The baby has asthma. He does not suffer from the acute asthma that many children battle, but if he gets sick, he gets really really sick.
I didn’t write about it this week, but our house has been a sick one. This weekend, while Bray was at the farm with the kids, the eldest came down with something akin to croup. While he was up coughing most of the weekend, the other two had a great time. By the time they returned home Sunday, the baby had started coughing. Knowing how quickly he can degrade, I took both the boys into the doctor on Monday morning. Armed with some treatment techniques, I prayed for the best.
The best did not arrive. The baby’s condition had completely degenerated by last night. By that time I had already had three consecutive nights with a maximum of 3 to 4 hours of sleep because both the boys coughed all night. I tried everything. I called for backup thinking I would have to take him to the E.R. because he started throwing up he was coughing so hard. That condition is not only frightening, it exacerbates him not being able to catch his breath. I couldn’t reach anyone. Bray wasn’t set to be home until later that night. I tried to feed the other two dinner while managing the baby’s struggle. We employed every suggestion I was given – put his face in the freezer so he can breath cold air – check; put vapor rub on his feet with socks to reduce the coughing – check; use his rescue inhaler frequently – check; have them calm down in a resting position – check; take a steam shower – check. By the time I was in the bathroom, door closed, with three toddlers and the hot shower beating down near a small bucket with Vick’s, I was at my wit’s end. Then the shower rod fell on my head. For no reason. I was just sitting there holding the baby on my lap while the other two were pouring water out of the sink and the rod dropped on my head.
No. More. Please.
I couldn’t cry because the other two were already crying. I attempted to get them in bed. I remembered we had an emergency pack of oral steroids that I could start the baby on while I waited for Bray to arrive. The eldest crawled out of bed asking for some medicine too. I told him no, that the baby was really sick. He burst into tears and blurted, “I sick too mommy. I coughing too!” Meanwhile, the little lady ran defiantly in the background disobeying every order I gave. By that time, she earned a spanking. And I don’t even spank.
All night the baby was up. Twice, Bray and I almost went to the ER. We felt utterly helpless. And my precious little man was miserable. He just couldn’t catch his breath.
Can’t you sympathize? Whether you have real asthma or life asthma, haven’t you felt that way? That you were trapped under the bell jar? That no matter what you tried, you just could not catch your breath?
I still feel breathless today.
But I know God breathed life into us and gave us our first breath. I know those before us have struggled to breath and God sustained them. Daniel 10 says, “‘How can I, your servant, talk with you, my lord? My strength is gone and I can hardly breathe.’ Again the one who looked like a man touched me and gave me strength. “Do not be afraid, you who are highly esteemed,” he said. “Peace! Be strong now; be strong.” When he spoke to me, I was strengthened and said, ‘Speak, my lord, since you have given me strength.'”
Isaiah 42 encourages us: This is what God the Lord says—the Creator of the heavens, who stretches them out, who spreads out the earth with all that springs from it, who gives breath to its people, and life to those who walk on it:“I, the Lord, have called you in righteousness; I will take hold of your hand. I will keep you…”
If I could encourage you today, then let me offer you this hope: if you can’t catch your breath, then He, the creator of all that grows and moves around us, will be your breath. He gives breath to His people. He will speak to you and strengthen you.
My baby is better today. We were back in the doctor’s office first thing this morning. More breathing treatments. More steroids. Add on antibiotics. It will still be a trek going down the mountain, but she assured us the worst is over.
That’s all any of us can ask for.