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Little Stories of Life - Autumn

Kids say the dandiest things,

but what are they thinking.

Here is one child's thoughts

as he goes through an

unexpected ordeal.



Ryan didn't feel well on a Wednesday morning. The night before he had complained that he just didn't feel good, as if someone had knocked the wind out of him or something. 

I told him to try to rest and we would see how he was in the morning. I always told him this when I thought he may not want to go to school the next day, but little did I know that was not Ryan’s plan. And I would not be prepared for the events that were to take place in the next couple of weeks. 

"Ryan," I called out. "Are you getting ready for school?" I was already annoyed because he didn't respond the first time. Here we go; he was trying to get out of school again. I called out to him again as I climbed the stairs. 

"Ryan, are you getting ...?" I stopped speaking as I turned into the doorway and saw Ryan holding his chest. I was surprised by Ryan's paleness and sat down beside him. Oh my, he really didn’t feel well.

"Are you alright Sweetie?"

"No, Mom. I can't breathe in." 

"What do you mean you can't breathe in? What's wrong?" 

Ryan struggled, "Mom, I...can't... take… a deep… breath." 

Trying to hide my worried look, I spoke, "Ok, we are going to the doctor.” 

Maybe I should call an ambulance, I thought, looking at Ryan, realizing he had heard my thoughts. 

"No, Ma," Ryan pleaded, "No ambulance!  Please, just… take me... to… the doctor."

Horror came over me with Ryan’s plea and I tried not to show it in my eyes. I realized now that this was not a scheme to stay home and watch television, Ryan was very ill. 

I immediately called his dad and by this time I hoped Ryan could not hear my voice trembling.  My God, he is only thirteen, what could be happening to him.

“Mom,” Ryan tried to speak, "Please… let's… go.” 

I turned away from Ryan and whispered into the phone so he couldn't hear me, but I watched him through the corner of my eye as he gasped for air. He looked at me while holding his chest. I knew what he was thinking. I turned to him. I could read his eyes. 

 Mom, please help me I don't want to die.  I hung up with his dad and redialed, this time calling the doctor’s office. “Hello, Dr. 

Stevenson?”  I squealed into the phone. “Ryan is having difficulty breathing. “Ok, yes.” I replied. I hung up the phone, helped Ryan up and led him downstairs. I picked up my purse and announced,  “We are going to the hospital.”

Ryan's eyes spoke again, now with complete cooperation. I will do whatever you say Mommy, I don't want to die. I helped Ryan into the car and we were on our way. I could tell he was really struggling now. I knew he needed help, I just didn't know how much. 

As we drove, I asked him at least a thousand times how he was and each time Ryan looked at me puzzled. I could hear his thoughts. Mom, why do you keep asking me over and over again how I am, did you forget I can’t breathe?? 

I vowed to be quiet at that point and tried not to show him how worried I was. It took all my strength to hold back the tears.

Again, I looked over at Ryan. His big brown eyes spoke with fear. Mom will I be ok? What is wrong with me? I am scared, am I going to die?

I didn't speak, because I couldn't. I couldn't give his terrified eyes an answer to any of his questions. I didn't have any answers, only questions as well. I responded back with a smile with my eyes, knowing that he knew that was our sign that meant everything would be alright. Then he gasped for another breath grabbing his chest. 

When we arrived at the hospital they took him right in. Difficulty breathing gets you to the front of the line, kind of like when you smell gas and the gas company comes right away instead of giving you a four hour window.

The nurse came in and began evaluating him. I began to relax. I had allies now, I wasn't alone. I closed my eyes and prayed. I quickly opened them not to lose communication with Ryan but looked away at times, so he didn't see my concerned eyes. I then looked directly into his eyes with reassurance. I wanted to make sure that he knew I was there and understanding his every need. 

The nurse put an IV in his arm and placed him on oxygen. Ryan looked at me with concern again not speaking, but I could hear him.

Is it ok that she is doing this? Oww, that really hurt, I hate needles. Ahh, I do feel a little better with this tube up my nose. 

