I think one of the worst things that comes with being a parent, is having to watch your children suffer. Whether it be from a skinned up knee, a case of the 24 hour flu, or listening as they recount how their feelings were hurt earlier that day. As parents, we have an inherent desire to put our arms around our children and protect them...protect them from harm, protect them from danger, protect them from pain and discomfort...and of course, to protect them from ever getting their heart broken.
For as long as I can remember - starting when she was just months old, in fact - Ruby has suffered with respiratory problems...mainly croup. I can't even count the number of times we have awoken in the night to the familiar sound of a barking seal...followed by frantic gasps for air. This year alone, this infection has plagued her (us) 5 times. And last night was no less scary. In fact, in some ways, it was a lot more scary. We have a nebulizer, coupled with a year supply of little 3 ml vials of Albuterol Sulfate. We keep them in a container under our bed so that we can get to them easily and quickly if need be. It never ceases to amaze me how quick an attack can come on. Anyone whose child suffers with frequent bouts of croup will understand when I say that on many occasions, we have put Ruby to bed in great spirits - without so much as a runny nose - only to have her wake within 10 minutes...coughing...barking...crying...and gasping. As scary as it is, and as terrible as it always sounds, I know that we are well equipped with the supplies needed to provide quick relief, so I never worry too much. What made last night almost unbearable, however, was Ruby's own panic-stricken state. In between each convulsion for air, she would cry in trepidation I can't breathe! The more we tried to calm her down, the more frantic she became, contributing even more to the struggle for breath. We tried to explain to her between the yelling and flailing limbs, that if she would just calm down and take the breathing treatment - in a matter of seconds - it would become easier. Tears streamed down her cheeks as she struggled for air. That was the hardest part. We knew she would be OK. We knew that we had all the resources to make her feel better, but trying to get her to relax, to believe us and trust us...that was the hardest, saddest part of all. I don't know how it finally happened, but after what seemed an eternity, she finally relaxed long enough for the bronchodilator to work it's magic, and within minutes...she was fast asleep in John's arms. The struggle was finally over.