My littlest came down with an asthma attack this past week. He’s never had asthma before, but he woke up with labored breathing and a cough. I scooted him off to his pediatrician’s office to get him checked out. He underwent a nebulizer treatment with albuterol, and showing no improvement and seeming a little worse, his doctor urged me to take him to the ER. A lung x-ray showed bronchitis. After a dose of steroids and Benedryl and yet another treatment combined with oxygen, he finally pulled out of it. The whole time I wasn’t feeling too worried. It’s 2013 after all, children don’t just keel over too often these days. It’s not medieval times, right? But when they let me take him home after five hours in the ER, the gravitas and the fear came creeping in through my pores as I heard him wheezing from his carseat. When we got home, I put my little boy to bed after making macaroni and cheese because that’s all he wanted, and decided to call the day a wash.
As I lay down to sleep, I silently apologized to the universe for feeling so put out. I had so much to do that day and I was feeling agitated that I wasn’t able to get anything done while I sat waiting for x-ray and respiratory technicians. How had I fallen so far from being in tune with my own child that I would second-guess the necessity of treatment and feel so intensely put out? I fell asleep fitfully. For the hour that I slept, I had a dream about my brother. My brother passed away in his sleep with complications due to pneumonia. He was 23 and he stopped breathing in his sleep. In my dream, my brother was gone and I was just finding out how he died. It was gut-wrenching and painful to my core. I woke up and ran to my little’s room and checked to make sure he was breathing. He was breathing in short, quick breaths, while his brother was across the room, breathing in long leisurely lengths. I didn’t sleep much after that, plagued with visions of finding my child in his bed, not breathing. Is it possible that having kids means living in fear for the rest of your life? I love my boys; they are my heart and soul, walking around outside of my body. And though I know that everything’ll be OK, there’s still this nagging tug on my heart that worries, that reminds me, “What if it’s not?”
I know that the Synthesis is edgy and that probably nobody wants to hear stories about my kids. But for the parents that read, the mums and the dads, and the people with loved ones they can’t ever imagine losing, can we just bring it in for a group hug for a second?