Remember as a child when there was something you feared that wasn't necessarily tangible. Something that you hadn't really seen yet...but knew was lurking. Something that hadn't hurt you...but you were afraid it could. Something that you weren't certain other's really believed was even there...or at least they weren't aware of it like you were.
Something like a monster under the bed.
That's what Spina Bifida is to us.
It's hidden. It's illusive. It's unpredictable.
It's easily forgotten when it's sunny and you're playing outside.
It's terrifying when it's dark and you can't see what's lying in front of you.
Like the shadows on the floor or the mysterious noise from the closet, it lurkes.
It's not obviously scary like the growling, chained up dog in your neighbors yard. And it's destruction is not easy to spot like a fire or tornado. But it's scary. And it's destruction is formidable. And though it may not always seem tangible. It's real. And the fact that others can't see it, and that sunny days make the shadows disappear, make it easy to live unafraid...most days. And that's what makes it even scarier.
Monday was not nearly one of our scariest days...but it wasn't without shadows. It started at 9:30am with a visit to the pediatrician. Jet has been "off" the last few weeks...appetite low...fussy...not sleeping as well as he usually does....did I say FUSSY?! (lol) But nothing really horrible. No fever. No inconsolable crying. No vomiting or other symptoms you look for in a sick child. Just not himself. Now my fellow Mommies of BWS (Babies With Shunts) understand that "not themselves" is an early symptom of a possible shunt malfunction. Loss of appetite, fussiness, vomiting, fever, etc. are also all signs to watch for. Well...Jet didn't have all of these, but he had some. And while my gut told me he was okay - I was worried enough to check it out.
So we went to the pediatrician who proceeded to check for ear infections, UTI, a cold, ANYTHING that could explain the change in behavior the last few weeks. After some poking and pricking and searching and cathing and CRYING! (ahh!) they found nothing.
No illness. No infection. No news is good news?
Not so much. Not yet anyway. I knew where this was going.
In that moment I caught a glimpse of what could have been a green, hairy arm reaching out from under the bed to grab me and the doctor said "with Jet's history, I think we should call his neuro"
- which translates - it could be his shunt.
Well I could see on his face that he thought it WAS his shunt - I really didn't think Jet was acting bad enough for this to be the case - but the worry seed was planted and we had to make sure. We were off the hospital.
To the ER.
No one wants to go to the ER. It's loud. It's a long wait. It's germy. It's just not where you want to go after already spending hours at a doctor's office. But there we were. Jet sleepy and ready to be home. Getting hungry again but not allowed to eat until the doctor gives the okay. More poking and examining (by this time Jet is crying when anyone walks into the room) one CT scan (a HUGE answer to prayer that he stayed still), a series of x-rays and endless rounds of "happy birthday" later (Jet's new favorite song...we've been practicing...:)) we were done.
At least we hoped we were done. The results would take a little time.
So we waited.
And rocked in the squeakiest rocking chair known to man.
And played on the 2 foot radius of the hospital bed.
And went through the contents Nina's purse.
And called Daddy (bad idea...Daddy on the phone is just not the same apparently).
And we waited...till the doctor came.
And then we listened to the doctor
(Jet hiding in my neck and me mentally kicking the monster back under the bed).
And thank you God - all was well.
Nothing to fear.
We had turned on the light and searched under the bed only to find some old tennis shoes and a few dust bunnies.
No monster this time.
But like all monsters under the bed...we know that doesn't mean it's gone for good. It just means it saw the flashlight or heard the grown-ups coming and moved to the closet or something.
(Monsters are tricky like that.)
But for now, we feel better. We feel safer. We feel thankful.
And with the assurance that the monster is at least gone for now...we can finally rest. We can close our eyes and give in to the sleep that inevitably follows days spent at the doctor
...and of course, chasing away monsters.