You creep through the darkness in the middle of the night.
I know you are lurking there, clinging onto a cold or lingering off a cough. And I wait for you.
I wait for you to wrap yourself around my son’s chest and squeeze him tight. I wait for you to compress his little lungs and make him struggle to breathe.
And I fight back. I flood his little body with drugs to push you out. To stop you ravaging it.
This time you caught me off guard. You haven’t visited for 7 months, not with all your might. I got complacent, hopeful even. I fooled myself into thinking you were leaving us alone. That maybe my son was getting stronger and had banished you for good.
So I reduced his medication, rested on my laurels and then he paid the price.
You came the same as always, from nowhere. In the morning he was healthy and happy. By the time darkness fell, you were taking hold.
It’s a lonely place in the middle of the night. Worrying. Watching.
I sit and reason with myself. If we can just make it to morning. If we can just prevent another hospital trip. If we can just handle it oursleves.
And we did. 10 puffs at a time. We made it.
But you are unpredictable. You are not ‘just’ Asthma. You are deadly.
So in the morning I reflect. I reflect on my midnight decisions, how I battled between keeping my son safe and making him spend another night in A&E, tainting his memory with more ambulance rides, more monitoring and masks. I reflect on a video I took of him that shows his little body fighting so hard. I reflect on whether my instinct is correct, if I can trust myself to make the right call at the right time.
You’ve gone now. To lurk around another corner. But you’re still there in my thoughts, taunting me. Telling me you’ll be back again. Telling me I need to be ready and I need to take you seriously.
So, Asthma, I’ll be ready. I’ll be working hard to stop you visiting again.
But when you do, in the darkness, I’ll squeeze my son tighter than you can. And I won’t be afraid to bring in back up.