I (vaguely) remember the days when the fear was brought on by too many vodkas of a Saturday night. These days it feels like the fear is never far away, but it’s brought on by something entirely different. The cough.
A simple huff or puff is all it takes to send this CF Mama (and most others) into a tailspin of chaotic, neurotic worry. And let’s be clear, the fretting freefall doesn’t only happen when Eva coughs. It happens when anyone dares to expel some irritating substance from their respiratory tract in her presence. Anyone whose brain even thinks they might need to bark it out. Because obviously every single bacteria and virus in the world has the sole purpose of infecting my daughter. Insane? Completely and utterly. But it’s ok once you acknowledge that, right?
Of course the most difficult part of this cough-phobia is when it’s someone in the family that’s hacking. Bad enough if it’s me or the hubby. We’re pretty swift to cover our mouths. But oh my sweet baby Jesus the absolute petrification when poor Danny gets a cough. Danny is four, so can’t possibly grasp the seriousness of the situation. He just knows his sister’s lungs need help to work as well as ours. But I have to hand it to him, he’s pretty damn good for a four-year-old. I’d say he’s had at least six coughs since Eva was born, including croup twice, yet she’s only ever caught one dose off him. My saying ‘cover your mouth’ about 600 times a day is clearly paying off.
But isn’t that sad in itself? That your poor wee man is under the weather and you spend your time nagging him because you’re in a cold sweat about his sister catching it. It really can’t be easy to be the sibling of little person with CF. Of course I’m totally aware of giving Danny bucketloads of TLC and I always err on the side of a doctor’s visit if I just don’t like his form. But I catch myself at times, harshly snapping ‘cover your mouth’ out of sheer frustration, and then the wave of guilt comes. Before Eva arrived, I’m pretty sure I was a sympathy machine to his every snuff and puff. It’s not that I care less now, I just have to worry in two directions. I can’t wait until he’s old enough to understand all of this so I can tell him he’s a hero for covering his mouth and washing his hands with (mostly!) good humour at such a young age. Eva is lucky to have you Dan. You’re the right person for the protective big brother job, even if you don’t realise it yet.
Both Dan and Eva are coughing today, hence the post – but fingers crossed the fear remains just fear.