I woke in a panic; bean couldn’t breathe. Then, he gasped: racked with stridor, each breath was labored and raspy, and he missed a few in the seconds it took to orient myself, pick him up, wake A from his sleep, and make plans to dash to the ER. Upright, he began to breath a bit better. We slowed our pace, urgent but unsure; by the time we were dressed sweet bean sounded none the worse for wear and was smiling and laughing at our unprecedented late night activity. We made our way to the car, drove down the street, and A made the call to go back home and call the doctor first thing in the morning. Feeling lost, I agreed. It was 3:40 AM.
We slept on the couch, all the better to keep him upright. It is really bad when he’s on his back. At 7:00 I called and by 8:00 we were with the doctor. She said “it’s croup” and the rest of the day it all seemed a bad dream.
Until 5:00 PM. We laid down, bean and I, and not 5 minutes later he again sounded like a 40-year chain-smoker with a cough straight out of a cheesy sound reel. He’s upright now, wrapped up against my chest, and his breathing is soft. I love him so. It’s hard to be brave when it feels like the world could end in the space of a skipped breath.