Friday, May 21, 2010

In Which I Am Just A Wee Bit Paranoid

This morning I was at one of my usual haunts (a little coffee shop in downtown Puyallup) and an ambulance went by outside.  I turned around and watched it rush by.

My first thought, immediately, was "Oh no.  That might be for Connor."

Never mind that I was across town and the hospital was between me and the school, so unless the ambulance took a really roundabout route there was no reason for it to be driving by me on its way to him.  Never mind that his school immediately calls me whenever Connor has a seizure, so I usually get the call as the ambulance is being deployed.  For a split second I was absolutely convinced that the ambulance was headed to Connor.

This knee-jerk reaction to sirens is not limited to times when I'm not in the same place as Connor.  If I'm driving somewhere with Connor's wheelchair strapped down in back and we hear those sirens, I immediately glance in the rearview mirror to make sure he's okay.  It's ridiculous; I'm pretty sure the car gnomes are not going to dial 911 without me hearing them, and our Mobile Defense Van, Rowbert, has not yet achieved the level of sentience necessary to contact the authorities by himself.  Nevertheless, I still have to glance back in the mirror and make sure that he's still happily watching the scenery go by.

I'm not sure exactly how to break myself of this habit, because unfortunately we hear those sirens in the distance and know they are for Connor often enough to reinforce it pretty heavily.  I suppose as far as neuroses go it's a relatively harmless one, which I should be thankful for, but let me tell you that the adrenaline rush on top of the caffeinated beverage I was drinking this morning probably didn't do good things for my blood pressure.  Does anybody else do this sort of thing, or is it just me? 



Anonymous said...

I have shunt paranoia. If I hear a thump somewhere in the house, E must have fallen. If E shows any signs of illness, his shunt must be infected. Our pediatrician does a good job humouring me, but even she was taken aback when I asked if the splinter in his finger could affect the shunt. Deep down, I *know* that I'm being ridiculous, but I can't help it! He's my little guy.
-J O'C

MFA Mama said...

I carry a shampoo/conditioner sample pack, my mouthguard, one day's pills for me, and a purse-sized hairbrush in my purse AT ALL TIMES.

You know, just in case someone needs me to rush them to the hospital (and I have one child and one husband who are likely suspects, plus the other two kids, well, YOU JUST NEVER KNOW, RIGHT???) and stay by their side until they're stable.

I don't think most people do this.

Also, I had to force myself to stop keeping a pair of clean panties in there. Okay, my husband forced me to stop that. Because purse panties are weird.

KLB said...

Jess, I grew up as the cause of my mom's paranoia. I have OI (Brittle Bones) and had only about 25 fractures as a child (most OI-ers have hundreds). As a grownup, I can't recall the pain of those fractures. Oh, I know intellectually that they hurt and not to do anything to bring them on but I can't recall the actual pain. Fast forward to being a mom to a toddler who is also a wheelchair user. At age 4, she took a wrong turn and tumbled down 3 steps in her WC. I thought she'd broken her neck and died, I was hysterical. She was fine, cut her lip and broke her glasses but fine. I continue to have nightmares about that event, and I CAN recall the pain and fear of watching my child come close to being mortally injured. I really think parenting kids with health issues is WAY harder on the parents than the kids because we can recall vicerally, the experience in a way that the person who physically experienced it is protected from. Anyway, I now carry a deep appreciation for what my parents went through to raise me! (and my snippy mouth in my teens, sorry for that as well!)

lisa said...

My son, who is now almost 31, drowned in a bathtub when he was 9 months old. I still get upset when I hear ambulance sirens. I guess trauma changes the way you think.
I think it would probably be strange if you didn't react to the sound of sirens like you do.

Jess said...

Glad to know I'm not the only one!

And I believe that "purse panties" should definitely be in the dictionary. That is an awesome term and I must figure out a way to work it into conversations in the future.


Kristin said...

I actually had a bike accident when I lived in College Station that resulted in two emergency trips to the ER and two emergency surgeries (the second set due to complications from the first). It was a few years before I didn't think every siren I heard was an ambulance coming for me. Seems slightly ridiculous since I knew I didn't need an ambulance anymore, but each time I heard a siren, I'd take mental inventory of my body parts to make sure they were all still intact. (in an aside, my story did make it into the Batt -tho no gruesome picture. they much have been off their game that week)

Here It Comes said...

I have come to the conclusion that I will never stop reacting to the worst case scenario. Even as Emmi improves daily and beats all odds, I still can not get over what could happen. I am not even going to out myself by telling how many times I sneak into her room at night to make sure she is okay.

Wherever HE Leads We'll Go said...

You are definitely not alone. Amazing how a sound, a smell or just about anything can conjure up all the feelings, fears, etc. from an event. I would think the chances are magnified when that event is repeated several times.


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