Friday, December 28, 2007

Signing in his Sleep

Tuck is in the throes of a persistent cough that has been around for over two months now, and he has been on a nebulizer twice a day for two weeks. He'll continue this routine for two more weeks, and then we'll see what the doctor says as to whether his lungs have been nurtured enough. Bronchial issues run in my family, and I am all too familiar with the drill, having grown up next to a boy who always had his inhaler at the ready.

Last week, Tucker's cough progressed into croup. Croup is no fun, and it's nothing to mess around with. (And it's horrendously, alarmingly loud; in case you've never heard it, imagine your child barking like a seal in the middle of the night.) We spent Christmas Eve in the doctor's office, getting a presciption to bring down the swelling in his bronchial tubes so he could breathe more easily. My poor little guy.

His first dose of medication was to be administered AS SOON AS we got the drugs in our hands (a steroid, mind you), and then every twelve hours for two days. Unfortunately, his first dose was at 1:00 in the afternoon, which meant that half of his doses would take place at 1:00 in the morning.

My body does not often see 1:00 AM, and that is by choice and necessity. Nonetheless, I am a mommy of my word, so I set my alarm to get up and give my little man his teaspoon of predizone. (Did I mention he had to take it with food? So not only did he get the pleasure of my company in the middle of the night, but he also got a little midnight snack of animal crackers and juice.)

All of that to say, I was preparing his dosage that very first night, when I heard his little voice from his room, "Beep. Beep."

I thought perhaps he was awake, which would have been highly ironic and very convenient for our little medicine date. I tiptoed into his room to find him not awake at all, but quite sound asleep.

Here's the darling part: he was signing away. His little hands were moving in his sweet little signing gestures, and he was talking all about something. I really didn't want to wake him, since it was just so precious to watch him instead. But I did, ever so gently, and he snuggled on my lap, eating his crackers, drinking his juice, and finally downing the steroid in syrup form. I suspect he thinks he dreamt the whole thing.

We are done with that round of medicines for now, and I am hopeful we won't have to start that routine again anytime in the near future... I am hopeful that he will recover from this episode, have healthy lungs, and be free of the need for me to wake him in the middle of the night.

But if he hadn't needed those medicines, I would have missed out on that moment, standing over his bed, watching him use sign language in his sleep. It was a precious moment. Truly.

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