Thursday, December 30, 2010

Ghost of Christmas Past

Christmas vacation is the time to clean out closets and yesterday I put this machine this on the trash pile. It's a sure sign that I don't have kids in the home any more.

In the olden days this gizmo was in the car every time we traveled than 10 miles from home. I would sooner have left on a trip without my left foot than without the nebulizer. Boy#2 had persnickety lungs and if he picked up a cold he tended to forget how to breathe. After a couple of hospitalizations, wonderful Dr. H prescribed a breathing machine to save us trips to the emergency room.

Dr. H also made me a promise: "He'll outgrow this," he told me as I chased Two around the examining room. (Albuterol is a wonderful bronchial relaxer, but its side effects can turn a charming two-year-old into a crazed monkey.) I winced and told Dr. H that I would be holding him to that promise.

For the next ten years or so, up until Two's adolescent years, we broke out the breathing machine a dozen times every year. It's been plugged in outside convenience stores in the middle of nowhere and once, when I didn't think he would survive the hour-long trip, at the fire station halfway between home and the doctor's office.

The asthma seemed to be especially bad around Christmas--the first series of winter colds were making the rounds then, and the trip over the river and through several states to grandmother's house in Texas always seemed to be accompanied by the nebulizer pump's racket.

As I put the machine on the get-rid-of pile, I realized that Dr. H's promise had come true. Two has breathed easily for a decade.

Some parts of their childhoods I don't miss at all.

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