Another Close Call
Do you know this sound?
When I heard it, I reacted instantly, even though it was a relatively normal toddler sound, kind of a snort, kind of a snore. My nursing education came rushing back and I thought "agonal breathing." I was taught to not use the term "death rattle." Its offensive to the family.
Seconds later I was half in the backseat, my face pressed against my daughter's, breathing for her, saying things like "not good" and "purple" in between breaths. My husband freaking out in the front seat, stopped at a traffic light, on the way home from his birthday dinner shouts "IS SHE BREATHING!?"
I breath, and wait.
She doesn't breath on her own for long, dark seconds, my hand on her chest, feeling her heart slow but steady, giving her little puffs of my own air. Why do I get so calm? Zar is panicking at another traffic light, I say "relax Zar." And I breath.
We go home. We have friends following us, peeling into the driveway behind us, seeing me holding her to my body, my feet still in the front seat.
Inside she wails. Here we have nearly unlimited oxygen, a mask, a flat surface. She cries and breaths, but she isn't there.
We don't go to the hospital--we were just there and they can't help.
Finally I say "If she's going to go, I'd rather it be here."
Have you said that about your child?
We stay home. She falls into a rhythm; two shrieks and then what appears to be a small seizure, then normal crying, slowing, calming down, then the shrieks and she stiffens again.
I am ready. I have been expecting this. I tell her to go home. We love you so much, but if it's time to go home, go home. Zar cries and holds her.
Two hours later she falls into a deep sleep. We don't know whether she will be herself when she wakes up, or if she will.
She sleeps deep all night. In the morning her dad kneels at her bed and watches her wake up. She reaches for his face, and smiles, and is herself again.
Are you tired of hearing about my child's brushes with death? Me too.