Asthma Attack Praying…
My son had an asthma attack on Saturday evening, it was scary. First because he is in Montana and I am in Ojai. It was really hard to be separated from him when he was in crisis. Two, it was hard because it was so unexpected. He hasn’t really had any asthma issues since he was a little boy. But that one experience landed him in the hospital for four days was enough to get my mind spinning. I practically yelled at the nurse “GET HIM TO THE ER NOW!” I did actually yell that…
I know how quickly he went from being ok, to so not ok. It was terrifying. Even more so because I could not be the one reacting, and because he was at least 40 minutes from a hospital. And calling an ambulance would only delay him getting help. My mind went to all sorts of horrible places…like obsessively. I began looking at flights…
I was scared. Worried. And I felt so powerless. So out of touch with him and his world. It was an awful feeling. Terrible. I do not like feeling powerless in general, but when it comes to my kids, I really hate it.
He is ok today. The nurse rushed him the ER and after a few hours, a lot of tests and a lot of drugs, he was ok. He was able to go back to school and is on the mend. It was a terrifying couple of hours, made worse by the lack of cellphone reception.
I am grateful he is ok. Grateful for the nurses’ quick response. Grateful there is even an ER within 100 miles of his school. Grateful it wasn’t worse.
I thought he had outgrown asthma. I thought he was in the clear, but as the incident on Saturday showed, he is not. And the threat of not being able to breathe, still very real and present.
I am doing all the parental stuff and making appointments at the appropriate doctors for when he gets home in two weeks. But I have to say that this whole experience rocked me.
I will admit that I went to the worst case scenario. I mean, the nurse did say to me, “I promise, I won’t let him die.” I was like what the fuck is even happening there?! I didn’t know it was that serious until she said that. The fact that it was on HER mind, made it take center stage in MY mind.
I did the only thing I could do while I waited for them to travel the deserted road to civilization, I prayed. Actually my prayers look more like conversations with God. If I am really honest, well they go like this…
“Um hey God, Logan is in trouble. I know you are super busy with the universe and all and I have no more right than anyone else to ask for your grace, but…I am asking.
You see, my son and I have been at odds for years. Like pretty much all of his years. And he is slated to come home soon, like in less in than three weeks. And for the first time in a very long time, I am excited about this fact. I want him to come home. I want to spend time with him. I want to be around him. That is how very much he has changed. I like this current version of my son, when again, if I am honest, I didn’t used to like the version of him, very much at all.
Now, as you are aware, I love him. Always have, always will. But living with him, spending time with him was a special version of unpleasant…you know, you remember.
So while I never want anything bad to happen to him, I guess I am asking even more now because I really want to experience this current version of my son. I really would like to get to know this version of him, and I can’t do that if he dies on the side of the road in Nowheresville, Montana.
So, if you possibly could, please let him be ok. Please let him live. Please.
If it is your will that he not, I suppose I will find some way to live with that reality. But I really don’t want to. Please. I feel like we just got his new lease on life, please do not take him from me now. I feel like he whole of his life he was gone, and now just arriving. Please.
I know I have no right to ask. I know that there are people likely more deserving. I feel guilty even in the request, but he is my son and I love him. I miss him and I do not think I can handle losing him now. Like this will break me in ways that I am not sure I can recover from. I say this even while I know that surviving that kind of loss, while excruciating, is possible. People, people just like me, do it every single day. I am asking, begging really, to not be one of them today. Please.
I know I should be praying for the grace to accept whatever happens, but I am not, I am praying for my will, that he not die, be granted. And I know I have so asked that my will be granted so many fucking times over shit that was not critical. Not really all that important. But this one is. Please.
I know that my friend who lost her son last year deserved what I am asking for. And it truly makes me feel like the shittiest person to ask when she is still grieving. I do not have the right, but I am asking any way because I am his mother and this is what we do. We ask no matter what. We ask because they are our children and there is no way not to ask. I know she gets this. I know she would join me in asking too. Because she knows, that which the rest of desperately try to avoid knowing. She knows, so she would never wish that someone else have to know what she has had to come to know.
So I ask you for this. Please do not let him die. Please. And please help my friend continue to find strength and comfort as she grieves. If there is anything I can do for her, or someone else, please show me, I am willing to do it. I am. Regardless if you grant my prayer. Regardless of whether this works out the way I want.
Thank you for your time.
Erin. (the one with the very long winded prayers…you remember)”
And as God always does, there was no immediate reply.
But as I waited to hear the news of whether or not my son would make it through the experience, whether the blueness of his hands would turn pink again, I rested in the only place I know to rest…doing tonglen for all the mothers out there who are praying for similar things. For acknowledging that I am not alone in this fear, this plight, this request. That this is the plight of all mothers and fathers everywhere. To want our child to live, while we remain almost completely powerless to make that happen. Life comes at us at full tilt sometimes, but it is slowed to a point where the moments feel like hours and the crushing weight of your own thoughts and fears feels endless. All I can or could do was to accept that this was how this moment was supposed to feel, feel it as fully as I could and remember that there are millions of other mothers wishing the same thing, praying the same prayers.
And so then I prayed for them too. That their prayers be granted. And for those whose prayers are not, that they find comfort and peace. That if there is anything that I can or could do to help them, that I be granted an opportunity to do so.
Then I waited. Then I called several times. Straight to voicemail. Fucking remote Montana! So I waited and prayed for the grace to accept whatever happened next.
The phone rang, the doctor talked, took a history and understood the situation. All the people, all the wonderful medical people that showed up for work, that have showed up despite being tired and so done with helping people, they jumped into action and gave my son what he needed. They stopped the perilous spiral and got him back on the road to breathing life. Thank you.
And, as always, this experience is now an ingrained moment of opportunity for me. A wake up call for us for sure, he has not outgrown asthma. And we need to take a closer look at that. I am grateful for the outcome, but I am also grateful for the process. I didn’t know how much I wanted him home until I was forced to think about him not coming home, ever. And it made me see, and feel, how very much I love my son. How everything I have done over the past few years, has been to save him. Last Saturday from an acute asthma attack, and more distantly from himself.
I learned a lot last Saturday about where I am in this life. That it is all precarious and fine until it isn’t. I was suspended in time as I waited for the call that told me he was going to live and be ok, or he was not. I didn’t hold my breath. Instead, I breathed out all that I could so that I could participate however remotely in sending him love, breath of life, and compassion. I wanted to jump on a plane or get in my car to get to him to hold him and see his beautiful face. My Saturday lot was to get to talk to him when he was too ill to talk to me a few hours before. And I have never heard his voice sound so good. Never, ever heard anything that has come from his mouth be so fucking good. He could have been reciting the alphabet, it didn’t matter, he was able to talk, he was able to breathe and I was able to listen.
So as he prepares to return home and we prepare to receive him, I hope that I remember this moment. That in the hard times that are to come, that I remember this day where it all hung in the balance for awhile. Where I didn’t know whether I was going to get to see him again or not. I hope I can hold onto that image, when he pisses me off, challenges me and acts like an almost 17 year old boy should. Please God, let me remember the feelings that I felt on Saturday. And let me act accordingly. Let me go for the love, every single fucking time. Please.