I hate being sick. Hate the closed-in, claustrophobic feeling of a stuffed up head. And the dagger-sharp pain of trying to swallow with a sore throat. Not to mention the bone-breaking hack that threatens to shake my body apart.
But you know what’s worse? Watching Tori suffer from the same symptoms, knowing there’s almost nothing I can do to help.
She can’t have any decongestants or cough medicine. She doesn’t understand that she needs to blow her nose. She doesn’t know how to clear her throat to rid herself of phlegm.
Instead, the snot bubbles out of her nose and down her face. She coughs until she cries, rubbing her clogged ears the whole time. She wants to be held, to be snuggled close and comforted, but at the same time, she wants to get down on the floor and play – and doesn’t understand why her body won’t do what she tells it to.
She doesn’t understand why she feels this way. Doesn’t understand why I can’t do anything about it. She just looks at me with her big blue eyes, wordlessly saying, “help me, mama.”
So I force saline drops up her nose. Suck out the boogers with the bulb syringe. Ply her with Tylenol and sit with her in the steamy bathroom, hoping the moist air will make it easier to breathe. At night, I hold her sleepy body close as she struggles to make her way to dreamland, rubbing her back as she coughs.
But really, there’s not much I can do except watch and wait, hoping the sickness quickly runs it course.
It’s a terrible feeling, this helplessness.