did all you could to make facing The Fear a little easier.  Thank you to my husband, who did the hardest thing a parent will ever have to do - leave the hospital while your baby is in it - so that I didn't have to.

Update: The spiders are gone now and have been for a couple weeks.  Every now and again she will startle and say something about spiders but nothing like the wild-eyed panic that we saw that day. 


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