As a parent, I, like most parents I'm sure, feel every emotion imaginable when it comes to our children. Two weeks ago, my son and daughter performed in a school musical. I felt every inch of my entire body beaming with pride and happiness for them. I could sense their slight anxiety about being on stage in front of so many people. I got teary-eyed listening to their sweet, collectively off-key voices while thinking about what an amazing year it has been for both of them. Being my daughter’s first time on stage, I felt her excitement and pride as she occasionally glanced over at me and gave me one of her gorgeous little smiles.
Then there is that other kind of emotion, the kind that takes over your entire body and makes you feel helpless and scared. Last week my son Aidan had to be taken to the emergency room and was then admitted to the hospital. He would end up staying there for three nights. He had a severe asthma episode that we were not able to control at home. Unfortunately, we’ve been down this road with unsuccessful breathing treatments, trips to the ER, then being transferred to the trauma room before being admitted upstairs to the pediatric ICU. We’ve been through it all before, and yet this time was different. It was scarier. It took a really long time (over 48 hours) of continuous meds and oxygen before his stats stabilized and he wasn’t retracting so hard. It was three long nights of little sleep and lots of worry. It was the kind of worry and stress that takes over your entire body. The kind that makes you not eat for 26 hours, the kind that makes you wake up out of a groggy hospital chair bed and look over and feel your chest/heart/stomach sink when you see him still working so hard to breathe. But, somehow as parents we hold it together, as best we can, don't we? I managed to keep my game face on (at least I think I did) while secretly wishing/praying/willing him to Just. Breathe.
While it’s been a difficult week, there are several things I am truly grateful for. Our amazing friends helped with watching Angelina so she didn’t have to stay overnight in the hospital. Other friends came to visit Aidan at the hospital and brought cards and gifts to help entertain him. Many friends offered to help out in any way we needed. Grandma hopped on a flight from San Diego to be here with us and bring the kind of love and happiness that only a Grandma can. The family whose photo session I had to reschedule and the clients who have emailed or called have been so understanding. The nurses and doctors were all incredibly attentive and made our stay as comfortable as possible. Nurse Rebecca, after finding out he was a big baseball fan, gave Aidan an Oakland A’s baseball, his favorite team (sorry New Yorkers – we tried!), Nurse Alla demonstrated her kick ass karate moves after she found out Aidan does karate, and Nurse Craig was cracking jokes and making him smile after a long few days.
We are home now and although he isn't fully recovered, he is hopefully going to be OK soon. As for me, it takes several days to decompress from that level of stress and anxiety. I find myself going on about my days, but have to remind myself to just stop every once in a while and Just. Breathe.