when they decide to stop trick or treating after 6 houses. My child will do anything for a piece for candy. I can confidently say that at the age of 5 I still have much more neurotic coaching to do to keep him away from strangers. 'Help me look for a kitten?' Max would tell them to go pound sand. 'I have a huge bag filled with Reese's and Snickers.' Max would be banging on the rear doors of the rusted out white van pleading with the abductor to let him in. So when he called it quits after 6 candy bars I knew there was something wrong.
He had an asthmatic response to a cold about three years ago. He would up in the ER puffing away on Albuterol. They released us with a prescription and instructions on how to use an inhaler. After three years we put the asthmatic issue out of our head. We had seen him get a bit raspy with chest colds now and then but a quick inhaler puff and he was good to go. This time he was not lasting that magical four hour time frame in-between puffs. He had begged to go out on Halloween night. As parents know Oct 31st is a high holiday in the Church of Adolescence. Denying him the right to ring bells just seemed cruel.
We decided a visit to our local ER was inevitable. We brought him in and everything turned upside down from there. His oxygen levels were scary low and his breaths per minute were way up there on the breaths per minute measuring scale. I am sure there is an official name for breaths per minute, but lack of sleep for the past three days is starting to toy with my brain. They stuck an oxygen mask on his face at 9pm on Friday night. I did not see his cute little lips again until 4:oo Saturday afternoon. That's a long time in the world of parental anxiety. I did all the things a freaked out mother would do. I hid outside the room crying when they stuck the IV in his hand. I had promised him there would be no shots on the ride there. Never promise no shots to a child on the way to an emergency room visit. It will cost you an out of the way trip to Toys R Us and a $50 Indiana Jones Lego set the next day.
Around 2:00 am on Saturday morning they called for a respiratory team from Children's Hospital to transport him into Boston. Only one parent on the ambulance. Jamie went with him into Boston. I stood in the cold parking lot and watch my little man scream for me while restrained in a stretcher with tears running down his face. Thank God for the magical GPS system my dear sister and her husband gave us for our birthday. I am not sure how I would have driven home that night in a haze of exhaustion and tears without the comforting robo-voice telling me to turn left. "At the next intersection turn right and pull yourself together, Chrissy. Jamie got the shit end of the stick. You get to go home to bed for a few hours. Proceed straight and bear right in the rotary."
I got to the hospital Saturday morning. Jamie was passed out in a bunk that was provided to him that had the width of a surfboard and a mattress made of crushed Triscuts. I woke him up and sent him on his way home so I could take the day shift. I begged him to use the GPS because he was so exhausted I am not quite sure he knew who I was. Max was resting comfortable and peering out at me over his little plastic mask. He demanded to know where I had been and wanted to know where his promised Legos were. I then spent the next 30 minutes explaining to him why toy stores are not open at 7:00 am on Saturdays. His oxygen levels gradually went up over the day. Children's pediatric respiratory staff were comforting and amazing. The educational aspect of the entire experience was incredible. What do you want to know about your lungs? Huh? Huh? Ask away dummies. I will bowl you over with my pulmonary prowess.
Because he was hooked up to an IV he had to use a bottle to pee in. Being unfamiliar with proper pointing of the boy parts in urinary functions when lying down in a bed, I managed to scrape his little member with the hard plastic edge of the container. He screamed at me in outrage and shot me a death look with his eyes. His revenge was telling each and every member of the medical staff that entered the room for the remainder of the day, "My Mommy scratched my penis."
The mask was removed at 4pm and a new, happy Max emerged. Jamie returned late afternoon from a nap and a shower at home. My mother and aunt came in to visit so Jamie and I were able to go downstairs and dine on one of the worst meals in our life. That chicken will haunt my nightmares. One more night for Max in the hospital so they could administer Albuterol treatments and keep a watchful eye on his levels. Jamie assumed the position once again on the bunk from hell and I returned home to feed the starving cats.
Today is brighter and better because Max gets to come home. His levels are all back to normal and he has an attitude. I just want to do laundry and sit on my couch rather than this uncomfortable pleather chair I am writing from. Thank God for Wifi.
One of the doctors commented on the view from our hospital room where you can see the city skyline and Harvard Medical School's campus. The only thing that catches my eye are the rooms across the way where the long-term patients have decorated their windows with special markers. Ben likes green and blue monsters. Angel has drawn a big yellow sun and a pink flower. One child has written, "I feel like a beaver in a cave." I am thankful that Max was not here long enough to draw on his window. It's amazing how quickly the graffiti puts it all into perspective.