My grandpa passed away in November 2010, my first semester of college. He had lung cancer and the last few months of his life, watching him struggle to breathe, often gasping for breath, enduring breathing treatments, having to be constantly connected to an oxygen tank, and too many doctor’s visits to count was completely heart-wrenching. I was his girl – he had always been my best friend, a Daddy to me, and a constant joy in my life. He meant so much to so many people who adored him and we all lovingly called him “Paw.”
It’s hard to believe it’s been almost eight years since he went to be with Jesus. I am still processing through my grief, and it’s still very raw and hurts to talk about. No matter what I said, I don’t think I could ever adequately put into words what losing someone like that is really like. Even just typing this has opened the floodgates – so never believe it when you hear people say that “time heals all wounds.” It doesn’t. Only Jesus.
This past weekend, Landon started coughing and I tried for several days to doctor him as best I could at home. I had the humidifier going, chicken noodle soup, cough medicine every four hours, was working hard to keep him well hydrated, and giving him Tylenol when his fever got up to 100. But, despite my efforts, his cough didn’t go away or even get better, so I decided to go ahead and make him a doctor’s appointment. He was barely eating and not sleeping well at all (both very uncharacteristic of him). I thought maybe he had an ear infection or maybe he’d picked up a virus or maybe he was on the verge of getting the flu (because so many friends have had it this year). The doctor checked him out and ruled out all of those worries, but when she listened to his breathing, she heard a rattle and noticed that he was wheezing. She told us that he has bronchiolitis (similar to the adult equivalent of bronchitis) and brought in a nebulizer to do a breathing treatment. It helped tremendously and so she sent us home with one, which I can already tell is working wonders for helping loosen up his cough and helping him breathe better.
Now, you may be wondering how these two stories are connected, but let me just tell you… the last time I put together a breathing treatment (little vials of liquid medicine are poured into a container attached to a facial mask, with a machine that diffuses it and when breathed in, helps the patient breathe better) was for my Paw. I was SO emotionally unprepared to see that machine and that mask on his little face. I lost it. My mother-in-law was with me at the appointment and bless her sweet heart… she was trying to calm Landon down (as you can imagine, being in an unusual environment already, having to wear a mask with a machine that’s smoking that he’d never seen before, and just not knowing what was going on scared him and he was fighting it big time) and console me at the same time, not fully understanding exactly why I was so upset. I couldn’t stop crying, and I was trying to explain to the nurse that I wasn’t really upset that Landon was having to do a breathing treatment – if anything, I was so glad I went ahead and took him in so they could treat him and help him get better – but it was just so emotional for me because of the memories and the hurt that it stirred up in my heart.
To add to the emotional fiasco, I started thinking about how blessed and just truly fortunate we are to have such a wholesome, healthy baby boy. It’s so easy to take for granted if you’ve never had a sick child, but I couldn’t help but think about the Mama’s who have to watch their babies go through so much – time in the NICU, surgeries, physical therapy, chemo treatments, mental or physical disabilities, extended hospital stays, you name it. A breathing treatment is nothing compared to those things, and I had to really force myself to think about it from a perspective of gratitude. I am so thankful for doctors and their wisdom and for medicine and I never want to take having a healthy child for granted.
I almost didn’t share any of this publicly, for a thousand different reasons. I know so many friends going through far worse trials right now, so I don’t want to share anything that may seem “petty.” I don’t want to seem like I’m being overdramatic or negative, or “putting all my issues out there for the world to see.” But you know what? We can’t just share the pretty moments. We can’t just share picture perfect little squares that make our lives seem better than they are. Everyone is fighting a battle that you usually know nothing about, and I pray that through vulnerability and transparency, we will continue to grow in community and friendship with one another. It’s always my prayer that my heart is reflected through this blog and the pieces of our life that I share here, and if it just encourages one person, I’m grateful that Jesus used my willingness to be open about where we are and what we’re going through – no matter how big or small. We are doing the breathing treatments at home now, and he is getting a little calmer and more used to it each time – which I’m so, so thankful for. If you would, please just pray for my little guy as he continues to get better.