Scattering The Unfairs

February 23, 2011 by Rieshy

Last week my 3 year old was sick for 4 days with a 102.5 fever followed a few days later by an earache.  He felt wretched.  He was wretched.  I pity his future wife.... he doesn't handle illness well. 

In general I have a healthy family.  My oldest 5 children are polyester children.  Wash and wear, throw some ibuprofen their way when they feel puny and poof, they're good to go.

My 3 year old is generally healthy too.  He has bouts of morning hypoglycemia but has never required hospitalization.  This recent illness was just one of those "baby viruses" that kids get when they are little so they don't have to get them when they are older.

My 4 year old is a different story.  His FOD affects him everyday, to varying degrees. In other words, he's "chronically ill."  How I hate that phrase.

It was interesting seeing the 4 year old react to his little brother's illness.  This is the first time he's ever really noticed anyone else in the family being sick.  He was full of words for me:
  • "Mom, remember that if he throws up take him to the hospital for a shot."
  • "You need to poke him for his blood."
  • "Does he need more medicine?" 
  • "What's his temperature?" 
  • "Is he going to the hospital yet?" 
  • "Does he need more Gatoraid?"
  • "What's that needle they put in my arm called again?" 
  • "What's his blood sugar?"  
On and on, for days.
It quickly became clear to my 4 year old that the treatment for his brother is different than for himself.  Much more hands off, his brother requires much less "poking."  I think the specter of that terrible word- unfair- raised it's head for the first time. 

 I don't want my 4 year old to be a collector of unfairs.  I try to be matter-of-fact about his differences without being dismissive.  It's a balancing act, but not one unique to chronic illnesses.

In the end, you just have to choose to stand up and shake the unfairs out of your lap.  I'm trying to teach him how to do just that, while the unfairs are still just crumbs and easier to brush away.

. As an aside: I found this great article on Coping With Chronic Illness


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