The things that will never make it in the baby books and other musings from a stay at home mom

Thursday, February 09, 2006

My dream job

Evan had his second asthma attack in as many weeks yesterday evening. Still no asthma diagnosis (I'm a little unclear exactly one has to do to get an asthma diagnosis if 2 incidents in 2 weeks don't do the trick), but the pediatrician who saw him last night and again today said that she suspects we'll be spending a good deal of time bonding with the nebulizer this winter, diagnosis or no diagnosis.

We managed to stay out of the hospital this time by waking every 3 hours throughout the night to give Evan breathing treatments. The fact that we all got to go home to our own beds was good news, but the plan to keep us there was somewhat less than ideal for me. I just don't do the night time waking thing well. Even when my children were infants, I would wake up only long enough to scoop them into bed with me, offer up the goods and fall fast asleep as they sucked away. Had I been able to do the same thing now, I gladly would have. Unfortunately, I could not figure out a way to get my body to emit albuterol the way it used to emit breast milk. And so I found myself standing over Evan's crib at 4 a.m. last night, waving a nebulizer wand in his face and trying to will the medicine to flow out faster so that I could get back to bed where I belonged.

A nebulizer apparently works at only one speed no matter how tired its operator, and so my mind had plenty of time to wander as the machine slowly worked its magic. I found myself thinking of a conversation that I'd had with Evan's pediatrician after the first asthma incident. "We usually hospitalize kids if they need treatments less than 3 hours apart because it's just too much to ask the parents to do," she'd told me. "That's not your job." I'd been surprised at her choice of words. "It's all my job," I had replied without thinking. "I'm his mother."

My words had been automatic in the light of day, but as I recalled them in the darkness of night, they somehow seemed far more profound than they actually had been. After a lifetime of dreaming of motherhood and four years of struggling with the highs and lows of realizing that dream, here it was at its most basic. My child was sick. I held the power in my hands to make him better. It was honestly my pleasure to stand there and help him, I realized; sleep or no sleep. And furthermore, it was my job.

I stood there for what seemed like forever, listening to the hiss of the nebulizer and smiling at the sight of my sleeping son as I proudly did my job as his mother. And then when the machine sputtered dry, I kissed him on the forehead and I crept back to bed.


At 3:32 PM, Blogger Gina said...

My sister went through the same thing when D was the same age as Evan. It was months before anyone ever officially diagnosed him with asthma and an ER doc in Phoenix tried to suggest it was CF - so if someone tries to suggest that, smack them in the head.

I hope this is the last attack he has. I know how scary they are.

At 3:50 PM, Blogger Awesome Mom said...

I love that because that is exactly how I feel when it comes to my kids. I have had ample oppertunities with my Evan to be doing things like that for him. It really makes me wonder sometimes when day after day in the hospital I see so few kids there with parents and there I am by my son's side making sure that he is cared for and feels safe. I feel that it is my job as his mommy to go through all the sleepless nights, to be there to help him feel better after a blood draw. It is nice to know that there are other moms out there like me.

At 4:11 PM, Blogger Kristy said...

So sorry Evan's "relapsed" again.

While what you have to say is insightful and entirely true, I really can't say I would be so incredibly wise at 4 am. You CAN be annoyed, you know. It takes nothing away from your love of your son.

Ok, so I'm saying this entirely for MY purposes...

At 5:55 PM, Blogger Katrina said...

Just an idea, my son also takes the nebulizer treatments...the drugstore sells a mask for the wand, so you don't even need to hold it! Just pop it onto his face, zone out for a bit...and done!

At 11:12 PM, Blogger Jennifer said...

While it's draining, completely, isn't it truly such an honor to have this job? I so agree with you and feel so blessed, even at 4:00am. Well, ok, not always at 4:00am. But I recognize that I could be feeling blessed at 4:00am, to have this job - if I weren't asleep on my feet.

Beautifully written, Rebecca.

At 10:06 AM, Blogger Teresa said...

Lurker here...had to comment. My DD has asthma and I can completely relate to your 4 am nebulizer treatments! I couldn't even do the mask with DD because she would freak out (like probably any of us would if someone placed something over our face while we slept)!

Asthma is a scary thing and it took two chest x-rays, a wrong diagnosis of pneumonia, coughing up blood, and then a visit to a DIFFERENT pediatrician to get a diagnosis of asthma.

Oh, and we also had my DD tested last summer for CF (it was negative) just to rule it out.

Lots of empathy for you right now. Don't feel bad about what you say to get Evan to take his meds! I've been known to say things like that out of desperation (especially with the Orapred that doesn't taste great). Oh, and another thing...try mixing the orapred with straight-up grape juice concentrate - a suggestion from the pharmacist we go to.


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