1130pm. 2 young boys tucked up in bed. A dog barks quietly in the bedroom. I am drifting off, just in that threshold between awake and sleep. Blissfully unaware that…..
Hang on. We don’t have a dog.
My eyes spring open, I am back in the room, fully alert. Senses firing.
I hear it again….this time there is a seal in the bedroom, and it’s not the singer.
Croup is back.
I jump out of bed, rush into the bedroom and see my youngest, Zak, aged 5, gasping for breath, grabbing his throat and barking like a seal. This is his 2nd or 3rd serious bout of croup in a couple of years. Knowing what the problem is we deal with it better than we did the first time.
The first time. Midnight. 2 years ago. I rush into the bedroom and see Zak, red faced, struggling to breathe on the bed. I pick up his limp body and call for my wife. I later find out that red is ‘good’. Blue is ‘bad’.
My wife is frantically racing up and down the hallway with no purpose. She is, understandably, in panic mode.
That utter feeling of dread and helplessness is crippling. It is a feeling that most parents will have at some stage. We all know that feeling of losing a child in a crowded park or shopping centre, no matter how brief it may be.
“phone an ambulance” I say.
By the time the ambulance arrives we have calmed Zak down, his airways have relaxed and although still breathing heavily he is more at ease. The paramedics , while sympathetic, realise instantly what is wrong and give him oxygen. They see this often.
“It’s just croup” they say.
I don’t feel at all bad for calling them. We go to hospital, Zak has 10mins on the nebulizer and then he is off, running around the wards. The boy is back. The relief is palpable.
But tonight, with this new bout of croup, I jump into the car to go the pharmacy, in my haste I reverse over Zak’s bike. The bike is screwed. It is bottom of the list now though. I am on a mission. I am Jack Bauer. I am unstoppable.
The drive took me by surprise. I took stock and did a quick life assessment. I realise life is so fragile and how important family is and was it really necessary for me to scream at the kids today for having a messy room. I realise that the issues I think are big – at this moment – are not.
At the pharmacy the pharmacist tell me Zak should take the medicine with food –I send a text to my wife:
“how is he”
“ok, he is now watching a movie on the ipad” (Ipad is the new kid penicillin)
“he needs food with the medicine – macdonalds?? “
Hussein Bolt could not have replied quicker.
“Zak hamburger with just meat and bun, he also wants choc milkshake but should only have small amount. Me one cheeseburger and choc sundae with extra choc”
“r u serious”
“its midnight?? “
We don’t often do fast food but I walk into the bedroom laden with 3 bags of macdonald’s and we sit on the bed and munch out. A real midnight feast and another moment to be cherished together.
Macdonalds on the bed at midnight – who cares.