Life’s essentials

When you stop to think about it, there’s not much in this life that is absolutely essential.

If you strip it right down to the basics, the list is short. Our health – a largely fully functioning body – is obviously important.

Shelter and the ability to get food and drink fulfill our physical needs.

Love and companionship for our mental and emotional wellbeing.

Maybe some money to get by in this modern world.

Really, there’s an awful lot we can do without.

As a parent, however, I am in no doubt that there are two absolute essentials in my life now: my daughters. I would rather loose a limb than try to be without either of them. They are vital to me, as much as my heart is for pumping the blood around my body or my lungs for breathing.

This you know as a mum as soon as you meet your baby, almost as soon as you are pregnant and can feel them moving around inside you.

As you look after them and watch them grow, you worry endlessly about their wellbeing, knowing how intrinsically linked it now is to your own. You cannot even begin to imagine a life without them.

Never have I felt this more keenly than over the past ten days. Hypothetical situations involving ToddlerGirl, imagined fleetingly and then squashed out of my mind, have sent chills down my spine in the past. But an icy terror gripped me when we were told our BabyGirl had this virus.

I can push this aside as we deal with the day to day practicalities of a hospital stay and treatment. But it returns every so often as I hold her to me.

The worry and fear are ratcheted up a notch each day, with every challenge we face in treating this thing, as we realise it’s not quite as simple as “21 days of IV antiviral medication”. Lines fail, options narrow as to where they can go, oral medication is dismissed as not good enough, there is a question mark over the impact of delayed doses while new sites for the IV are found.

I scrutinise her anxiously. If she is crying or fussy, I am sick with worry that it’s a sign all is not well.

I cannot contemplate a scenario in which she doesn’t get better but I’m helpless to do anything to control the situation.

She is absolutely essential to me and I have never been so bloody terrified in my whole life.

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