I’m writing this in the midst of an anxiety attack.
Our 4.5 year old son got a bunch of mosquito bites 2 days ago while out having fun at the park with my husband. Yesterday I noticed that the 2 on his leg and 1 on his ankle were really swollen and red. He was limping all day because the one on his ankle was tight from the swelling, but he was in his normal high-energy rambunctiousness. I put some natural itch salve stuff on it, he picked out some band-aids, and let me put an ice pack on them for a little while. The rest of the day I focused on talking myself down from the anxiety ledge.
Fast forward to today – today was a DAY.
When I checked his leg this morning, the mosquito bites looked better! Less red, less swollen. The one on his ankle was still puffy, but he wasn’t limping anymore, so I thought – Great! We’re out of the proverbial mosquito-infested woods of Dengue, West Nile, & Yellow fever! My anxiety can take a rest for now.
But Gunnar was in a mood – not angry or grumpy, but defiant as all get out. Louder than normal, which in turn kept waking up baby sister from every nap I begged her to take. He refused to participate in my new whiteboard homeschool list of activities (how dare he – I was really proud of thinking that up). Not today. Today was a day for head-butting and thinly veiled threats of taking away his new toy if he didn’t stop literally and figuratively pushing me. Finally, when my husband got home, he walked in on me trying to nurse baby girl while bawling my eyes out. He had Gunnar put pants on (that’s a whole other story), and they went to get dinner, and gave me some much-needed semi-calm time to myself.
When they got home, Gunnar proceeded to drop his shoes at the back door, de-pants for comfort, and plopped down on the couch. Pretty normal scene. Then while Zak and I dug into our Chipotle, Gunnar started nodding off. Like, hilarious to watch, head bobbing back and forth, falling asleep while eating his sandwich, nodding off. And as his head snuggled into Zak’s shoulder, my anxiety reared its ugly one. I felt the anxiety spike as I recalled the bad mosquito bite symptoms I had read about the day before – fever, headache, FATIGUE. *Anxiety spikes higher* Napping in the middle of the day is not normal for Gunnar. The kid puts the Energizer Bunny to shame. We hadn’t even been outside or really done anything today besides get on each other’s last nerve, so why would he be tired???? Because. He obviously has a deadly combo form of DengueWestNileYellow Fever that waits til the 2nd day of lessening symptoms to formulate its sneak attack and hit you!
As 50 of the least-likely scenarios spun through my head, I knew I couldn’t talk myself down from this one – it had gone too far. I gave in, took my emergency anxiety med, and called our nurse line. After talking with the nurse and saying no to every bad symptom/bite reaction she asked about, I felt slightly better. Though the med helped with that, too. His temp was normal, there was still no redness on his bites, and they weren’t warm. She said to just let him sleep, make sure we can wake him easily, and watch for a fever over the next day or two (…..great…..).
So as I’m writing this, Gunnar is still snoring away on the couch. He already woke up twice when baby Ruby decided to freak out for no 3 month old reason, so that counts as waking up easily, right? So I think we can cross that off the list. The threat of DengueWestNileYellow Fever though, still hovers…..
It’s like what I talked to my therapist about yesterday – anxiety loves to grasp at the one negative thought, even when there could be a thousand positive thoughts available, and much more likely. It loves to freak out at every sniffle, cough, and impromptu nap. I’ve been constantly working at not letting it consume my daily life for the past 2 years, and I’ve gotten decently good at it. But when it comes to my kids’ health, it’s still a struggle.
See ya next time,
Gunnar woke up talking about some of his favorite numbers (a hundred and a million), and started stretching/kicking Zak in the ribs, so, you know – acting normal. And then he demanded Zak take him on a bike and trailer ride, so…there’s that. Tonight I can go to bed and rest easy, knowing that my son doesn’t have a rare mosquito disease, and that my anxiety is still working in the background, keeping me on my toes. Oh, and don’t worry – I’ve already bought some natural mosquito repellent stickers and that Bug Bite thing.