The “Mom Ringer”

This last 36 hours I have been through the “mom ringer.” No, I don’t mean on the phone, Santa Baby. A ringer is something used in hand washing clothes. Instead of a spin cycle on your machine, it would squeeze (or ring) the item of clothing so tightly as it rolled through that any excess water would be rung out. Therefore, making the clothing easier to hang dry.

My 2 year old caught a bad case of croup. She started with just a sore throat, and I live in a high, dry elevation, so I simply sloughed it off and put a humidifier in her room that night. She woke up at 1 am with what they term “stridor.” Which is the most raspy, raggedy breathing I’ve ever heard. I spent the rest of the night on the floor beside her bed, to comfort her when it became to hard to breathe. I described it as “horrific” to a friend of mine as I cancelled plans the next morning. Little did I know that horrific hadn’t even begun. The day was tough, I tried all the home remedies I could find on the internet and through friends. Moist air, hot showers, Colloidal silver, Lavender essential oil, Elderberry syrup, Honey, cough drops, and even Vicks Vaporub. All these things would give a few moments of easier breathing, but nothing seemed to make it get better. I did not look forward to another night on her floor, so I brought her in bed with me that night. My husband and I have a king-sized bed, but she was so restless she literally flipped and flopped all over it. By 11 pm she had only sat still for maybe 20 minutes, and most of that was only to watch an episode of “The Octonauts” on my IPad.

As I held my baby struggling to breath, I kept searching on my phone for more details to let me know what I should be doing. Everything I had read said that croup is common and easily taken care of at home and only in extreme cases does the child need to go into the hospital, but I couldn’t find anything on what “extreme cases” would look like. I prayed and begged God to please help her get better so we could just both sleep. Finally, I couldn’t watch her suffer any more. Around 12:30 am I called the emergency hotline and explained what was happening. The nurse on the other end told me croup was going around and if she was having such a hard time breathing I should bring her in. So I called my husband home from work and packed up for the emergency room.

When we got there, Praise the Lord, we were taken back right away. They went to work on her so quickly I think she was almost in shock. She sat so still, so stoic, and wide-eyed as they strapped blood pressure cuffs and heart monitors and oxygen lines on her. She opened her mouth obediently when the shoved a nebulizer in her face. Finally her breathing turn from the “see-saw” to just a ragged shudder again. Then they put an IV in. Since her tiny arm and blood vessels are no match for large needles, it took them a couple of tries and I held her as she screamed out in fear and pain. I held her pink stuffed bunny as they took X-rays of her chest. I nodded and tried to wrap my head around all the medical jargon as they explained to me each step and each medicine and asked questions about her symptoms and when they started.

Finally things slowed down enough that I was able to call my husband and update him on the details of what was happening. We decided that he would come and switch out with me so he could deal with the doctors and decision making.

It was painful leaving my tiny baby lying there in that big hospital bed. I knew she was in good hands and that I was too drained to be of any use to her anymore. When I got home I needed to go feel all my other children’s chests. I needed to know they were breathing okay. I needed to know those ragged gasps I was hearing was only in my head. I stood and stared at the large bed with the heap of covers and pillows where my poor daughter was just thrashing around struggling for a basic necessity.

My story has a happy ending. My daughter recovered and came home from the hospital. My older daughter, Capri, has even been jealous of her new stuffed animals and stickers and the fire truck nebulizer Ella gets to use. She has whined several times saying she wishes she was sick, too. My oldest son, Colton, and I have a different opinion. When I asked him what he was going to write about in his school journal, he said something along the lines of, “Not everything that happened with Ella. I don’t want to remember all of this.” “You and me both, Bug,” I replied squeezing his shoulder.

Yet, here I am writing about it. Why? To share the moral of my story. The ringer is used to get rid of the excess. I had a lot of excess I had been worried about in my day to day. “When will Ella finally get the hang of potty training?” “When will we get the driveway heated?” “What will it be like when Reed changes jobs?” “When will I reach my ideal weight?” “When will we finally have our house remodel finished?” On and on and on.

Last Sunday a fellow pastor preached about living 24 hours at a time. Christ told us to let the things of tomorrow take care of themselves. I thought, “Huh, I pretty much do that already.” Nope! I do not!

When your busy routine comes to a screeching halt because you’re sitting on the floor holding a sick baby, you realize that you haven’t thanked God for your child’s good health. That you’ve been taking all the daily provisions for granted.

I can’t say that I’ll remember this lesson every day, but I can tell you when I do think about “that time when Ella had the croup” I will remember to thank God for all the little daily things He does for me.

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