How do you help your child feel safe when you are scared? I had a lot of time to think about that today as we experienced our second anaphylactic reaction to allergy shots in less than two months. If you read my post Would you know anaphylactic shock if you saw it? you would know the story of our first experience, and how scary that was. Today, what I thought was a mere impossibility, happened again.
Of course I am a strict follower of the rules. We wait 20 minutes, we check the arms. It’s been pretty good for a while. Today I packed up our stuff, got ready to go, said let me see your arms, and my heart stopped. Staring at me was that same angry set of hives I saw two months ago. I took a deep breath, and Isaiah said “what? is there a hive? mom don’t tell them!” he began to panic, “Please mom! Don’t tell them.” I had to tell them. My very calm, humorous, child came dangerously close to having a tantrum. I had to carry/drag him back to the shot area to have them check him out. Now given, the shot nurse is not the most patient. But he loves the Doctor and the other nurses. However, he remembers that epi-pen. Why this kid can get two allergy shots at a time every two weeks, but dreads the epi-pen? Well…. I think it’s my fault. How do you not panic? The last time this happened, I tried my best to put on that happy face. But the epi-pen is used to prevent a FATAL allergic reaction. FATAL. Fatal. What happened to my child would have killed him before epi-pens. I didn’t cry, I didn’t scream, but I asked a lot of questions, and he heard me, I think I thought he was so ill he wasn’t listening. But I was wrong, he was not just listening, he was focusing on me. I was supposed to be his rock! Later, I thought he was fine with it. We discussed how important it was to tell me when he wasn’t feeling right, I thought we were good.
What was I thinking? He’s seven. I’m his mom. Panic by the person who is your world, your protector, is never a good thing. I don’t think he’s ever seen me panic. He’s seen me happy, sad, angry, but panic? The first time he saw panic (when he was cognizant) was when he had that last reaction. Now he has a point of reference. Now he has a set of precursors that lead up to an event. Mom checks arm, takes a deep breath, goes to the nurse, bad things happen.
Today I learned a lesson. Isaiah is safe. I need to find a new way to deal with this situation or he will become afraid of even walking in the door of the Doctor’s office. Or worse, he will not feel safe. I told him on our way home, as I asked him if he was OK one more time and he said “Yes Mom”, that he didn’t have to worry, that God was always watching out for us. I know for sure God has big plans for him. He said, well you were worried. I told him, I didn’t have to be. I made a mistake, Dr D keeps you safe, God keeps you safe. I know you will be just fine, and you are fine, see?
I have made a resolution. I will make this whole thing fun somehow. I will joke about it, be light-hearted about it. I will say “Can you believe it? Your silly body is mad at that shot again!” “How silly is that?” I will do everything I can to make my child feel safe. I will do everything I can to keep him from worrying about grown-up things until he is a grown-up. I will trust myself, and I will trust God.