Am I Really Wearing a Hazmat Suit for a Paper Cut?


When your child is sick, it sucks – big time. There is really nothing a parent can do, other than treat the symptoms and try to make your child as comfortable as possible. No parent likes to see their child ill. It is a helpless feeling.

I like to take that feeling up a notch to near hysteria level. It is not just a cough, it is SARS. A runny nose could mean avian flu, and that rash is poison oak.

I also like to douse my hands in anti-bacterial gel. If I thought it was safe to swallow I would probably drink it.

Right now my husband is sick. If I could put him in a bubble I would do it. Instead, I follow him around with the Lysol bottle. A few years back he caught a terrible cold which turned into pneumonia. This spawned comments from him such as: “This is a lonely illness.” Sadly he was right. My daughter and I avoided him like the plague.

I used to be carefree and not so much of a worry wart. Both of my grandmothers had these bright orange worry beads. The beads hung on a rope and my grandmothers would carry them around and rub them between their fingers to alleviate their worries. As a child I remember thinking I would never need those beads. I never worried.

Fast forward thirty years and motherhood has made me a nervous wreck. Every time my child asks for a Band-Aid I fire off the DEFCON Level 3 sirens.

Conversely, I know plenty of parents who are not this way. I envy them. To be free from that type of anxiety must be magical. To sleep at night, or do just about anything else rather than focus on the latest food recall must be a gift. Instead, I am plagued by thoughts of the Ebola virus every time we go out to eat. Lovely, I know.

I am trying my best to loosen up a bit. I am not berating our server any more with questions such as, “Do you wash all the lettuce?” Or attacking my husband with worries of, “Is this chicken pink? I can’t see well in this lighting.” I have also stopped myself from calling my mother (a retired nurse) to inquire about appendicitis symptoms in regard to my child’s abdominal pain, when really, she just needs to poop.

Okay, well that last one is a lie, I call that poor woman every day. But I really am trying to be better.

So if you see me furiously working on a string of worry beads, tell me to take a deep breath. It’s not cyclospora, it’s just a little stomach upset.

Unless that salad I ate last night was from a bag. Then who knows……

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