When Sophie was 15 months old she’d been on chemo for 7 months. Her bones were thin and weak and she slipped… on a crayon…. and down she went. Crash onto the floor, rolled to her side and grabbed her leg.
The diagnosis and recovery for that was one horrible fiasco after another with malpractice and weeks of recovery and my 15 month old going back to crawling for months. She’s okay now. It’s just something that sticks with you, that kind of pain and not being able to stop it.
I rocked her and thought “This isn’t Sophie. She’s not on chemo. She’s not got a broken leg. She’ll be okay.” It was a mantra I kept repeating as I stared at her as she got up and wobbled and limped and I cringed and pondered calling 911. Seriously, people. For a baby falling, I was thinking ER and ambulance ride. My handy-dandy nurse-husband was at Girl Scouts with the bad-ass Empress herself.
So this is what PTSD does to a mother’s brain. I have spent the last three hours talking myself down and checking her over and over and over. She’s going to have some weird toy shaped bruise tomorrow. But she’s walking fine and laughing normal and I’m still so messed up that I stood in the bedroom a minute ago and just sobbed while Dan held me as he kept saying “her leg’s okay. I finally said “You can say that until you’re blue in the face. My anxiety attack isn’t going away because she’s okay. It’s here because she might not have been and I wasn’t there and it could have happened again and there’s nothing rational about it.” And that’s the thing. I GET that she’s fine. I GOT IT when she fell and I Was holding her. The anxiety is not there because I was scared for her health… mostly… It’s there because my brain keeps replaying all the horrible things that HAVE happened in the past and wondering if I missed something or if it could be happening again and I am just too stupid/slow/negligent/bad of a mother to pick up on it. And so i have to go check her leg again. For the 2857 time in the last three hours. Wake her up to look at her perfect little bruised but okay skin.
I can’t imagine how bad it must be for a soldier or marine that’s gone to war, if this is what it does to me and I’ve never left my cushy existence except to fight cancer.
I’m so exhausted. That’s what these attacks do. I’m wiped and need to sleep for a week. PTSD sucks rocks.
Oh, and Vivi’s okay. Mommy’s a little touched in the head, but my baby girl is alright.
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net