There is a look that goes with it. Eyes wide and muscles tight. Desperation personified. The plea for help in a little upturned face.
It was three a.m. when he appeared beside the bed. He brought with him the familiar sound. Before either of us had fully woken we sprung to action–Jeff taking him outside because the change of temperature supposedly helps. I, meanwhile, mixed a saline solution and fumbled frustratingly with the nebulizer, having forgotten which tube goes where.
Wrapped in a blanket he tried to stay calm–an expert at this croup thing. Shallow breaths in and out, the saline a fine mist at his mouth. It was bad this time–the stridor refusing to subside despite the treatments we know to work. Despite all the right things.
I waited until I couldn’t and then I called. An old pro, I stayed calm. My son is having difficulty breathing, I said. And then the address and the phone number and do you need treatment instructions?
Three-thirty a.m., they came in with their heavy boots–with their equipment and paperwork. One quick look and off we went, the back of the ambulance too familiar to me now after all these times.
He’ll grow out of it soon they assure.
Not soon enough.