Eliza had Croup. I know she had Croup. She’s had it before and it’s hard to miss – that cough. I did what I was told to do when she was a baby and gave her moist air to breathe. I got out the cold air humidifier and took short strolls outside in the evening with her all bundled up. I knew it wouldn’t last too long and I was okay with the sleepless nights holding her while she slept. I was actually quite proud of the calm way I was handling it. The entire incident occurred without a frantic call to either my parents (who are in the medical profession), 811 (our provincial nurses hotline) or a medical clinic visit. Considering the way our fall went with H1N1 and the bilateral pneumonia, I thought I did pretty good.
Wednesday morning she woke up with a bloody nose. Wheezing, lethargic and with blood smeared across her face. That was the picture of my daughter I was left with as I took Franklin to school and went to work for the day. This image was burned into my brain all day.
As a result, Dickson took her to the doctor on Wednesday afternoon. Although the Croup cough had subsided, she was straining with that horrible high wheeze and sucking collar bone – all the signs that they tell you don’t want to see. Her breathing was taking up all of her energy. When you know what she is truly like, and understand how much force she can give, it is frightening to then see her like she was on Wednesday.
Why do all colds seem to affect her so strongly? My friend Hayley reminded me that Franklin was very much the same and he is fine now – hardly ever sick – but this trial by fever I do not appreciate.
I was sitting watching Franklin’s Aikido class on Wednesday afternoon when Dickson called to tell me that Eliza no longer had Croup as her cough was too wet. In fact she had Bronchitis and early onset Pneumonia. He was on his way to track down inhalers, aero-chambers and antibiotics.
That moist air I was so readily providing her with? That was most likely the trigger of all of this. This certainly isn’t the case for most kids but as she’s so susceptible… the damage from the previous pneumonia… her little body…
ah, crap. I feel horrible.
It’s Friday night and she’s had a few good days with my mother here. Yet, as I write this the monitor next to the keyboard is on full blast and I can hear occasions of laboured breathing and fits of coughing. I’ll probably be sleeping in her room on the floor again tonight.
With Eliza, I always feel that it’s only a matter of days before something goes horribly wrong. We went through similar episodes with Franklin but I never felt that I was fighting for his health like I feel I need to do with Eliza. Why is this? Why am I filled with such foreboding? Why do I worry that the mere act of posting this thought will bring this omen to light?
I’m posting this to try to get rid of my dread. Sometimes, when you actually voice your fear, you realize how crazy it actually is. I’m hoping to get this result. Stay tuned.
Sunday night, the night she started with the Croup cough, I started to sing a song to her that I had not sung since I attended Camp Morice as a kid.
Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with you.
Blessed are you among women, and
Blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus.
Holy Mary, Mother of God,
Pray for us sinners now,
And at the hour of death. Amen.
Gentle woman, quiet light, morning star
so strong and bright,
gentle mother peaceful dove
teach us wisdom; teach us love.
You were chosen by the Father:
You were chosen for the Son,
You were chosen from all women
and for woman shining one.
Blessed are you among women
Blessed in turn all women too
Blessed they with peaceful spirits
Blessed they with gentle hearts.
It is a soothing song. Eliza falls asleep to it almost immediately, even on those nights that are full of coughing and fevers. I sang it to her tonight as well, although she was asleep well before the first verse was finished. I sang it over and over again because I wasn’t singing it for her this time, I was singing it for my friend Emily who died this morning after a long fight with cancer.
Because no matter how crazy things get in my life and how scared I am of what “might” happen to Eliza or in an earthquake, I know that am a very, very lucky person to have everyone in my life for the time that I have them.
I will miss you, Emily.