Shabbat Sholom! Just returned from services. I haven't been to services for a while now, mainly because I lead the preschool services most Fridays, but also because I don't really like listening to the current rabbi (which is a story unto itself). But over the summer we have various congregants take turns leading the services. Tonight I saw that a good friend of mine was going to be the para-cantor and another friend was going to be the para-rabbi and it just seemed like the perfect service to attend. And it was.
One of the prayers that we sing is a song for healing called Mi Shabeirach. Whenever we sing it, I'm taken back to a scary time in our lives, when J was hospitalized with RSV pneumonia. I had brought her to the ER because she had been having trouble breathing. Since B had suffered with RSV and later with Reactive Airway Disease, DH and I had become "experts" on dealing with children with respiratory issues. After giving J all of the treatments we could at home and trying all of the tricks we could think of, the sight of her ribs with every breath and the sound of her wheezing told us how much she was struggling, and away we went.
At the hospital they poked and prodded, gave her an oral steroid and another neb treatment, and since her O2 stats were good, they were getting ready to discharge her. DH had left to get the car and J had finally fallen asleep on my chest. As her sleep deepened, her O2 began decreasing: 95...92...89...87. From our vast experience, I knew that they like the O2 be 95 or above, and when it starts dipping below 95 is when they generally decide to keep us for an longer visit. I waited for the alarms to go off and then realized that they had turned the alarms off already since we were getting ready to go. I was on my own with the exhausted sleeping child on my chest, no ER staff in sight, and the call button out of reach. Looking back I can't even remember how I got them to come in and begin giving her Oxygen to bring her stats up again, but I still remember my panic of the moment.
Clearly J's condition was not stable and we were sent upstairs to a room. And so began a very frustrating hospital stay. When awake, J was fine, dancing in her metal crib and playing peek-a-boo to the staff that walked by her door. But every time she fell asleep, her O2 stats dropped to an unsafe level and Oxygen would need to be administered.
The second night, exhausted and overwhelmed, I began singing Mi Shabeirach to my fussy little girl who didn't want to go to bed in this strange metal contraption once again, thank you very much. The song had the desired effect: she settled down and my racing, worried mind began to rest. I sang with all the feeling I could put into the words, praying that "...the Source of strength, who blessed the ones before us ...." would "...bless those in need of healing..." Once I started, I couldn't stop. I knew that this was truly not in my hands and that once I accepted that I would be able to be even stronger for my little girl. A feeling of peace came over me. That night, whenever the nurses came in to check her vitals or adjust the amound of O2 she was receiving, I sang the song again, finding strength in those words. And all the next day as well, until finally her lung function stabilized and she was able to return home.
Tonight I prayed for the strength to look beyond J's temper and bad behaviors and see that beautiful girl that is there. I prayed to help me remember to look past the moment and see the bigger picture of every tantrum, every refusal to obey, to look for ways to teach her to control herself. And a feeling of peace once again came over me. I have faith that we will get though this challenging phase in one piece, better for it, ready to jump right into the next one. I know we can do it. And when I forget, I will just have to remind myself all over again.