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.:(