A Family Member in the Hospital
Last updated: February 2020
We avoid germs and sickness on a daily basis. Our immune systems are weak. We are weak. So what happens when a family member, in my case my grandson, goes to the hospital. We are tempting fate enough being around our loved one who is sick but going to a hospital emergency room is a whole different stratosphere.
A frightening call from my daughter
I just received a phone call from my daughter that my three month old grandson is going back to the emergency room for the second time in three days. He started out life as a preemie weighing four pounds, 2 ounces. He was a peanut. At three months old, he weighs eleven pounds but is still quite smaller than the average three month old.
Nine days ago, he woke up with a runny nose which over a few days time has turned into a horribly congested baby. He has so much mucus in his nose he can barely breathe sometimes. Three days into his illness, he saw his pediatrician. Due to his age and size, there is nothing over the counter that can be safely given to clear up his nose. He coughs every five minutes. Even in his sleep. I call my daughter several times a day just to listen to him breathing. I want to see him so badly to be able to comfort him but for my own health and safety I must stay away. This small cold could become life-threatening to us as patients.
Heartbreakingly keeping my distance
Two days later he went to the emergency room. Thankfully his lungs were clear at the time and the virus was from his neck up. A shot of steroid and a prescription for an inhaler. (Someday I want someone to explain to me why it is safer for a newborn to have steroids versus a child decongestant). For a few days we thought he was on the uphill. Until today.
His nose is constantly stuffy, draining and causing him to choke. Today they can hear wheezing from his lungs -- and they can feel the rattle. How can I possibly stay away? The stress of not being able to snuggle with him is immense. I can't even imagine if it were my spouse.
Keeping focused on the positives
But, I am almost five years into my journey with lung cancer, I know I cannot dare go to the hospital. I cannot dare go over and see him. Today I am most thankful for Facetime! In today's technology, we can choose from Facetime, Facebook Instant Messenger video or Skype. I will use whatever is necessary to make it feel like he is right next to me.
Always remember to think of yourself first! We are all thrown into a battle which we don't want to be in. Please don't make it worse by exposing yourself to viral germs, no matter who it is.
Love you baby boy -- to the moon and back.
Editor’s Note: We are extremely saddened to say that on January 28, 2020, Jennifer Toth passed away. Jennifer was a passionate advocate for the Lung Cancer community. She will be deeply missed.
Beside manner matters! What has your experience been?