He had been coughing for well over a week and running a fever too. It grew worse every time he hit the tiniest bit of cold air, and every time he ran. He woke up long before the sun every morning with a coughing fit, and he even coughed so violently once at the playground that he threw up on the concrete, JUST missing my shoe.
It was time.
“I’d like to make an appointment to see the doctor today please.”
What happened next was the shortest appointment I might have ever experienced. Like the kind where you’re not even sure what just happened. The kind when you’re still asking a question as the doctor walks out of the room.
He said phrases like, suspicious sounding lungs, chest x-ray, and antibiotics now.
The situation felt a little bleak… but only momentarily.
For the next few hours one thing kept rolling into the next thing, but the whole time I just felt the greatest sense of ease surrounding us. A sense of ease I’m going to straight up refer to as, the grace of God.
It started as soon as we left the doctor’s office. A lady in the waiting room stopped us to say, “What a beautiful family you have, your boys are so well behaved!”
We usually get the rude comments, but not today.
We thanked the sweet lady and walked into the adjoining pharmacy where they very thoughtfully changed our prescription to liquid after asking, “You know he prescribed pills? Is that what you want?”
When I covertly asked if they could recommend a kid friendly doctor from the adjoining clinic so ‘next time’ would be a better experience, the pharmacist nodded his head knowingly, ripped a paper in half and started writing.
We made it home and my boys breathed a sigh of relief as I made the next phone call.
“Hi, can my son still come for an x-ray today?” I asked the next clinic.
She said, “Yes, if you can get here in 15 minutes!”
I stared at my sons who had just removed all of their shoes and changed into their home shorts. No big deal… 5 years to get them dressed again, 15 minutes to walk there… It was a bit of mathematical nightmare…
Until, “Guys! Shoes and coats back on, we’ve got to go RIGHT NOW!” my oldest son unexpectedly commanded.
The boys redressed in record time.
In the meantime my phone battery had hit 4%. My phone containing downloaded movies starring Lighting McQueen, the favourite red race car of toddlers everywhere. The ideal toddler sedation method for the quiet waiting room debacle that was about to go down.
But guess what? On the walk to the radiologist, my youngest peacefully fell asleep in the stroller. Grace.
“Hi, I just talked to you on the phone about my son needing an x-ray.” I said to the receptionist.
“You did?” She answered, looking confused.
And then it unfolded that I had walked to the wrong clinic. The one I had actually called was all the way across town…
“I’m sorry.” She said, “We’re closing, I can’t take any more patients today…”
Back into the hall we went. “It’s ok guys, we’ll come back in the morning, it’s not a big deal, exercise is good they say…”
But, grace kept following us.
The technician stuck her head out the door. “Hold on there! I’ll squeeze you guys in if you don’t mind waiting.”
We happily waited. And as we waited we watched my other ‘awake’ toddler as he slithered around on the floor like Cyrus the Sea-serpent, but his voice never advanced beyond that of a whisper. Unusual grace.
After the completion of the x-ray, that same sea-serpent toddler then proceeded to give up his stroller spot to his sick brother and he walked the entire way home without issuing a single complaint about leg length or exhaustion. The unusual grace was becoming usual?
Home again. My phone with the now 3% battery rang as I was plugging it into the charger.
“Hi, we just looked at the x-ray; are you able to come back?”
I laced up my running shoes and left the kids with their father who had just come home from work. I didn’t have to pack them all up and drag them all back to where we had just come from. GRACE.
And then I started running.
And as I ran I realized that my foot that has been giving me grief all month, the foot that hurts when I put any shoe on it, the one that can’t walk more than a few blocks without throbbing for the rest of the day, yeah that one… it was just fine as I ran. In fact, it felt so much like the old familiar foot I had grown up with that I wanted to holler, “Hello old friend!” Grace.
That dear x-ray technician was waiting for me in his ‘now closed for the day’ office. He handed me a cd of my son’s chest x-ray in case we needed to take him into the emergency room over night. “This will help you bypass that long wait of sending him off to radiology, we really think it might be pneumonia.”
He then proceeded to answer and discuss with me every question I could think of. He even said things like, “Well, if he were my kid…”
I made it back home in time to pull a cooked pizza out of the oven, and to find my boys happily playing video games with their dad.
And my sweet boy… He ate some food, coughed some more, and then wandered off to go fall asleep on the couch. It had been a bit of a day for him. A bit of a turbulent day with lots of travelling here and there, some gross medicine, a lot of ‘waiting to see,’ and yet with all of that, a whole boatload of grace had paved the path for him, and for his mama too.
Photo by: Katie Mills Photography