Instead of a Thankful Tuesday post, I’m guest posting over at Tanya Marlow’s blog “Thorns and Gold” today. She has a beautiful series in which she’s invited other writers to think about their own suffering and their encounter with God in the midst of it. I’m excited about the piece I wrote. Sometimes you write something down and think: Oh, that’s how I wanted to say it. That’s how writing this was for me.
If you have a Thankful Tuesday post you want to link up with, by all means do it right here, today! And for the rest of you, here’s a portion of my post for Tanya.
How to take the air in
We’re at the doctor’s office (again) because this virus that hasn’t left the confines of our home for six weeks has now made its tidy home inside my twenty-month-old’s chest. Brooksie is coughing himself awake every two hours in the night. My husband and older son have the same cold, but their coughs are different, normal. And I recognize my baby’s cough. It sounds like mine.
Sure enough, when the doctor listens to his lungs she hears the wheeze.
I was never one of those asthmatic kids who got rushed to the hospital in the middle of the night. Most often, my asthma was good fodder for a joke, a nice reason to have to stop running lines in volleyball practice. My inhaler was something to carry in my hand and tinker with so I wouldn’t feel so awkward with the girls on my gymnastics team.
The worst moment came during some croup-like infection in middle school, or maybe younger, maybe 5th grade? My mom had gone to the store and left my 8th grade brother with me. I started coughing and couldn’t stop. And then I couldn’t get the air in. I was breathing through some angry, invisible straw and I was losing. My brother saw the panic in my eyes and I saw it in his. That’s when I started crying. Crying and gasping and trying to take the air in. My brother, in all his 13-year-old wisdom, took me to our parents’ bathroom, sat me on the floor, and turned the shower on hot so I could breathe the steam. Then he left me and waited for mom to come home. I remember somewhere in that moment of terror hearing him say, “You know it doesn’t help to cry. You have to stop crying.” And I did. I sat alone in the bathroom, the steam soaking my skin and snaking into my lungs. And I breathed. I sat and I breathed.
He’s wheezing but it’s not a big deal, the doctor says. It’s small, she says. And I find myself sitting on a chair with my son in my lap, holding a mask connected to a tube, steaming out the asthmatic nectar. I lift it to Brooksie’s face. The doctor says, hold it till the steam stops coming. Then she leaves. One minute in, he’s crying. Five minutes in, he’s writhing on the floor and I’m writhing with him. Wherever he throws his body, wherever his red face rails, I’m not letting that mask off. He will breath it in. I will make him breathe it in…