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The Worry I Feel When My Son Sleeps In


I slowly wake up and see the streaks of sunlight shining through my bedroom windows. I stretch and listen for sounds that indicate my son is awake. I hear nothing but silence and the whirring of my sons pumps through the video monitor. I roll over and look at the time and realize I’ve slept in. Panic sets in.

My son doesn’t sleep in, at least not often. In fact, it’s quite rare. While most parents would cherish these rare moments, I fear them every time. My son not waking before me can mean a couple of scary things. It can be an indication of an illness settling in. It can indicate a possible bacteremia infection from his central line, or possibly sepsis. Or the worst one, it can indicate my son possibly had a tonic-clonic (grand-mal) seizure in his sleep and he’s either exhausted from it or worse, has passed in his sleep from it.

I start to ask myself various questions. What was his last temperature? How was he acting and what did he look like at bedtime? Did I possibly sleep through his service dog barking or pawing at me to alert me to a possible seizure? Is he breathing or is that just from the force of his bi-pap machine?

I resist the urge to go bursting into his bedroom. While this may be rare, and the consequences possibly scary, I know his little body can always use the extra rest. I move the monitor to check his service dog’s demeanor and see her peacefully sleeping away. It gives a small sense of relief that nothing is too extremely out of the ordinary with my son. So I vigilantly watch every breath he takes and movement he makes through his video monitor. When he finally stirs and awakens and starts bouncing out his bedroom, calling happily for his service dog to follow, I breathe a giant sigh of relief and greet him with a big hug and a smile. A smile he doesn’t know says how much I love him and how relieved and grateful I am he is alive.

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