Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Mom's intuition - enough to make you think you're a hypochondriac!

Has any mom ever felt like a hypochondriac when in actuality, you are feeling whatever one of your kids is feeling? I have done that all through their lives.  When they were little, I used to joke about it, but thought seriously that it was because, of course, when we all live together we both have sore throats or allergies at the same time.  However, over the years, I have learned that more often than not, if I have a new pain or ache such as my teeth hurt, or my throat hurts, or ANYTHING....within a day or two, one of the kids is complaining of the same thing, not knowing I was feeling that way, too.  I used to think that if and when the kids moved away, this sixth sense would go away....but it hasn't.  My only problem is that I can't tell which one of them is the one with the problem (or maybe it truly is me this time - lol) until they speak up.  So don't you think that's a built-in gift from God so that moms would always know what was going on with their kids?  I think we've probably lost some of that intuition over time or ignore it, waiting for the hard facts from the doctor, but in my experience as a Pediatric nurse, I have found moms usually know something. 

How many of you have oh-so-quietly snuck into your baby's room to check on them when they were sleeping because you had a funny feeling?  I have!  I'd try to watch for breathing, but when I wasn't sure, I'd place my hand on their little chest and feel for movement.  In the scariest moments, you don't feel like you feel anything (!), and so you give them a little shake....most often they move, or stretch, and you're relieved.  At give them a bigger shake and you just woke a sleeping baby!  I was laying in my bed in Devon's hospital room one night after midnight, watching the helicopter landing lights on the roof of the hospital next to ours, when I got that funny feeling.  No voice...just a feeling that said I'd better check on her.  I laid there for a little bit longer because I didn't want to wake her (sleep was a precious commodity) and I felt I was being silly...she was fine.  But I reasoned that I couldn't/wouldn't sleep well if I didn't at least try to check without waking her so I went to the bedside and placed my hand on her ribcage to feel for movement....didn't feel anything.  Gave her the little shake....nothing.  Gave her the bigger shake....still nothing.  Called her response.  Debated, but turned on the light - she was blue and barely breathing!  Thank God he gave me that intuition!  I hit the call button and the nurse came in, called others for help, including portable X-ray, ECHO, and other diagnostic equipment.  I was sitting on the bed while all of this frantic activity was happening around me - still no response from Devon.  I thought about calling Scott at home but it was 2am and what was he going to do except lay at home, worry, and miss sleep - there was nothing he could do.  This was going to go down one of two ways - she either gets worse and ends up in ICU or worse, she dies, in which case I'll call him then.  Or, she gets better, and I really felt that was what was going to happen so no need to bother him yet.  I'll call him in the morning with an update.  And you know, (since she's still alive) that it was the second option....she came through it.  That night, however, was the first concrete sign that the chemo that was killing the malignant cells was also killing her healthy and necessary cells.  Everywhere your blood goes, it carries with it the poison....the brain, the heart, the kidneys, her senses (hearing especially), the bones, her endocrine and female reproductive systems....all were damaged by the chemo.  Some, like the heart, because it is a muscle, can recover, as did most of the brain (very little short term memory deficits still exist - but every now and then, it shows up.)  But the rest have lingered.  Scott and I remember some scary words to hear from your child's doctor, "We will give her this drug and then in 24 hours, we will give her the antidote."  Poison!  They are poisoning our daughter and then giving her the antidote!  I sure hope they don't forget!  This same God given intuition helped me many times.  After that particular time, I trusted every "feeling" I ever had about her health and was able to intervene in most cases.  (Read Lauren Graham's new book, Seriously - cancer? I don't have time for this! and you will see that her mom has that same intuition! Great book!  She is one of my students and had her cancer diagnosis shortly after Devon did.)

Along the same lines, I have a friend whose child was abducted 7 years ago.  She feels she is still alive and so I believe she is, too.  See her story at Other mothers of abduction victims report feeling their child is gone....and sometimes they find them deceased.  I think this is the same intuition that tells us about our's radar, so to speak. I'm not meaning to leave Dads out of this conversation, they may very well have it, too, but in my family - its definitely me that gets accused of being the hypochondriac!  Same with adoptions....I have friends and a niece that is adopted but I can't tell you if the moms have that same intuition.  I would think its possible.....  Can you imagine 14 kids?!?!?  You'd always feel sick!

I teach Pediatric nursing and I tell my students that my own kids were my best teachers. We also teach the students to listen to the moms because they have an instinct about their kids....well, that's what I was taught, too!    But after living it....I know this to be true!  And, yes, I think its a God thing!

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