Monday, October 03, 2011

Happy New Year? Not Yet.—by Jamie Levine

On Thursday, in observance of Rosh Hashanah, I took Jayda to the children’s services at the temple at which she attends Sunday School. It was a pleasant experience—and we met up with a few people we knew, ate apples and honey to symbolize our hopes for a sweet new year, and left with smiles on our faces. However, when we got into our car to leave, it wouldn’t start: I’d left my lights on and the battery was dead. Fortunately, my father picked up Jayda while I waited with my car for AAA…which took two hours. The jump-start took two minutes, but I barely made it home in time for our family dinner.

However, I took a deep breath when I entered the house, and vowed to enjoy my meal—and my evening. And I did…until it came time to put Jayda to bed. She was over-tired and overly-excited, and she took 45 minutes to fall asleep (with me lying next to her, impatiently waiting for her to nod off). Then, I stayed up for several hours working on a project I had for graduate school, and had barely put my head on my pillow when Jayda woke me up at 11:30, coughing and crying. When I asked her what was wrong, she hysterically told me that something was in her throat. She sputtered and coughed and wailed and shook, and kept grabbing on to her throat. Then, she told me she was cold and started shaking. I didn’t know what to do—so I wrapped her in a blanket and took her to the ER. Thankfully, my dad drove us, so I was able to sit in the back seat with Jayda, and by the time we got to the hospital, she’d calmed down significantly, but was still complaining about her throat, and now, her stomach.

We spent about three hours at the hospital—from midnight until 3 a.m.—and the end result was a diagnosis of croup, a respiratory condition that is usually triggered by an acute viral infection of the upper airway. The “something” in Jayda’s throat wasn’t a foreign object, as I’d feared, but instead, inflammation and mucous. Jayda was a wonderful patient—tolerating lots of prodding, an inhaler to help her breathe, Tylenol to bring down her fever, and even chest and abdominal x-rays to rule out other problems. But it was still a scary experience for both of us. And exhausting. Especially because Jayda refused to go to sleep when we got home around 3:30 a.m. (she thought we'd made it through the entire night and was all hyped up, insisting it was "wake up time"), and then only slept for about four hours when I forced her to close her eyes.

Friday was a blur; I was sleep-deprived and stressed: I had to meet a classmate in the morning to work on a project, and had to study for an advanced anatomy midterm. Jayda was on steroids (literally) and was bouncing off the walls, so we played all afternoon and even ran around the playground. School-wise, I didn’t accomplish much. And both of us crashed and burned early in the evening.

Ultimately, we made it through the rest of the weekend, and I made it through my midterm on Sunday, ill-prepared. But as for the new year, I’m still waiting for it to turn sweet. I can only hope our rough start means that the rest of the year will be easy for both of us....


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