Worry Lines

There’s something about being a mom. To be fair, I should say “parent.” If you talk to any parent – at least the ones who have been at it for awhile – they will tell you that parenthood entails the full gamut of emotions. Joy. Sadness. Pride. Disappointment. Pain. Fear. Satisfaction. Worry.



Sometimes the emotions are predictable. Sometimes they hit you out of the blue. But they’re always there. When kids move out of the house, you think that you will no longer worry about them. Out of sight, out of mind and all that nonsense. While I will agree that it’s true that the worry lessens, it is still there.

It’s been almost seven years since Jenna went into the group home. It took a long time after she was no longer living with us before I quit worrying about her. I had to see for myself that she really was going to be OK. That someone else could take care of her. That she could be happy in a place that wasn’t normal for her. She never was a kid to deal well with change.

I’m writing today’s post as I sit next to her bed in the hospital where she’s been for the last four days. And where she’ll remain for at least the next two.

Mark and I went up to visit her at the home on Saturday morning and she looked awful! The whole side of her face was swollen and red and her little body was in a fit of spasms. She’s always had a spastic body. With no muscle control, she’s at the mercy of whichever way her muscles want to twitch. But it was much worse than I’d ever seen. Or at least, worse than I remember it ever being. The worker at the home was clearly worried about her and had put a call in for the nurse to come check her out. Upon her description, the nurse assured her that Jenna was normally spastic and that they should give her some Tylenol to bring down the fever. Low grade, but for Jenna, any fever is a concern because it triggers seizures.

The worker bee would have nothing to do with the nurse’s advice and took video of her to send to the nurse. THIS IS NOT NORMAL JENNA SPASTICITY! She pretty much demanded that the nurse come to the house. The nurse arrived while Mark and I were there. Singing a different tune, now! She recommended urgent care, which we instantly agreed to. Urgent care sent her straight to the hospital and she was admitted right away.

Here we sit, four days later, wondering what the hell is going on with our daughter. Waiting for answers that don’t seem to be quick in coming. Test after test after test. All coming back clear. Last night she looked good. Ate good. Sounded good. Mark and I left the hospital feeling confident that she would be released today. But then her fever began spiking again over night and they began a whole new battery of tests today. Tomorrow they’ll do a CAT scan. And then? Well, we don’t know. If the CAT scan is clear then we don’t know what direction they’ll take. If the CAT scan comes back not clear, well…that’s not good, because what they think they’re going to find is that the infection they thought was in her soft tissue is actually in her bones. And that’s bad. So we wait. And worry. And all the fears that we lived with that last summer that she was in our home are right here. Bubbling just under the surface. Daring me to fall apart.

They say that having children gives you grey hairs. That’s not true. They give you worry lines.


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