The croup sunk its evil teeth into Maxine’s lungs on Wednesday. By Thursday morning, things were bad. Even after paging Maxine’s pediatrician first thing for a script, things were feeling dire by late morning leading to a panicky call back to the pediatrician.
“Should I call 911?”
I will never forgive myself for asking that question of the pediatrician instead of calling.
“I don’t think that is necessary. Take her to Fannie Allen.”
Following this advice instead of my instincts–one of my biggest failures as a mother.
By the time we got to Fannie Allen Urgent Care, Maxine had a look about her that meant we were ushered past the waiting room full of patients into a room. Human resources, spread thin during cold and flu season, followed us to Maxine’s room. Not a good sign to have multiple nurses, a doctor, a physician’s assistant, and a medical technician all crowding around Maxine with furrowed eyebrows–the telltale sign of concern.
Some chilling moments when Maxine’s pulse oxygen dropped into the seventies. Steroid shots were administered and a mask blowing some sort of mist in Maxine’s face. A too bright voice told me that an ambulance had been called to transport Maxine to Fletcher Allen.
By the time the ambulance arrived, Maxine’s coloring was a shade of blue gray that caused my heart to rise up into my throat and those butterflies to fill my stomach with furious beating wings. And Maxine, who had been working so hard to breath, seemed to be working less and less. This was not comforting when coupled with her coloring and the looks that were being exchanged by the medical professionals while Maxine was strapped to the gurney and wheeled out to the ambulance.
I was directed to sit in the front of the ambulance. No way. I took my seat in the back of the ambulance by Maxine’s gurney. Maxine looked lifeless. The screaming I was doing in my head seemed to play out in the desperate sirens and blaring horn of the ambulance. And I sat at Maxine’s bedside helpless.
I didn’t pray because I don’t pray. I begged the universe to let my baby be okay. I kept my selfish desire to scream and cry at bay and I forced my voice to be calm and soothing. The EMT said that Maxine’s pulse oxygen was at 44.
We pulled into the ER and were taken to a room which immediately filled with people. I tried so hard to push the flashbacks to Evelyn out of my mind and concentrate on Maxine. But I couldn’t. I was reliving my worst nightmare with Maxine.
Wonderfully. Beautifully. Thankfully. They were able to administer the medicine that Fannie Allen didn’t have via some sort of mist mask. I could see it fill Maxine’s nose and mouth with the life I was begging the universe to give her back.
I was finally able to lift my baby to my chest and hold her to me. To administer the comfort and love that are as important as the lifesaving drugs. To cover her face in kisses and whisper the secrets of my love into her little ears. To make promises for her tomorrows and thanks for her today. To beg her to never go back to that terrible place again but to promise that I will go with her everywhere. To apologize for failing her.