The Healing Journey Project

Renewal and Transformation Through Kung Fu

Progress Journal

Greatest Fears and Greatest Contentments

Posted by Robert Bibeau on September 10, 2010 at 1:16 AM

Sunday, was a particularly traumatic day, for my son.  Which in turn caused serious pain for my wife and I.  Jaxon had woken up from a nap and I was making some lunch for Tiff and I.  Tiff tried to feed Jaxon some baby food or other and he was not at all interested.  Since he didn't seem hungry Tiff and I decided to eat our lunch in the living room while watching some TV and thought we'd let Jaxon play and crawl around a bit.

I have recently discovered that if Jaxon's toys are all picked up, he will go to them and make a mess of them by dumping his toys all over the place before he will destroy the rest of the living room.  Being as I desired a peaceful, uneventful lunch, I was cleaning up his toys so that they could invariably be scattered about within minutes.  As I did so, Tiff asked me if Jaxon seemed all right.  He was "fussy" and acting abnormally in that he appeared to be angry or frustrated and holding his breath to demonstrate his displeasure.  In-spite of this apparent temper tantrum my gut told me that something may be wrong and I told Tiff to go change so that she could be ready if we needed to take him to the ER.  In the meantime, I took Jaxon for a brief walk around the front yard, still feeling like he was just being fussy and hoping to distract him from whatever had agitated him.

When we went back inside about a minute or two later I was becoming a bit more concerned and when it became clear that Jaxon was struggling to get air and was in fact not trying to hold his breath we decided to take him down to the ER.  The decision was virtually spontaneous, its not as though one seriously deliberates the possibilities in such a situation, of course the right answer becomes apparent and you just do it.

We live less than a half mile away from the hospital and being as Jaxon had not breathed in the moments since the decision was made I decided that rather than waste precious time strapping him into his car seat I would just hold him as Tiff drove.  This proved to be a good decision because as we drove the 800 or so meters to the hospital I began to notice a bluish color begin to shade the temporal region of my sons head.  He looked afraid and confused but seemingly was cognizant of his own fear.  I had initially hoped that what ever was going on, if it was an obstructed airway he would be able to clear.  But he was not.  I turned my son over so that he lay across my left arm face down with his body titled downward and with my right hand I struck his back hard, between and slightly below the shoulder blades.  I had practiced the maneuver hundreds of times while I was a lifeguard in college but had actually used it only twice.  Attempting to clear the airway of my own son was significantly different.  I was extraordinarily glad when I heard him begin to cry after I hit his back like that and the only other time I've been actually glad to hear that cry was when he was born.

Seconds later I walked him into the ER through same entrance that ambulances will use.  I announced "I've got a baby here who's not breathing."  The staff, in the initial second in which they took in this intrusive scene almost didn't know what to make of it.  I then said, "no seriously, he's not breathing."  The staff jumped into action and began to take vitals and try to help him out.  In fairness, he was technically breathing at that point, but he was still having serious trouble.  I don't feel like they were really able to do anything for him, as the situation seemed to resolve on it's own within minutes.  Frankly, I'm just glad there were doctors and nurses there who were able to see him while he was still in such distress.  I feel like that probably improved the quality of care that my son got.

As he began breathing normally again, he was obviously physically and emotionally spent.  It's amazing how apparent the non-verbal communication cues become when you are gleaning the condition of someone who can't talk simply from their appearance.  Soon the doctors let us know that the Pediatrics clinic at the hospital was full right now and that they wanted for Jaxon to be monitored for awhile so they were going to have to transfer him to Balboa Naval Hospital.  In the end, Tiff and Jaxon got an ambulance ride and I got the long worrisome drive alone.

We ended up staying the night at Balboa and most of the next day.  When my son was finally released we had no answer for what ahd caused the "episode" as the doctors and nurses were now calling it.  We had a litany of possible explanations but nothing concrete.  We were ready to go home though and accepted the situation for what it was.

Tuesday, Tiff had to go back to work but I had the day off.  I dropped Jaxon off at daycare, ran a few errands and then met Tiff for lunch.  For weeks I had been looking forward to the prospects of a day off and to myself.  I had hoped to find my way into a bookstore to wander around for awhile before going to a movie theater and catching a matinee.  Instead, after lunch with Tiffany, I decided I missed Jaxon too much and thought I would just go pick him up.  Since he'd had such a rough weekend I assumed he'd be happy to take the afternoon off too.

We got home and enjoyed some snacks together, watched a movie while playing with lego's on the floor, and had a wrestling match, we shared some apple juice and then turned on "Drunken Master" which I had recorded on my DVR a few nights previous.  As we watched the exploits of a young Jackie Chan, we moved up to the couch and got a bit more comfortable and within minutes my infant son lay sleeping on my chest.

Amazing, that on one afternoon my greatest fear seemed as though it were about to be realized and the agonizing days that followed brought rumors of possible life long ailments and great stress and then only a few days later, all that stress simply vanished as it was replaced with the most contented feeling of knowing that in that moment, he was okay.

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