When you are exhausted from caring for a sick child, you try to focus on your blessings. You groggily pour the albuterol in the nebulizer at three o'clock in the morning. You hold your child until his breathing returns to normal, and you say a prayer of thanks that at least you have the medicine to help him breathe easier again. You remind yourself that somewhere in this world, there is another mom whose heart is breaking because she can't get the medicine her child needs, or maybe this time, the medicine isn't working. As your child's breathing returns to normal, you thank God again that the medicine worked. You pray for the other children out there who are struggling for breath, and you pray for their moms.
The nebulizer had been a permanent fixture on the end table in our living room for at least a year. Our eight year-old, Malcolm, had needed it almost every day. If his allergies got bad or he caught a cold, he sometimes needed it two to four times a day. In October and November of last year, he needed it every night before bed, and most nights, he still woke up wheezing sometime around 3 a.m. We tried everything: antihistamines, nutritional supplements, washing his bedding in hot water. Nothing was working.
Finally, over Christmas break, he seemed to be doing slightly better. We spent some time with family in Omaha. We ate mostly meat and potatoes kind of meals. We have a few relatives on gluten-free diets, so there were few cookies and chips around. On the way home, we ate at a bagel shop in Lincoln. Malcolm had a lemonade and a plain bagel--emphasis on plain. He devoured the bagel, and thirty minutes later, his stomach hurt. He was miserable and lethargic. By the time we made it back to McCook, he was wheezing. That bagel was our "Aha!" moment.
As of January third, we put him on a gluten-free diet, and the results have been amazing. This weekend, I finally put away the nebulizer that has been sitting on our end table for so long. It has been nine days since his last asthma attack. My prayers of thanks are a lot more joyful than those 3 a.m. prayers I used to say, because I feared we would never reach this point. For all the other moms out there with sick children, I think of you every day and pray for that breakthrough moment that gets your child on the path to healing.
Wait for the Lord;
be strong and take heart
and wait for the Lord.