Why does the devil want to play in the middle of the night, when we are too tired to think, when anxieties are fueled by the loneliness of the hour, when one of our worst fears is imagined and appears to be unfolding before us- our child struggling to breathe?
My now 3 year old son, Lu, has had reoccurring croup since he was about 6 months old. Until last year, he got it several times every Fall/Winter and it has always been very dramatic. The first time he was about 6 months old and we rushed to the 24/7 pharmacy to pick up Prednisolone. It started working on the way to the hospital and he was breathing easier, but I was definitely traumatized.
As Lu gets older, his croup symptoms seem to be getting less severe (save for tonight, when he had a fever as well). His airway is growing along with him and the swelling doesn’t usually affect his breathing as much as it did before, but this has certainly been a sleepless night. When he was a baby there were plenty of sleepless nights where I just listened to him breathing. Even if I fell asleep I would wake up every few minutes to watch his chest rise up and down.
Usually croup is treatable at home, with steamy bathrooms and cold air. With the more severe cases of stridor (difficulty breathing at rest) we’ve experienced, Prednisolone has been the only effective treatment to open his airways. I’m usually all about waiting and seeing if something clears up or using natural methods to remedy an illness, but I am thankful for this steroid. It has brought him fast relief in the past.
But, the Devil is not in the business of easy solutions! We are currently staying at my in-laws rented beach house and Lu woke up with the croup cough at 11am. I could not get him to take the very bitter Prednisolone; he’s much bigger now! I only had one dose left and I wasted half trying to mix it with chocolate syrup, chasing it with peanut butter, taking it slow, bribing and waiting. I could hear his raspy breathing, sitting there watching a video. I tried just holding him and shooting the meds towards his back teeth, but missed and squirted the back of his throat. Can you guess how that ended?
So, I’ve been cleaning up chocolate peanut butter vomit off the guest comforter after getting my 9 month old back to sleep, who woke up to the commotion. My poor, sick little dude is calmly watching shows because he gets to do whatever he wants now, crying makes the stridor and coughing worse. I’m pretty sure my in-law’s and possibly everyone within a mile radius thinks I was torturing my baby from the amount of screaming and yelling, “get that away from my mouth!” It’s 5am, I haven’t slept a wink, and I need to call our pediatrician in the morning to see if there is an alternative to prednisolone because we have at least one more night of this. I will probably have to go to an urgent care, but health insurance is pending through CHIP…
In conclusion, croup is watching your children suffer. It is sleep deprivation and moms rambling on. It is the only thing I fear late at night because it is sneaky. Croup is the devil!