Tuesday, March 16, 2010


Life has a funny idea what fair is. Life does not believe in fair.

Last night I finally managed to go to sleep listening to Ash wheeze in his sleep. I had already taken him to the hospital and gotten the diagnosis of upper respiratory infection. They said it was not in his lungs and he should be fine but I had taken him because Ash has a history of asthma and sounded terrible. Supposedly, everything was fine.

But my mommysenses were in overdrive (mommysenses are like spideysenses, but feel like labor pains...) and they were clanging that we were in red alert.

I dreamed of blood and fragments of bone on a pale face. The blood leaked from the black eyes and down the sunken cheeks. The nose was entirely gone. The fragments of bone looked like someone hit by shrapnel but the shrapnel was his own bone... I knew this somehow. I have no idea how the face came to get these injuries or why he was soaked in red but that he was and that he haunted my sleep. Restless sleep. The kind that you wake up from, repeatedly and blink in the night.

And then, if you have ever been a parent on a vigil you will know what it is like to roll over and lay your hand on a small chest just to feel its comforting warmth. To feel it rise and fall under your hand. You bury your face behind a sweet scented ear and drop a kiss and, if your vigil is like mine, listen to the labored breathing and the sound that you pray is not a death rattle. Because in the dark you are terrified it might be. In the dark, chased by nightmares and with a child's life in your hands, it is easy to fear that one wrong move can make this bright light be snuffed out.

I woke at about six to him crying, or I should say, trying to.

He was making this high, awful, wheezing, "HuuuH!" noise and his lips were blue. His face was white as a sheet. "I can't breathe!" His voice was no more than a whisper between gasping attempts to breathe, but each breath was another, "HuuuH!"

I leaped out of bed and ran and got him a glass of water. I thought maybe it would loosen up the mucus. He drank and sputtered. His lips were so blue. I ran from the room and turned on the older kids lights and told them to dress. That was the last time I saw Justice that morning.

I ran back to see him, tears pouring out of red eyes, "Can't breathe!" he gasped.

Then he threw up the mucus. At least a cup of it. I said out loud, "Oh, good."

I have dealt with pneumonia. I have dealt with asthma. Both of these have taught me that calm is good. Calm makes the inflammation better. Getting rid of the mucus equals good.

When he went right back to the wheezing and horking and his eyes rolled back in his head and then stopped breathing altogether and his knees buckled, I nearly crumbled with him. What was I doing wrong?

If it wasn't pneumonia and he had gotten mucus out, what on earth was wrong? What should I do to fix it? What was happening?

I am not usually torn with indecision. I am pretty decisive. And when it comes to the kids, I thought I knew all I needed to know and they had no curve balls left for me.

Did I call 911? Would they get here in time? They had oxygen on ambulances and he needed oxygen or his lips would not be blue. I could not just sit here and WAIT for a flipping ambulance. If I took him out in the cold night air and he was having and asthma attack, I could kill him.

I was picking up my cell phone and putting it back down this whole time and staring at Ash. It probably was no more than a minute or two but it was hell. What to do? I had no idea what the right answer was. There was no one to ask. No one to scream to for help. They depended on me and I did not know what to do. I wanted to cry.

Then David calmly put a hand on my arm and asked, "Mom, are you okay?"

I remember he was dressed and had to have done it fast. Except for socks. No socks.

He was trying to be man of the house and take care of me. But he was only a very little boy and I was the 'man' of this house.

I said, "David, you go sit on the couch. Do not touch the Wii. You and Justice stay here. I will send someone to help you get off to school. Until then be good."

My mom said when she got to my house, he was still sitting on the couch and Justice was making a bagel. She said, "Do you want eggs with that?" They both said yes and David asked if he was allowed off the couch. My mom thought that odd. I thought it sweet. Also, it was a sign that I must have sounded again like I knew what to do and was going to do it, they just had to listen to me.

Pretended control is often as good as real control.

I scooped Ash up and tossed him in the car. My sanity would not have held long enough to wait for an ambulance. I had to get him there fast.

Away I went, talking on the phone and speeding.

By the time I got on eleven, the horrible, "HuuuH!" suddenly stopped.

With it, my heart abruptly stopped beating.

Oh, he has stopped breathing, I thought.

I sat for a moment, again torn by indecision. Then I hit him.

I have no idea why my first response to dead kid is always hit them, but so far, it brings them back to life. Probably because no one has actually died on me yet.

Ashton screamed, and it ended in choking and wheezing but he was breathing. Then he asked me why I had hit him. He was trying to sleep.

I told him I was making sure he was breathing.

He said, "Well, next time just ask!"

Ever logical, my Ash.

The hospital and later Doc Pirate say it is croup. Apparently, cold night air, moist with dew, is great for croup. It is like the opposite of asthma. You get him wet or cool and it fixes the inflammation.

So my panic fixed it.

He is okay now. My hair is nearly solid gray.

But life again threw me a curve. I find book stuff is not important today. I am drearily tired.

I would give my left kidney for sleep.

Today should, on the Virginia Timeline, be Siren's Song Contract Day.

Instead it is, "Yet another Day on which Ashton almost died and freaked out mommy..."

1 comment:

  1. OH. MY. GOSH. I'm in a state of panic and I live many states away! Wow - I would've freaked out.

    Good job on staying calm enough to get the job done.