The little guy had no clue what was going on. It was simply a lot harder for him to breathe.
John and I had debated whether Ryken was teething or experiencing the onset a cold. He was rosy-cheeked, snot-saturated, (making him look like a glazed donut), and he chewed on everything in sight.
Turns out it was worse than we’d thought.
Friday morning, Heather and Jeremy had to check Ryken into the hospital because he was laboring with his breathing. No other symptoms except that rattly, wheezy sound when air went in and out. He was his typical happy self. Grinning at everyone, babbling non-stop.
The doctor didn’t say what it was at first. They did tests. They put electrodes on his chest, which he diligently pulled off the moment the nurses weren’t looking. He chewed on his oxygen tube. He continually disengaged the monitor on his toe that read his oxygen levels. Which sent the monitor into a sound-effect overload.
They kept him overnight. Every time he fell asleep, his oxygen levels dropped. They needed to figure out what was causing this.
Saturday, after a night of prodding, poking and no sleep, they began again.
And determined it might be asthma.
But they didn’t want to call it asthma. It was, after all, his first episode.
My twin sister became asthmatic in her late twenties. I’ve seen what happens when breathing becomes difficult, and the only thing that would help was a rescue inhaler.
Watching Ryken breathe, his stomach and chest working hard, made me aware of how something I never think anything about–breathing–could become such a focus of attention.
They had a medical term for Ryken’s condition.
His airways and lungs were challenged with the phlegm building up, but he was adapting to the discomfort. He’s sick, but not exhibiting any signs of illness other than the wheezing. He’s generally happy, eating, playing.
If you didn’t listen to him, you’d never know there was a problem.
I’d love to be joyful when things in my life aren’t going well. When I’m not feeling up to snuff, I typically let the world know that something is out of kilter. If all isn’t right with my world, it isn’t right with me.
What would it be like if I could handle the discomforts of life with a smile like Ryken?
The very wise Solomon had insight into this.
“A cheerful heart is good medicine.” Proverbs 17:22a
Ryken’s content because he’s well-loved, well-cared for, enjoyed and cherished. His parents have been with him through all of this, holding him, loving on him, meeting his needs.
God loves me more than anyone else could. He enjoys and delights in me. Cherishes me as His own.
If my heart could rest in those truths, experiencing the joy of being known and loved by the God of the universe, my heart could be more content.
And just maybe I wouldn’t be bothered by the little things that bug me.
Maybe I’d just smile.
For the record, the little grinner is home from the hospital. Happy. Wheezing. Getting better.
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