Friday, July 17, 2009

Swine Flu

Yesterday evening, we were invited to dinner at his friend's house. The friend's wife works in public health. She was showing me some posters she's been working on about swine flu.

Suddenly my eyes go to my son - who is at the other end of their living room with K and the guys. The first thing that comes to my mind is how he had a bit of a fever and a stuffy nose last week - which our paediatrician had said was just a common cold. We'd had a couple of difficult nights with him but now all the symptoms seemed to have disappeared.

I started thinking, what if it was more than a common cold? What if the symptoms come back worse? What if we were overlooking something serious?

K must have felt me watching them because he looked up at me and immediately I held out my arms for the baby. He came over and handed him to me. I couldn't help feeling his face and neck and hands for fever. He seemed fine but still I found myself holding him so tight he started to cry. Immediately I felt bad. He'd been playing and giggling and now I had upset him. And I couldn't get him to settle down again. I guess it's true that babies can feel your fear.

K came to take him, asking what was wrong with me. I whispered can we leave? He couldn't hear me over the baby crying and I had to repeat that a little louder. He said no, we were invited to dinner, we couldn't leave before dinner, it would be rude.

And he went back - with the baby - to sit with the men. Suddenly I was irritated with this custom some people had of seating men and women seperately in their home. I was frightened and I wanted both of them next to me. I wanted to go home.

I know I couldn't have been good company for the rest of the evening but I tried my best. After we left, I was kicking myself for not having asked K's friend's wife about swine flu and infants. After all, she is a doctor and she specialized in disease control. She might have had answers. She might even have been able to examine our son and set my mind at ease. But sometimes you don't want to articulate your fears. I just wasn't ready to say swine flu and my child's name is in the same sentence out loud. I just wasn't.

I told K on the way home. Of course, he told me not to be silly, our son was just fine and babies can't just be put through medical tests for nothing. He said we'd probably be putting the child at greater risk if we take him to a disease control center where he might potentially be around people who really do have swine flu.

I couldn't sleep last night. I wouldn't let the baby sleep either for a while until K got really mad and threatened to lock me out of the bedroom if I didn't leave the baby alone.

This morning I called the paediatrician to see if he thought our son needed to be tested for swine flu. He asked me if the baby had had anymore symptoms. I had to say no. So he said essentially the same things K said, that we should just take the usual precautions you take with infants.

I don't know what is wrong with me. I mean, Mad Cow Disease, Bird's Flu etc...all these scares just passed me by and I paid no attention to them. They were on the news but they never happened to anyone I knew and they just didn't register with me. But now I have a child it is different. Everything I hear seems a direct threat to him.

The worst part is that K wants us to leave in August because he has to start work soon. We really can't afford for both of us to be unemployed much longer. And besides his sister goes back to university in Sept and I know his parents can't be left alone.

But I don't know how I am going to travel with my son in the middle of this outbreak. You hear so much about the dangers of travelling and of being on planes. I mean, we know people who've cancelled plans to go to Hajj this year because of swine flu.

Now I am seriously considering asking K if he'd consider leaving me and the baby behind until after the summer months when less people are travelling. Maybe this swine flu would have passed by then.

We still have a few months left on our lease but I'm not sure how I'd get the visas to work though. I don't know how long my old company would continue to sponsor me now that I've resigned. I mean, it was nice of them to leave me on their visa so long after the birth - and to agree to sponsor my son too. I have a feeling they did it because they're hoping I'll come back to work. And if I want to stay a little longer I might have to consider taking a temporary post with them anyway - to help finance my stay.

Which just shows how far I have come, that I would actually consider letting my husband get away from me again. That's something I swore I'd never do again.

And convincing him isn't going to be easy either. He'll probably get upset that I would even ask - after everything we've been through. And he'll say how expensive it is to live here, that we've already spent so much what with having a baby and all, that it would be a waste of money we don't have etc....

It is so complicated.:(


Thursday, July 09, 2009

Love don't live here anymore?

This morning I woke up freezing from the AC, wrapped around him for warmth. Which is fairly typical because he moves around so much when he's asleep that the duvet never stays on me and I get cold. So I got used to just reaching for him because he is like a human hot water bottle. As much as my circulation sucks and I am always cold, he must have amazing circulation mashallah because his skin always feels hot. And it's easier to find him than to find the duvet and dig it out from under the two of us. But then he would move again in the night and I would get cold and follow him. We'd wake up, uncovered, lying horizontally across the bed sometimes, with me wrapped around his back, nothing like the point we started from, which is each of us in our side of the bed like normal people.

So this morning, I opened my eyes and lay there for a few minutes, not feeling like saying anything, trying to tell from his breathing whether he was awake yet. He was. I guess he must have been listening to my breathing too because I felt him move to get up. I mumbled no, am cold. So he turns over in my arms, pulls me with him so we're lying on the bed the way we're supposed to and then pulls the duvet over the two of us. And I fall asleep again. The next time I wake up, he's gone. And the baby is crying - which tells me my husband is out - because he wouldn't just let the baby cry if he was home and awake. He would have been in here in a second.

As I get up for my son, I think how, a few months ago, if I didn't want him to get up I would have said no stay, hold me and we would have ended up making love. And I would have said I loved him. Over and over again. And eventually he would have said it too.

Waking up with him used to be so romantic.

I noticed something strange. I noticed that I don't say I love my husband anymore. Not to him. And not about him. Not even to myself.

And he's stopped saying it, too. But then he was never as comfortable with that word as I was. Most of the time when he would say it, it would be because I said it first.

And now I am not saying it so I guess it's no surprise that he's not.

I am surprised at me. Is it because we've been together too long? Or because we're married? Or because we're parents? I don't know.

I just find it sad the way the word just seems to have quietly died between us.

I mean, it doesn't sound right anymore to say I love you or I love him about my husband.

I am struggling to understand why. And the thought that jumps out at me is that the word 'love' always comes linked to the word 'I'. And I think in terms of 'I' less and less these days. So much more often than 'I' now, it's 'we'. We went, we thought, we bought etc....

He does it, too.

'Have we forgotten to buy milk again?'
'Are we going out tonight?'
'Let's go to bed'
'Let's get up'
'Oh so we're doing that are we?', usually in reference to the conversation taking a turn he doesn't like.

Our son is not included in the 'we'. It's 'we' and 'he'. It's 'us' feeding him, or 'let's get him settled down to sleep' or 'do we get him this or that'. We, we & us. And he, he & him.

Oh my God. Help me! I have turned into a we!

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