The Lost Weekend

I think this weekend was, in fact, the worst one of my entire life.

Griffin has been sick for weeks. Well, actually, we have all been sick for what feels like months. Between the winter and daycare, one illness perpetually seems to bleed into a new one. That’s why I really didn’t think much of it when Griffin started coughing so much last Wednesday night. Drew and I had both been coughing too- I thought he was just getting over his last cold. But then I noticed he was quieter than usual. And he kept randomly falling asleep. And he didn’t want his bottle. On Thursday morning when Drew brought him in to lay with me before we got ready for the day, I noticed he was taking shorter, faster breaths. That’s when it all clicked and I started to panic. I called the on-call doctor (who happened to be Griffin’s pediatrician) and he said the he definitely should be seen, but since he wasn’t turning blue or anything, he could wait for normal office hours. The time dragged while I waited, meanwhile my poor baby was falling asleep sitting up- something he NEVER does. When I got him into the doctor they tested his blood oxygen level and found out that he was extremely low- this is why he had been “falling asleep” (passing out) so easily. An xray gave us the only good news of the day- it was not pneumonia. But he was still in bad enough shape that he needed to be admitted to the hospital immediately.

Drew raced across town to meet us just before Griffin and I took off in an ambulance. In the back of the truck, my sweet boy was attached to various tubes and monitors. He had stopped crying which sent fear through every part of my being- why was he so quiet? The paramedic driving was incredibly sweet, but kept trying to make small talk while my mind raced. I briefly remember feeling guilty for only giving him one word answers.

Once at the hospital, they whisked Griffin off into a room and immediately began suctioning his sinuses, pumping him with oxygen and connecting him to wires. My eyes welled with tears. But there was something else. Faith.

my heart broke for him but I knew he was tough!

I was miserable because my son was miserable and seeing him scared or in pain is the worst thing I can imagine. I was afraid because I hadn’t seen him look so fragile since he was just born. It reminded me that he is still a baby, breakable, soft. Normally he is so agile and resilient that I almost believe he is invincible. He isn’t. But I never for a second feared for his life or his recovery. I don’t know why. If he had continued down the same path, he could have died or suffered brain damage. But it was exactly as they say- a mother just knows. And I did. While I understood this would be harrowing and difficult, I knew that we would all come out on the other side. We would all be stronger for it. I believed in it, had faith in it.

The rest of the weekend is a blur of tests, tubes, nurses, illness, tears, bad food, and sleepless nights. The final diagnosis was some version of bronchiolitis (likely RSV) with an underlying infection that caused the high fevers. This was, apparently, not related to the cold we had just had, and was most likely a new illness he started to deal with last week. The use of oxygen and vigilant sinus suctioning seemed to work wonders as he got over the hump though and we were released on Sunday morning. Home never looked so good.

While we slid right back into life as usual (work, daycare, cooking, chores) something is just a tiny bit different. Griffin has quite literally been the happiest baby I’ve ever met. he is all smiles from the time we get up until the time we tuck him in. He even grinned today when I dropped him off at school. We all slowed down a bit. I took the time to hand make pierogis the afternoon we returned home. Drew sanded some cabinets. We play jut a bit more, talk just a bit more. We sit back and take in the unbelievably beautiful life we’ve been handed.

So it was the worst experience of my life. Never again do I want to have my child admitted to a hospital. I hope that was my first and last ambulance ride. I truly wish for us all to stay healthier from here on out. But I believe that goodness can come out of all things, and in this case, I think getting through those ugly days allowed us to see the wonder that can otherwise be overlooked.

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