Monday, August 26, 2013

Vick's Vapo What?!?

Croup.  That seemingly evil thief in the night that steals the very breath from your child.  If you've heard it, you know.  The sound of that cough, the sound of their breath squeezing through the ever tightening space in their throat.  I have a child that is prone to it.  He is never sick except for that.  Gets it a few times a year. This weekend we ended up in the ER after trying the trusted tricks at home.  We sat in the bathroom while the shower steamed around us and steamed and steamed. I am a 40 year old overweight claustrophobic momma.  Sitting in that room holding a child is a lot like I imagine a person with a peanut allergy feels walking in to Logan's Roadhouse..GET ME OUT OF HERE!!!!  Then we sat in the cool night air.  Some relief but still struggling for breath.  After an hour of trying to get it under control we end up at the ER and require a breathing treatment and steroids.  A few hours later we are home.  Just in time for everyone else to wake and the day to begin.

The week before was spent with another child and a mysterious all over body rash, high fever and bouts of intense itching throughout the night. Couple that with the first emergency room run of the week for breathing problems due to a reaction to a medication.   The prior month the same child spent fighting a weird skin infection and another allergic reaction to a medication.  Bizarro.   So when last night, my 13 year old woke gasping for air, you'll understand my reaction of "are you flipping kidding me?!"  Can a teenager get croup?  Google says they can.  So if you think holding a 7 year old in a steaming bathroom gave me a hot sweaty anxiety filled someone has a giant size fist around my neck type of feel, you can imagine what it was like holding my 5'9'' 13 year old.  Did I mention our bathroom is the size of a port a pot?

The course of action is hot steamy air followed by cool night air......only last night it felt a bit like a sauna outside so we did the most rational thing....stuck her head in the freezer.  If you've ever had a 13 year old you know how smart they think moms are anyway. The fear of dying helped my argument and shortened the need for an explanation.  No relief.   Hot steamy room again.  And let's be honest, this time mom sat outside the door and kept sticking my head in to check on her.  No relief.  Scared 13 year old.  Scared mom.

I could not believe I was going to be making my 3rd ER trip with a 3rd child for breathing issues in 5 days.  I was certain it would start a DCS investigation or at the very least the nurses would start to think of that episode of 48 hours with the whacko mom that made her kids sick for attention.  That's what lack of sleep does to you folks.  So in my desperation, I did it....the old wives tale...the backwoods treatment....I lathered Vick's VapoRub all over her feet and slapped some socks on her.  The 13 year old looked at this old worn momma, whose hair was going in every direction thanks to the sauna, with total confidence this would work.  *said with sarcasm for those first time readers*

I told her she has 20 minutes for this to work or we are going to the ER.  5 minutes later I thought I could tell a difference but thought it might be wishful thinking.  10 minutes later she no longer had stridor and was not as agitated.  15 minutes later I awoke to total silence thinking she must be dead next to me.  There she was peacefully sleeping.  No gasping, no noises, no cough.  No flipping way.  Waaaaay.  It worked.  Totally worked.  I don't know how and I don't really care because we slept and my child could breathe again.  I know there is only anecdotal evidence to support this claim but when you haven't slept in days and you're looking at your 3rd ER run of the week, anecdotes'll do.

Momma's will try anything to help their babies.  If rubbing VapoRub on their feet makes me a hillbilly well move the couch to the front porch and sign me up!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Stealing a life

First it took his short term memory.   Remembering what you had for breakfast, where he parked the car or how to get to familiar places.  Then it was as if it was eating through his memory year by year until he could no longer remember that he was married and that my husband was his son.  He could not recall his grandchildren whom he loved immensely.  He would talk as if his parents, long past, were here and he was a small boy.   He would sit and read his Bible all day and when it took his proficiency to read, he would still sit with it on his lap and grip it close.  The last memories to go were the scriptures....he could not tell you what year it was or where he lived but he could recite scripture word for word for years.  Out of the overflow of your heart, your mouth speaks.  He is as good as they get.  Through it all he has been kind.   Through it all the eyes glistened with life, with the love of Jesus.  He would not be able to follow the conversation but would smile and laugh anyway.  He did not know who you were but he was just as thrilled to see you. 

It stole his ability to drive, to remember to take his medication, to handle his finances.  It was no longer safe to live on his own.  It ripped the independence out of his life.   The most devastating of all, it took his capacity to pastor his church.  A church he loved.  A church he gave his life to.   The disease claimed his right to brush his own teeth, clean and dress himself.  It claimed every physical skill he possessed.  Except for breath itself.  That time will come.

Alzheimer's.  Brutal, vicious, life stealer.  Grief after grief stacked on top of one other for each capability that is taken.  Now he sits.  No longer able to communicate.   No longer able to move himself.  No longer able to engage with you or even to smile that smile.

In all of that, he was faithful.  In all of that, we are faithful.   It can not take his faith.  It can not steal the love of Jesus. It can not pilfer the victory that Christ already won.   Alzheimer's, you may be able to pillage my father-in-law's memories, his physical abilities, his independence but you cannot claim him.  Jesus did that long ago and he graciously accepted.  I know with all of my being that he will hold a special place in heaven for the way he loved Jesus and the work he did for the Kingdom of God.  I know he will be honored to see the hundreds of souls in heaven he had a hand in bringing to Jesus.  I know he will be blessed beyond his wildest imagination and his eyes will brim with tears of thanksgiving and they will glisten again.  But until then he waits.  In the mercy and love of our Lord, he waits.  In the quiet stillness of his life it is my prayer that he feels the presence of God in his heart until He calls him home. 

My husband is there with him now.  Caring for him.  Reading to him.  Holding his hand.   I've seen it often.  Daddy lived with us for 3 years and I was blessed to witness it.   It is in those moments that my husband is the most beautiful to me.  It is in those moments when he so gently cares for his daddy, when he so patiently helps him to eat, while he cleans him and allows him dignity and honor, it is in those moments I see who my husband is.  Whose my husband is.  It is in those moments that I see the character and integrity of the very man he is holding up shine from the heart of my husband.  It is in those moments that I am at once so very thankful for the legacy given to Trevor and equally struck by the enormity of the responsibility of the legacy we will leave our own. 

Incredibly thankful today.  Indebted to my mother and father in law for offering the love of God to Trevor.  Humbled by the man I am blessed to call husband.  Praying for others that battle this disease.  Focusing on living a life worthy of the legacy we've inherited.