I realize that I am out of bed when my hand is already on her door knob – even though I don’t know what I heard, I know something is wrong. When I open the door, Isabelle is sitting on the bed, gasping for breath. Her eyes are wide and she is reaching for me.
My head knows what this is: the croup – a common childhood virus of sudden onset (she was fine when she went to bed) characterized by a seal-like barking cough. It is not serious usually, as it is easily treated with steam/cool air and rest.
But my heart breaks… I gather her up in my arms and rock her while the shower runs. When the steam doesn’t help in a few minutes, I find myself in my pyjamas, sitting on our wet front porch with her wrapped in a blanket in my arms.
She calms, but is still having difficulty breathing, so I send her to the ER with her dad (and mine for good measure…). The men are ill-prepared – several times the intake staff suggests that perhaps it would be best to call her mother.
The triage nurse barely needs to look at her – “it’s the croup”. This strengthens my husband’s unwavering, if entirely unfounded belief, that I know everything about children. He is proud of me and I am thankful for his faith. And we are all grateful when a chipper Isabelle returns with a tired Daddy and a deep sleep fall over us all.
p.s. Yay to the great staff at Sick Kids - we are so fortunate to have them.