Advance apology: this post is a bummer.
Odessa has a disease right now. Not one of the dangerous or long-lasting diseases, but it might be the worst disease. Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease. Look it up.
Now, I’m not a person who’s great at rating the severity of her past discomforts against one another. Like, I’m not sure whether childbirth or having Shingles was worse. I think probably pregnancy plus childbirth was worse than the Shingles ( because it lasted longer), but the Shingles was pretty bad. I DO know I’d rather have a yeast infection than a UTI, because I gave it some thought last time I had a UTI, and decided, once and for all, that UTIs are worse.
But my point is, I have a hard time rating my own pain, but I CAN rate Odessa’s pain. Not her experience of it, but mine. I remember every second of My History of Her Pain. And this is the second worst of her pains I’ve ever experienced. The first, of course, was when she went to the hospital with bronchitis when she was 1. That time, she was nearly catatonic with a high fever. I had the guilt of 10,000 mothers on my shoulders for not taking her to the emergency room earlier. Everything turned out fine, but Dessa was in the hospital for three days and I nearly had to stay in the hospital for three days after with the PTSD I experienced from watching her sweet, glassy eyes stare at me, hour upon hour.
So, that was bad. Now, with this hand, foot and mouth business, there’s more screaming. Like I’m-on-fire-and-vultures-are-squabbling-over-my-entrails screaming. Because her mouth is full of these painful sores, every time she tries to eat or drink, it’s just more screaming. I came at her with a bowl of Jello today and she asked me why I was trying to kill her. She’s not a baby anymore–she’s four and a half, she has a decent vocabulary, some emotional intelligence, and she is in pain.
In conclusion, I don’t believe in hell–never have–but if I did, I think it would probably involve continually having to hold down the arms of my own screaming child, while forcing her to swallow 7.5 ml of orange flavored Children’s Motrin.
It might even be depicted in a Bosch painting. I’m going to have to check.