My son just recently got over an illness and it's been a wretched past week for our family. I can only say 'illness' instead of being more specific because no one ever came up with a definitive diagnosis. He was seen by two doctors and just like me, all we can label are the symptoms for which he received medication.
It started with a headache, followed by high fever. Then he sounded a bit more congested but no remarkable drainage nor coughing. He also had a slight sore throat and slight ear inflammation, but not enough to be a full-blown ear infection. He tested negative for both strep and mono. He has had his flu shot and the doctors seemed convinced it wasn't the flu.
He started with Amoxicillin but after two days of not making any difference, he was switched over to Azithromycin (3-day dose). That finally made a difference. Fever went away and he started feeling better slowly.
When he was seen by the first doctor at a walk-in/urgent care facility, he was shown a picture card with emojis to identify how he was feeling. Was he feeling a slight discomfort, or was it agonizing pain? While this was going on, the only thought bubble I had at the time was that pediatricians should have a similar scale for parents. Why not also show me a card that will express to you just how much my child's illness has driven me to the edge of insanity?! Perhaps it might give you a more holistic picture of the severity of the situation.
Here's my suggestion for an effective diagnostic tool:
Perhaps I should just print this out myself and carry it around in my purse. Better yet, how about I make a shirt out of this and just casually point to an emoji whenever random strangers start wondering why I'm behaving so oddly?
Said shirt would have come in handy in church when I sorta kinda made a minor, negligible scene. (I know that sounds like an oxymoron but let me just invoke momsanity at the moment and blame it all on the fact that I'm perpetually on emoji #3).
We got to church quite early and found ourselves waiting for about 10 minutes before Mass started. While waiting, I saw Noah messing with his shoe. He saw a streak on his midsole and was trying to rub it with his bare hands!
With horror, I instinctively uttered, "Duuuuudddde!", without realizing how much it echoed in the church. When I lifted my eyes after glaring at my son for a moment, I saw at least three people from the other aisle staring at me.
If only I was wearing a momsanity scale shirt! I can't even begin to tell you how close I was to actually explaining to those people, "Seriously, he just got over a week-long illness and I'm just doing my best to not let the germs gain such easy access. And while we're at it, would you mind not shaking our hands if you have the slightest inkling that you might be coming down with something..thank you very much...God bless you..."
There are a lot of things that drive me insane as a parent. There are days when I sometimes feel like I can't exhale and the shadow of a nervous breakdown follows me around, just waiting for me to stop and give in. For me, the strongest insanity-inducing challenge is when my son has an illness, especially one that I can't easily explain or one that lingers. I'm sure a lot of parents will agree with me on that. That said, I now wonder if there should be a 6th emoji that needs to be included, one that shows a mother's face willing to make any deal with God, willing to give anything at all, just to make her child safe and well. For me, reaching that point signals that I'm completely overwhelmed and that my insanity and stress are off the charts. It's definitely the point when Mom, not child, is the one needing medication.