When I was about nine years-old I woke up in the middle of the night and couldn’t breath. I jumped out of bed and grabbed my throat, wheezing for a small breath of air. My older sister in the next bed told me to “stop coughing and go back to sleep!” But I’m dying! I wanted to shout.
Before I knew what was happening, a hand shot in to the bedroom and whisked me in to the bathroom across the hall. Clothes and all I was thrown in to the shower as extremely hot water shot out of the faucet above me. I could breath! I was so relieved that I put my extremely weary head to my chest. Bad idea. My throat closed again, but opened immediately when I lifted it back in to the steam.
It turns out I had croup; which is unusual for as old as I was. My mother apparently awoke to my cough and new immediately what it was. Thank goodness! I had a very bad case of it. I had to sleep sitting up for over a week so that my windpipe wouldn’t close completely. I had to keep my bedroom door open at night so that my parents could hear me if it did.
Unfortunately, I got no apology from my cold-hearted sister who slept through the whole thing and wondered in the morning why I had woken her up with all that racket. Oy.
twenty-three years later I heard that cough again and it sent chills down my spine. My husband and I woke up to my three year-old daughter barking like a seal in the next room. Thankfully, just like my mother, I recognized that sound. We brought her in to the bathroom and I sat her on my lap as we filled the whole bathroom with steam. She fell asleep against my chest, sweating and red-faced, but breathing calmly.
Croup is a fairly common childhood illness, but it can be extremely scary for parents and kids. Make yourself aware of what croup sounds like and what to do if you ever hear it; filling the bathroom with steam or sticking their head in the freezer are both good reactions.
Have you ever had croup or had a child with croup? Share below!