Ryan looked at me. I could see in his eyes that his anxiety was less and he was a little more relaxed. I relaxed a little too.

It seemed like days waiting for a doctor to come in to the room. Every time someone would walk by the door, I anticipated their entering the room but there was no relief. Then the moment I was waiting for, or maybe dreading. The doctor came into the room. 

Ryan looked at me as his fear returned. I could only see terror in his eyes. I spoke to him, trying to take away his fear. 

" Ryan, the doctor is here to help you and find out why you are having trouble breathing. It is ok." I explained, trying to be reassuring. Hoping to hide my own fear, I again smiled with my eyes letting him know that everything would be alright.

As the doctor checked him out, Ryan called out again to me with his eyes. He had become more anxious now. Mom, please don't let him hurt me. I am so scared. I don't want to be here anymore. Please just take me home. I knew Ryan didn’t want to be here anymore, as he pleaded with his eyes for me to take him home. He then looked back at the doctor. He was the kind of kid that his mind was always going, always thinking. He wanted to know exactly what was going on. He examined what the doctor was doing to him and then glanced at me for approval. I approved with my eyes and a smile.

Then the moment of truth came. Your son has a pneumothorax.   I lost my hearing for a second and when I regained it, I thought, a what? The doctor repeated what he said, now hearing it, although still not understanding what he said. 

"I will have to put in a chest tube to allow the air to escape from the chest cavity and then the lung should inflate and hopefully heal," he explained. There was another word I wasn't sure I understood, hopefully. Hopefully? Maybe, probably? What about the word definitely

I  looked at Ryan thinking and realized I needed to change my thoughts so he wouldn't worry. I guess it worked because I couldn't understand any of his thoughts as he looked at me totally puzzled.  

Then I could hear his thoughts again. The doctor is speaking another language mom, make him speak English. I don't understand. Please tell him to tell us what's wrong. I just want to go home. Please take me home. I could see panic in his eyes. 

“Doctor Stevenson, what does this mean?” I pleaded for the right answer.

The doctor responded, "It means that your son has a hole or leak in his lung which has caused it to collapse. This in turn causes the chest cavity to fill with air and makes it difficult to breath. 

Wrong answer,  I thought. 

We will insert a tube in his chest and remove the air in the cavity so that the lung can expand again. Then hopefully it will heal." 

There's that word again, hopefully. I thought,  hope, that is supposed to be a positive thing. It’s meaning to have confidence, trust or desire for something to happen positively.

“Ok, what if it doesn’t happen.”  I barked at the doctor unintentionally. “Well, then we do surgery.” He replied with confidence. 

I spoke out loud, “I can tell you that the thought of a tube hanging out the side of my thirteen year old is not a pretty picture,”  

Realizing I shouldn’t have said that, I looked at Ryan. Tears now filled his eyes. Mommy, I don’t know what is going on. Why is this happening? I don’t want a tube in my chest. Please take me home, I am so afraid.  

I tried to keep the tears from filling my eyes as well. Ryan’s life depended on me being strong. I gave him that smile again, but I think he could tell I didn’t really know that everything would be alright.  I held Ryan’s hand and spoke to the doctor. “Whatever Ryan needs to make him better.” 


Ryan’s lung did not heal on its own so the doctor did have to do the surgery to repair the hole. 

Ryan opened his eyes, blinking, trying to find some light. It was evening and the room was darkened.  Where am I? He thought. Did I die? Am I still alive? Am I fixed?  

He finally focused to see me sitting next to him with that everything is going to be alright smile in my eyes.  Ryan looked at me, smiled back and spoke with his eyes. Mommy, I’m okay aren’t I?  I will get better now. I love you Mommy. 

I returned the look. I love you too,  Ryan.

Ryan smiled at me and I could hear his thoughts.  Mommy, everything is really going to be alright.


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In a Word




 Wise teacher, master of knowledge,
  loyal advisor, person of greatness 




To be thankful,  show respect, be acknowledged, treasure,




   Moment of affection, sincere gesture, 
  sweet utterance, gentile embrace