Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Prelude To A Storm

(Giovanni at Golden Garden Park, Seattle, WA)



The story of January 31, 2009 like many stories is not an isolated event on an isolated day.  Giovanni's Story really begins back in December, and December is significant because of what happened in all the months previous to it.

At the end of January 2008, Giovanni, just five weeks before his first birthday, had to have an overnight in the hospital due to bronchiolitis.  The doctors told us that given his bronchiolitis (the name they give when a child has unidentifiable RSV-like symptoms) and that the respiratory problems seemed to have been triggered by the ultra-high tree pollen and that our family suffered constant allergies, we really ought to move.  So Antonio applied to jobs in Seattle where my brother lives and where allergies aren't nearly as bad. 

In May we attended two funerals, one for my great aunt and another for Antonio's great uncle, both well-loved members of our families.  We were grateful then that we hadn't moved yet because we were able to easily attend the funerals and be there for family.

All during the summer, signs did not look good for Antonio's group at work.  Then a certain Austin-based company's recruiter called him.  He had seen Antonio's patents and article online, their company could use someone like him, and the clincher--the job involved Microsoft and an opportunity to move to Seattle.  In September, Antonio went to the new company with a not-to-be-refused offer.

Then just when one might think things should be on an upward trend, I was told I had to have surgery, right away in mid-October to repair three hernias! Because I had three, my recovery time would be longer and I would have to be careful not to lift anything over fifty pounds for the rest of my life.

Then my Mom died suddenly on November 9, just after midnight.

So you can see the urgency we felt to make December bright and happy!  We donned Santa hats while we did our errands, we baked cookies, and we sang songs everywhere we went.  Then a week before Christmas the kids became ill.  One by one they succumbed to croup.  Even Antonio became ill to the chagrin of his new employers who were already peeved that he had taken time off for my surgery and my mother's funeral.  They didn't like his honesty with customers, and they didn't like his family values.


Christmas Day all the kids were sick, especially Giovanni.  Antonio would eventually catch flack from work for not answering his cell phone Christmas morning.

The day after Christmas I took Giovanni to the doctor.  The pediatrician said it was just the croup virus hanging on, no worries, keep doing what you're doing, including giving him breathing treatments.  I took Giovanni back on Monday, the 29th, and a different doctor (same office) saw him and discovered a double ear infection.  By December 31st our little guy had definite improvement, and the antibiotic appeared to be doing its job.  I stopped worrying about him (though of course, I continued that antibiotic!) because our oldest, Sofia, now had a fever again and was complaining about her ear hurting.

That night Sofia's ear began to drain, just a few hours after the onset of the pain, so I took her to urgent care on the morning of January 1st.  She also had a double ear infection.  We got home after lunch, with antibiotics and ear drops.  By dinner Giovanni no longer seemed to be on the mend.  He had a fever just before going to bed.  I gave him Motrin.  Around 1 am, he was coughing.  I tried a breathing treatment, but he still didn't sound right.  I gave him Robitussin and water and lied down next him in his bed.  His breathing seemed strange, but he was still breathing, no heaving, no wheezing.  So I held my 22 month old son and prayed.

He coughed a bit, clearing out some phlegm, and then he drifted off into a comfortable sleep.  I slept fitfully, waiting for eight o'clock, the earliest the receptionists answered the phones.

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