Family Magazine


By Sherwoods
We have all been trading colds for the past month.  Many friends traveled over Christmas break and everyone brought back sicknesses, including a nasty cold that has made its way through the school and embassy.  I've been watching as each of the children have fallen prey to it, with Brandon even spending a night with William who would wake himself up coughing and then start screaming and crying. 
So it was no surprise when Elizabeth woke up Wednesday morning with a stuffy nose and a cough.  When everyone in your house gets sick, it's an inevitability that you will also get sick.  By Thursday morning, however, the cough had turned into wheezing.
I've had a lot of children with colds and don't have a tendency to not panic about minor sicknesses.  Part of it is laziness and part is an unreasonable dislike of being told to go home because I'm overreacting.  But as I listened to Elizabeth's breathing and counted her breathing rate (thank you, internet sites for helpful information), I realized that this was not just a normal baby cold. 
I called the health unit, told them that Elizabeth was having trouble breathing, and then told them to expect me shortly.  The nurse and PA also counted Elizabeth's breathing, listened to her lungs, watched her labor to breathe, and checked her oxygen saturation levels.  After a few breathing treatments with albuterol and no measurable improvement, it was time to move on to the next step.
Under normal circumstances, a case of RSV would have been sent to London with its pediatric ICUs, but these days most countries aren't that interested in people with respiratory distress coming in for medical treatment.  So instead we were left with the options available in Tashkent.
Thankfully there is at least one private hospital in town, and soon Elizabeth, the PA, the nurse, a canister of oxygen, and me were on our way across town to a place with ventilators and crash carts. 
As we drove in a terse silence, I remembered a day from my childhood.  My yearly well-child visit was later in the afternoon, and I knew that I would get the inevitable blood draw finger stick, one of the worst possible things in my five year-old existence.  Trying to prepare myself for the ordeal, I spent all afternoon pinching my finger, imaging the pain and bracing myself for it.  But when the actual stick came, no pinching could match the pain that lanced through my small being.
I've thought about the theoretical loss of my children many times - as any mother does - but that drive reminded me again that nobody is ever prepared for the reality of loss, no matter how many times we have pinched our fingers to try and steel ourselves for the pain. 
Thankfully this was not the time, as Elizabeth is now home safely, sleeping peacefully in her own crib after spending forty-eight hours in the hospital.  The ventilator in her room stayed quietly in the corner, off and silent.  The crash cart was equally untouched.  Instead we we had a very uneventful time, punctuated with nebulizer treatments and visits from the bemused Indian nurses who couldn't figure out why we were in the hospital with such a healthy, happy baby. 
I have always known that God answers prayers.  Too many of my own have been answered very clearly for me to ever doubt that absolute reality.  As we rushed to the hospital, I prayed my own fervent prayers, begging Him to let me keep my baby girl.  Brandon spread the word to his friends and family who also joined with their own prayers for her health.
It would have been easy to dismiss Elizabeth's rapid recovery as a happy circumstance, that she wasn't really that sick in the first place.  Babies recover from sicknesses all the time, and this was just another time like any other.
But I know that this wasn't the case.  I have no doubt that a miracle occurred and Elizabeth was granted healing as result of the many prayers offered up in her behalf.  And I am grateful. 

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