There is a couple that we know who also have a toddler the same age as the little guy. The kids are a few weeks apart in age, and we even live close to one another, but for one reason or another, we have never really become close friends with them. Super nice couple, but sometimes the timing just does not work, and we just do not see them very often.
They had a baby a week ago, and we have ran into the father multiple times since then. The baby had a higher level of white blood cells when born, so he was kept in the hospital, and then 5 days later was released and was considered healthy. We saw him on his way to go get the baby just a few days ago. Beaming and pumped to move forward with the family together.
We ran into the father this morning. He looked like an emotional and physically drained person. He was walking with the toddler in the stroller, kind of in a daze. He tried to put on the “smiley face” but when we asked how he was doing, he said he was hanging in there. I asked if he wanted to talk about anything or if he needed anything, but he said it was fine. I found out later that his little baby is back in the hospital, and he has meningitis. His wife is also not doing well.
Woah. Talk about a reality check and slap in the face for me and my wife if we were being petty or annoyed about the little things in life. If you don’t know much about meningitis, it is super dangerous, and with infants it is often fatal or can lead to brain damage if it is not caught enough. The short hand of what meningitis is (or at least the kind that impacts infants most of the time): it is a disease brought on by a bacterial infection. It attacks the brain stem and is a pretty nasty thing to deal with – and it is so harsh that it is no surprise that even with immediate antibiotic treatment, your infant has a 15% chance of dying.
What do you do if you are me? I want to go find this guy and give him a hug, but it’s not possible. I cannot imagine what he and his wife must be going through. When you have a situation like this, there is literally nothing you can do but wait, and that waiting must be excruciating. All we can do is keep them in our thoughts and prayers, let them know we are here for them for anything they might need. And for us, we can realize that if we and our son are healthy, we should consider that a blessing.