That Helpless Feeling

My Favorite Domer (AKA College Guy) called the other night to tell me he’s been sick with some kind of upper respiratory bug.

The kind that makes your nose run. And your eyes water. And your throat tickle.

The kind that makes you want to crawl into bed and sleep, not pore over textbooks, take notes, and study for tests.

This might be one of the hardest things to endure as a parent — a kid who’s sick and miles away from home.

No, it’s not a major catastrophe (thank heaven!).

Yes, many of his friends are also sick. The changing weather — hot and windy one day, cold and rainy the next — certainly plays a part. And it doesn’t help that he’s had too many nights without sufficient sleep of late.

I know these “bugs” have to run their course, generally a week to 10 days.

But the mom in me wants to feed him chicken noodle soup and Jello. Why? Because my mom fed that to me, and it seemed to help.

I want to strip the sheets off his bed and put on fresh ones. To tuck him in with some Vicks VapoRub and a humidifior belching warm steam.

I want to draw the blinds and close his door, letting him sleep until he feels better.

I want to set aside his homework and books and projects. Just for a little while.

Just until his brain isn’t so foggy and he’s able to concentrate again.

But I can’t. I’m too far away, and he’s too grown up for mom to hit the highway and hover over him.

So I fight that helpless feeling, knowing there’s an Infirmary on campus if he starts feeling really awful.

And I pray for healing. And I count the days until he’s well and back to being himself.

What tricks have you found that make sick kids feel better?

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16 thoughts on “That Helpless Feeling

  1. Ah Debbie, I so know how you feel. Being far away from my sons is bad enough, but when they’re sick it’s the worst. Goodie-bags are a family standard for us when anyone’s sick – just a little bag with a few favourite treats to make you feel better! And I love sitting on the edge of the bed, chatting for a little while – like my mom used to do for me when I was sick at home from school. Ahhh … hope your Favourite Domer feels better soon.
    Hugs to you from London – sorry I’ve not been around much lately!
    Sunshine xx

    • I’ve missed you, Sunshine, and I’m glad to hear from you! A goodie-bag sounds simply delightful. My mom used to tuck us in on the sofa, where we could watch her soap operas on TV all afternoon, between naps of course. It was so pleasant, I’m rather surprised we kids didn’t fake illness more often!!

  2. A couple of years ago mine had whooping cough and was pretty much confined to his dorm for about two weeks and took closer to a month to be completely back to normal…my heart aches for you as I well remember that helpless feeling. Hope your son is much better soon.

    • Thanks, Suzicate — I can’t imagine what you must have gone through, knowing your son had something as serious as whooping cough and you couldn’t do anything about it. Parents should be awarded a medal for bravery, huh?!

  3. Oh, how I can relate! My Mom made me hot tea with lemon & honey,tucked me in and drew the blinds so I could sleep. I have carried on the tradition. Guess we never stop being a Mom or needing our Moms when we are sick. Hope your favorite Domer feels better soon.

    • Your mom sounds like my mom, Kathy! Sleeping it off was the best medicine — and it didn’t hurt knowing my friends were suffering it out in school, either. Thanks for weighing in!

  4. It never occurred to me when I left home that I would ever be sick without my mom to take care of me. It was a real WTH moment for us both. My mom and I got through it and then she told me that if I would only take care of me the way she had taken care of me–I would not get sick near as often and see what happens when you live so far from home!
    Hope your boy feels better soon!

    • I appreciate your empathizing with my plight, Katybeth. I was a good 500 miles away from home in college, too, and I’ll never forget how sick I was with the flu one year. Roommates just can’t give you the comfort that moms can!

    • Coloring book and crayons, huh? Yep, I think that would help. Knowing Domer, I suspect he’s trying to tough it out, still dragging himself out of bed for classes, still blowing his horn in Band. He’s never been a whiner, and that might just help him to heal faster. But you’re right — it IS hard on mom!

  5. I have absolutely no advice because mine are still ‘babies’ (relatively speaking), but I can offer you support :)

    I think just the sound of your voice on the phone helped him. I know when my boys are sick, they just want attention from me.

    I hope he gets better soon!

    • You’re sweet to offer support, Janna. He’s lucky the Band had an “off-week” this weekend, where they didn’t have to perform a halftime show or travel some place. I’m hoping he was wise enough to have tried to catch up on his sleep (right, a college kid catching up on sleep when there are so many more interesting things going on!). We can hope, though!

  6. Jello juice! Mom would make up a batch of jello, pour it into a ceramic tea kettle and leave it on the stove by the pilot light (remember those?) to keep it warm and liquid. The modern version is: make up a batch, pour it into several coffee mugs, cover them with plastic wrap or foil lids and refrigerate. When they’re needed (your “little” boy or girl), reheat in microwave. It’s comforting and there’s a bit of carbs in it for nutrition. (also a very good treat for dieting, in the evening when you have a sweet tooth, if you’ve made the sugar free kind! zero points, zero calories, max flavor)

    • Good idea, Lynne! And as his room has a refrigerator and a microwave, he wouldn’t even have to traipse downstairs. I’ll have to give this a try — sounds perfect for a variety of “ailments.” Thanks for the recipe.

  7. This is why all my kids went to college locally. I cooked for them and took food there everyday almost. Make your son some chicken noodle soup….pack it in dry ice and overnight it. Put plenty off fresh garlic in it…that’s the secret. 3 Of my 6 kids live out of town including my 2 yr old grandaughter. Oh how I miss them….but my husband and I pray together EVERY morning for them.

    I put them in the Lord hands…He’s an expert in taking care of children.

    • You’re absolutely right, Tanya, about the Lord taking care of our loved ones when they’re away from us! He loved them first; He loves them best! Your kids were lucky you were close enough to cook special things for them — and you were lucky to be able to do so! Thanks for the suggestion.

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