Thursday, January 06, 2011

Deep Breaths

We came home yesterday just after lunch with a list of meds, strict nebulizer instructions, and bags under our eyes, but we came home.  Thankfully baby goat (and his parents), Grandpa Goat knew how to neb him and could sit with him while Mr. Goat and I ran into our respective offices to do a few hours of work.  (Baby goat mostly napped the entire time anyway - poor kid).  I feel like I am drowning in work after the craziness of earlier in the week but that stress I can handle.  That is just work and as much as I care about work and my ministry - baby goat is just so much more important.

And so I am trying to be calm, not let the tiredness and stress add to the mix and take deep breaths. 

Deep breaths are the key.

I have been thinking about breathing a lot this week, its no wonder with an asthmatic child that you think about breathing.

In baby goat's worst he retracts when he breaths, that is you can see his ribs as he works too too hard to get the air he needs.  It reminds me painful of those first days when it was all too-tiny baby goat could do to take each breath, his tiny body concentrating on nothing else.  Surfactan and a few days on oxygen helped him get the hang of it and it wasn't too long before he was off the support.

When baby goat retracts the only solution is a steroid delivered quickly to his lungs.  Typically this is albuterol from the nebulizer.
Here is baby goat from last Jan using his Neb.

The nebulizer produces an albuterol mist that is inhaled and works to reduce the inflamation of the airways and open them up.  It is quite remarkable what it does, and (when baby goat doesn't fight it) it can be almost relaxing to watch the mist being breathed in and out.

It makes me think of the idea of the "breath of God," one of the desriptions of the Holy Spirit.  The nebulizer produces something tangible that baby goat breaths and it transforms him.  It takes away the pressure and work of his breath and instead allows him to breath deeply and calmly again. 

Lutherans so rarely have a working understanding of the Holy Spirit.  It is so intangible and really hard to understand.  But, if there is one thing I have gained from watching my dear son struggle for air is a greater understanding of the breath of God.

Air is essential to life and we often breath on our own just fine.  We often think we can do most things on our own just fine too - our work, our lives.  We work to save ourselves and be our own support system.  But there are times in our lives when our breathing becomes labored by our trials, our weaknesses, and our fears.  It is the Holy Spirit that comes to us and gives us the strength and calm to breath deeply again.

Much of our life we take for granted the breath we are given.  We have a hard time remembering to appreciate all the gifts we are given, even the simple gift of air.  But often life catches up to us when we least expect it and we are called to deal with trials that seem beyond our surviving. And yet most of the time we do, and even go on to thrive, but thinking back it is hard to know how it is we made it through.  Perhaps because we had heavenly help keeping us breathing and moving forward.

It is scary to watch baby goat struggle to breathe and for me the nebulizer is essential for my favorite little asthmatic.  I am equally grateful that God has given us the breath of God to help keep us breathing deeply when life gets tough.  I know it has helped me this week.

Any messy theology I blame on lack of sleep, Lutheran difficulties with the Holy Spirit, and general outside-the-box thinking.  Still it doesn't represent necessarily represent any views of my church or the ELCA, so don't go crying "Heresy" anytime soon, kay?


trishatfox said...

I don't know, sounds like it'll preach to me. I'm glad you're home. I hope you can get some rest.

Laura said...

So well said. I'm glad he's home and safe and well taken care of.

kate hopper said...

I'm so glad you're home. It's terrifying to have to watch a little one struggle for breath. I'm thinking of you all and sending my own deep breaths your way.

Sharon said...

HERESY! Nah, just kidding. Actually, this was very well written. Maybe if the Holy Spirit came inside a nebulizer we could touch and was a visible mist that we could see, we wouldn't have all these hang ups. (now THAT'S heresy for you...)

In all sincerity, I pray that things get easier and much healthier in your household. And soon!