Wednesday, February 27, 2013

The Longest Two Hours

Yesterday I experienced what I think was the longest two hours of my life.  Glenn and I are in Germany for the week--he's here for a conference and I tagged along to deal with my own long over due medical issues-- but Sidney is back in Albania.  The phone call was from our nanny via Glenn's translator informing us that Sidney was spiking a fever again and Children's Tylenol was doing little to keep his temperature at bay.  This is a phone call that no parent ever wants to receive especially when they are hundreds of miles and two plane rides from home.  I felt instantly sick, worried and a bit panicky.  Fortunately, we have an amazing nurse at our Embassy and after a single phone call to her she assured me she would do a house call (who does that any more?) to check on Sidney. The kicker?  She wouldn't be able to do it for two hours so all I could do was sit and wait.

I had left Tirana with a bit of trepidation on Sunday. Sidney had been sick for two days but seemed to be on the mend so I told myself that I was doing the right thing by leaving him in the very capable hands of the nanny.  After all, I needed to get my own medical needs addressed and with the appointments scheduled and plane tickets purchased I didn't have a lot of options. It was heartbreaking to leave Sidney on Sunday morning. Although he was feeling better he was clingy and wouldn't let me put him down.  Glenn and I had been preparing him for our departure for several days by telling him about the play dates we had arranged, the fun he would have with his Nene and assuring him that we would return on Friday.  He didn't cry during our final few minutes at home; rather he snuggled his warm little face into the base of my neck and informed me that "no, Mamma can't go.  Don't go."  It was heartbreaking and I felt ill at ease on the ride to the airport but I told myself that all of this was for the best.  And then I got the phone call yesterday.

I paced in my hotel room and wandered the attached mall and food court in an attempt to pass the two hours.  I tried to call Glenn and ended up leaving him a text message asking him to call me immediately.  I went online to see if I could get a flight back to Tirana that day. Of course it wasn't possible with the earliest I would be able to arrive back being mid-afternoon today at three times the cost of what we paid to fly here.  I thought through all the possible ways to get back to Albania that day. Nothing was feasible and I felt trapped.  Every worst case scenario played through my mind. Was Sidney O.K.?  Would he end up having to go to the hospital?  An Albanian hospital???......that thought really caused me to panic. If he had to be medi-vaced I worried about how that would happen with Glenn and I out of the country (and ironically in our media-vac location).  We have been cautious and always made sure to have a power of attorney in place for Sidney's care whenever we leave the country. But really, we had always assumed it was just a precautionary measure. To ask someone to have to shoulder that burden just seemed unfair.

Minutes ticked by as I thought about the other times I had waited for news about about Sidney.  I remember sitting in the car during my lunch hour in a Norfolk parking garage waiting for the promised phone call from my endocrinologist to tell me whether our IVF attempt had been successful.  It was, and little did I know at the time, but that phone call would trigger  days and hours of fateful waiting.  When Sidney was two days old we had to endure an entire weekend of waiting for the results of a brain  scan.  Six weeks later it was waiting for more lab results after a botched spinal tap.  At one year it was a  Christmas Eve in the emergency room with dehydration.  You get the picture...............

Exactly two hours after the phone call I got another one.  No medi-vac or hospitalization necessary as Sidney was diagnosed with strep throat and was about to be started on antibiotics.  He would be on the mend and I felt like I could breath again.  I was assured that there was no need for me to return home since he was in the care of his loving nanny who was doing everything she could to take care of him.  After all, she had raised two boys of her own and she is much calmer in these situations than I am.

The report on Sidney this morning is that he is back to his usually happy self. He slept through the night, ate a big breakfast, has been drinking lots of juice, and most importantly no longer has a fever.  It will be a long two days until we return home on Friday but we will all get through it.  And I think the nanny has earned herself a raise.

Me and my little buddy exploring the Norwegian fjords last summer


  1. You just made me paranoid to go to the other end of the state for 2 days for a memorial leaving my son (for the first time ever). And all my husband has asked before I go is to leave him the medical info.

    So glad your son is better.

  2. So glad your son is better. I find it always hard to leave my kids or send them off to grandparents to visit. It does get better when they are older.