Monday, October 10, 2011

But He Almost Died

Sleeping in an oxygen tent at the hospital
I have a child with Asthma and for a while, he was very ill.

An infant, only ten months old, we visited the E.R. with a chronic cough. It was diagnosed as croup and we were sent home. But by the next night he was in terrible shape and could barely breathe.

We were admitted into the hospital and he was placed in a large metal crib and hooked up to all kinds of machines, including an I.V. and was administered double sets of breathing treatments about every three hours.

Within twelve hours after being admitted, we were told our son was not doing well at all, and that if he did not begin responding to the breathing treatments he was receiving (like within the next hour) he would be air lifted to a children's hospital an hour and a half away. The transport would take place after they broke his chest open to insert a breathing tube and no one would be able to fly in the helicopter with him since it could not accommodate more than his doctors, pilot and a private nurse.

I can remember that day like it was last night. The fear, the ice-cold feeling inside, and the terror of losing my child. If we did not do all of the things they were suggesting, he may die...and even if we did...he still could.

An infant. My son for only ten short months. To bury him was not an option. We advanced treatment, talked to him, said many prayers and waited.

About an hour after that last treatment, he finally began to turn the corner.

My son did recover that night, and we avoided the horror of what could have been.

But I relive that moment every time he coughs...or at least my heart does.

On and off for about 3 years he'd have asthma attacks that would land him in the hospital once again and I think because of that, I coddled him.

I loved when he needed me and I liked when he fell asleep in my arms or on my lap. He was my only son, and my girls have always been very active and not much into cuddling.

He was Momma's little boy.

 His left hand bandaged to a board to keep the I.V. still...cuddling with the blanket he still has today.


Finally recovering...and well enough to sit up for a breathing treatment.

I would  keep him from doing so much and his father would say, 'put him down, let him be, he plays on his own when you let him'. I just always felt that I had to protect him. From what I don't know. I would end up giving him more and more attention, feeling that I had to stay closer to him, than my girls.

He still has asthma, and it can still get pretty bad, but he hasn't been admitted to the hospital in years. But one day, a long time ago, he was bad and I guess that's why I still coddled him a bit now and then.

I guess I was always worried for him. I just wanted to protect him; I was so grateful he was alive.

But I had to stop.

I eventually had to let go.

At seven years old, he's played two years of baseball and he's in his second season of football. He can run like the dickens and he now tells me when he needs his inhaler. There are no more hospital visits and there is not an activity in the world that this kid can't do.

A parent's nightmare of losing, even almost losing, a child is something that will forever leave an impression in one's mind and heart. It can make us try to place the child in a bubble and smother them. It can also drive us to offer more leniency, special treatment etc..

They begin to feed on that and it's not healthy.

I have noticed over time he began to count on that. He'd push the envelope...test me until I'd bend, flex and give in. My girls began to take notice...and I believe....that they thought he was my 'favorite'.

He was/is not my favorite and he does not push on purpose to be manipulative. I've never had a favorite and I still don't.  He's not spoiled rotten and trying to get his way. I've just always had a sick child and been scared to death to lose him. My heart bled seeing that baby in the hospital and I took it too far.

The scars from those hospital nights ran so deep, I was holding on to the all of that pain and illness longer than he was. It often got in the way of my parenting duties like using discipline and boundaries.

Today, when I look at him and even begin to remember those terrible nights, I close my eyes and thank the Heavens he is with us. Then I parent him like I would any of my other children; firmly, consistently, with love and respect...not with fear and weakness.

I'm glad that I changed because I am thankful to God that my girls are alive and well...and I wouldn't ever want them to think I favor any one of them more than the other.

They seem relieved too, because one day my son got grounded for what seemed to be the first time in history, and they cheered!!! It was funny to watch, but a huge eye opener as well.

He is now treated the same as everyone else... (I have a feeling that he isn't happy about it;)

Here he is now. My little man, big and strong, and missing two front teeth ;)


Truly,
Amber

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