As a Mom to 3 sons, I’ve done my share of taking care of sick kids. From a little case of the sniffles to a full-blown case of chicken pox, my kids have brought out the Florence Nightingale in me. When the sick kid makes an appearance, I’m ready to dispense medication, put a cold washcloth on a feverish brow, and make sure he drinks plenty of fluids.
Call me confident. Call me cocky. I thought I had a handle on taking care of sick kids. M.D.? Who needs one when you have a mother’s instinct? When you can drop everything, take off from work, do what it takes to nurse your child back to health.
But what happens when your baby goes to college? What happens when you’re 1,000 miles away instead of in the other room? I have to admit, I didn’t see this one coming. Last week my oldest son Sam called me from school. “Mom,” he croaked. “I don’t feel good. I think I have the flu.”
“Have you been to the Health Center?” I asked him, trying very hard to keep the panic from my voice. Meanwhile, my husband shot me a look. What was going on?
“No, should I do that?” My son. He had gone off to college knowing how to balance a checkbook, do laundry, write a term paper, speak passable Spanish, and solve a calculus problem. But he didn’t know enough to take himself to the health center when he was sick.
“Yes, take some ibuprofen and then go to the Health Center.”
“I B what?”
“Take some Tylenol.”
“I don’t have any.”
“Okay, just go to the health center and tell them your symptoms. They’ll give you what you need.”
Two anxious hours later—after I told my husband what was going on and after he persuaded me NOT to hop in the car and drive 8 hours to our son’s campus—Sam called back and told us what was going on.
Correction. He called, dropped the phone and ran to the toilet. We could just make out the sounds of him throwing up in the background. He came back to the phone, where I was quietly hyperventilating. “Okay, I feel better. The Health Center nurse told me to go back to my dorm and “self-isolate” and drink lots of fluids and rest. She said not to leave the dorm till I was fever free for 24 hours.”
Sam promised to call when he woke up and let us know how he was doing. After I hung up, I ran out and put together a care package.
I’m happy to report that 3 days later, Sam’s feeling MUCH better, and so am I. It was really hard to be so far away when he was sick, but I was glad to be able to talk to him on the phone and coach him through the flu. He loved the care package and said it really helped. The Teddy bear now rests on his bed, a reminder that Mom (and Dad) are always there for him, even if we are a few thousand miles away.
Strangely enough, a customer called just yesterday. Her daughter in college also came down with the flu. Did I have a gift basket especially for someone sick?
As a matter of fact…yes!
May you and yours be healthy and happy,