At 4am on Monday, May 19, I faced every single parent’s worst fear.
A medical emergency.
My five-year-old son, Josh, awoke with a barking cough.
“Mama, I can’t breathe,” he whispered.
We had dealt with croup before and I knew what to do. I’d just never managed this crisis alone. I wrapped Josh in a blanket and carried him down the stairs. I opened the door for some fresh cold air. That night, the air was hot and humid so I carried Josh back up the stairs.
“Josh, do you want to go to the hospital?” I asked. It was the only remaining option I knew.
My mind began to race. Should I call their father? My parents? 911? My other son, Ari, was sleeping soundly in his bed. I realized I had no choice but to take them to the hospital myself. I put on my bra, woke my sleeping son and carried my boys to the car. I made it to North York General Hospital in five minutes flat and pulled up to the Emergency Department.
“My son has croup. He can’t breathe,” I told the triage nurse.
“Have a seat,” she said.
“If Daddy was at home I wouldn’t have had to come,” Ari informed me. “Now I’m going to have nightmares.” It felt like a dagger in my heart.
“Close your eyes, Ari, and try to get some sleep,” I told him, cradling Josh in my arms.
“I can’t,” he said. “I’m bored.”
It did feel like a boring wait, but with every minute that passed, I realized that I was doing it. I acted quickly and got my kid to the hospital when he needed me to. I didn’t cry. I didn’t panic. I just managed.
Within one hour and 15 minutes, Josh received the oral dose of steroids he needed to breathe, and we were on our way back home again. It felt like a big milestone for me. And now, I can breathe easier, too.