Born @ 27 weeks
2lbs 7oz

Thursday, September 19, 2013

GO AWAY!!!!!


I want to shout with the fortitude my nearly four-year-old screams to the bugs and rain clouds.

Cold and Flu season… GO AWAY!

How are you raising your ugly head again already? Don’t you know that we have just breezed through summer, with smiles on our faces, spring in our step and an unfamiliar confidence…. 

Months without a doctor’s visit.
Roscoe (the breathing treatment machine) has been collecting dust in retirement on the back shelf. 
(PS – Good Riddance!).

Team Richter has been healthy, happy – and the most unique and rewarding, SOCIAL!

We have been to public bathrooms (ick). We have let people enter our home without asking them to wash their hands! (Previously, unimaginable). We’ve been to church – even better, our boys have been to Sunday school!! We’ve pushed so far to go to Monkee Joes, birthday parties and dare I say… the YMCA (which my boys call the ASU. Hey, what’s an acronym?).

Friends that don’t have medically fragile children, listen up.
Playdates, public places, children’s camps, Chick-fil-a…. Ladies, this is a gift. A precious luxury that not all of us have. (And if you have seen me in these places, know that my anxiety is through the roof, I can hear a sneeze from 30 yards away and my boys are hosed off before they can touch their faces or find something to put in their mouths). It is a WAR ZONE, people. And Moms like us can see the things most people don’t.

We see your little one that walked past our buggy and touched the seatbelt, that our child will soon use. We see the sippy cup your son eyeballed but didn’t grab, where we were on guard and ready to lurch. We see the snot on your daughter’s sleeve. 
And we have our own thoughts (and defensive mechinisms) when we hear you’re sneezing is ‘just allergies’.

We KNOW we’re crazy – but we’re trained with a keen eye of protection to identify every germ within harm’s reach of our children. We may smile politely and turn away, but we have secretly logged every single place you or your child has touched or breathed on – and let it be known, it will be disinfected as soon as we are out of judgment’s sight.

Typically, we aren’t huggers – and within our kind – it’s appreciated…respected.

Seriously, how many of you have hand sanitizer in all four of your car doors? We call it ‘bubbles’ in our family and it’s a right of passage in our home.

And while Fall has always beckoned me with it’s crisp mornings and rainbow foliage, I’m beginning to resent at what cost it brings.

September 19th and I’m waiting, listening, watching my son. When I put him to bed tonight, there was a slight wheeze, that faded as he slowed down. His heart was racing, because I reintroduced him to his long time non-friend, Roscoe. I reluctantly pulled the prednisone out of hibernation, with hopes to avoid the ER.

The runny nose that started yesterday, turned to sneezing this morning. 
By noon, there was a small cough.
By 5pm it was a bark. 
6pm the fever cranked. 
6:15 I heard it in his lungs. 
At 7pm, after a full dose of every medicine I’m allowed to give him, he looked at me from his crib and said, “Mommy, I don’t feel good. I need you.”

It is the first time he has been able to articulate this and my heart pounds.

You nasty, unforgiving Cold and Flu Season. You are a reckoning in our home and are not welcome!

For the first two seasons Shaw received a state approved steroid to deflect the intensity of evil dragons like RSV, Croup, Bronchitis and countless others can be deadly to children like Shaw. This year, Shaw does not qualify with his age. The expense alone for Synigis is upward of $20,000 per season.

Then there is Chemo – the surgery we had back in May, placing an old chemo drug on Shaw’s airway to resist the scar tissue from all the ventilators from returning… Will that work? At our follow up visit the final words were, “We will know the effectiveness once he is sick.”


There is bitterness in me that thinks, “Does it really ever end?” The worry, they hypersensitivity…. The exhale. When will that come? It has in so many other forms, but will it ever REALLY come? 

So, SUCK IT, Cold and Flu Season. Team Richter has seen enough of you in a lifetime and we do not want you to be debilitating any more! And as angry as I can type that, I humbly ask for grace to look over Shaw – and all the other mighty ones this season – protect them. Shield them. This is real and scary… and it is just beginning.

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