Friday, February 8, 2008

A Dose of Perspective

Perspective is something that you’d think mothers would have a lot of. After all, we have the most important job in the world – raising the next generation. But somehow, in all of the minutia and emotion, perspective is the only thing I seem to loose more than my keys.

This week, Jennifer Bunich passed away unexpectedly. I’d only recently met Jen. She was one of the two smart moms behind the blog Charlotte Smarty Pants. Jen was a lot like me, a lot like all of us. She was a young, working mom with a young daughter and adoring husband. She had a job that she loved and a new passion in the blog that she started. I was instantly taken with the blog and we crafted a partnership that would bring them into Charlotte Baby & Child through columns and newsletter articles. Just a week or so ago, we were working on her ad and head shots. And now, she’s gone.

I find myself what wondering what would be happening right now if that were me and not her. Would I have felt like I really lived my last few weeks? Would I have enjoyed the last few stories I read to my kids. Would I have relished the tuck-in back rubs?

I fear that the answer is no. Between juggling the kids, the magazine fast approaching deadline, a husband out of the country, one bout of stomach virus, a recent diagnosis of asthma and an eighteen month old that’s discovered a fascination with poop-finger-painting, this was one week of my life that I wouldn’t have cared to repeat -- unless you told me it would have been my last. Then, I would have savored every last time I held my daughter while she vomited. I would have relished each moment of holding the nebulizer mask over my sleeping son’s face at 2am. I would have appreciated every kind word from and advertiser and looked at every challenge as an opportunity to grow.

I know that Jen leaves a lot of people behind in the world that loved her and will miss her dearly. And she leaves behind her readers who will miss her witty and to-the-point writing style. I will mourn that I only got to glimpse the tip of the iceberg of this dynamic woman. And I’ll be forever grateful to her for giving me this incredibly powerful does of perspective. One that I really, desperately needed.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Mr. B can't breathe and I'm the one who's mad!

Last night at 6:40 pm we had a sick visit with our pediatrician. Baby B had been up since 3:45am and wasn't even able to nap. He coughed constantly in his sleep and I was beginning to hear some wheezing again. By early afternoon he alternated between screaming and flailing in my arms and collapsing on my chest lethargically. Rarely the alarmist, I decided it was time to call the doctor.

My kiddos are normally in bed at seven pm, so I dressed them in their jammies and robes and we headed out. I don't know if any of you guys have tried to get a pulseox reading on a seventeen month old before, but it was not pretty. The nurse and doctor were both good natured about it, but I was really at my wits end. By the time we decided to give him a course of nebulizer breathing treatments (his third in his short life and the second this month), I was nearly in tears. On the drive home, I tried to figure out why.

I don't know what it was about hearing the diagnosis of asthma. He has eczema, has had three of these episodes, and has a family history on my husband's side. You'd think I would have expected it. But I didn't. I know that its still very possible that he outgrows it, but the idea that my precious little boy has any sort of chronic condition makes me sad and angry. I know that asthma is very manageable, and I'm lucky compared to millions of other parents. Top my anger off with a good measure of guilt, because I know that there are parents out there coping with feeding tubes, transfusions and worse. I know that I'm incredibly lucky to have children as healthy as they are. But I am still so upset.

Part of me is angry because he's been so uncomfortable his short little time on earth. He was plagued by reflux as an infant and spent the first nine months of his life on Prevacid - which finally got him comfortable enough to stop screaming. And now this. I don't even know if I really know what his little personality is like. He's so upset all the time, and largely because something always wrong.

If I'm mad, I can only imagine how mad he has been. I have seen that frustrated, angry look on his face so many times. Now I wonder if he's been trying to tell me that he can't breathe or that his chest hurts. The thought of how that must feel for him makes me cry. I hope we're able to get him well enough that I can get to know my little boy and he can get to know me.

We started nebulizer treatments of Xopenex last night. He gets those every four to six hours. And then he gets Pulmicort once every twenty four hours. We have a dinosaur mask for his nebulizer that's supposed to look friendly, but he just hates it. He screams in my arms for nearly the whole treatment. I try to hold him still and Mel holds the mask, but he leaves for Asia tomorrow and I'm on my own trying to get him to take the treatment. I may have to snag a neighbor, but it will have to be a pretty good friend to drop by every four hours. We'll see. Everyone tells me that they get used to it and will tolerate it once they understand that its working. But so far, not my little guy.