Heart of a Champion

Walking pneumonia. That was the diagnosis yesterday. The third Dr. appointment in three weeks. Even the nurse, as we walked up, said, “Your smiling faces again?!” A sure sign that we’ve been to the Dr office a few too many times, as of late.

The Dr. did all the standard checks. Look in his throat, up his nose, in his ears. Checked his blood pressure, his weight, his height. Coco even said at home, “I’m not going to tie my shoes. I’ll just have to take them off at the Dr’s office anyway.” Great insight, buddy. The last check was his chest. Stethoscope in the Dr’s ears; the other piece pressed to Coco’s chest. She stayed there quite awhile. Her reaction, and resulting verbal response, wasn’t that surprising to me. “I hear crackles. In his lower left lung. Consistently. From all directions. He has walking pneumonia.”

Her response, what she shared with me, didn’t come as a shock. Coco wasn’t responding to treatment. Wasn’t getting better. We had started inhaled corticosteroids. (Four times the recommended dose for a twelve year old. Have I ever mentioned that Coco is only 10?!) Nasal spray for allergies. Oral steroids, (which, I HATE him taking, by the way), yet, I knew they were necessary. Albueterol treatments every four hours. Even through the night. All this medication, and yet, Coco wasn’t showing improvement. So, the diagnosis of walking pneumonia wasn’t all that surprising. Nor the addition of a Z-PAC, antibiotic treatment, to the regimen. Yet something was surprising…

All he accomplished on the baseball field, while being so very sick, only one, two, and three short days earlier. It is all possible because of the following….

Coco, has the Heart of a Champion. The Heart of a Leader. He never quits. Never gives up. You will see, from an earlier post, that he skipped out on an awesome opportunity, at a MLB facility last week. He skipped out so as to get healthy enough to play in his own baseball tournament this last weekend. To not let down his team, nor, himself. Coco had two games on Friday. Two on Saturday, and, ended up playing in one game on Sunday. Now we know he played in all of these games with pneumonia!!  And, guess what, he never once gave less than everything he has!

Friday morning Coco was at 70% of his normal lung capacity and he pitched. Three innings!  Saturday he was still at 70%.  He should be blowing between 400-420 in his peak flow meter. No, he was blowing between 270-290. Saturday he was 5-7 at the plate. For those less knowledgeable on baseball terminology, out of seven times at the plate, he got five hits. His batting average, for that game, was .714!!  Plus, he was brought in, to pitch, to save the game. Two players on base for the other team, 0 outs, and he struck out the side. In baseball terminology this means 3 batters walked to the plate, 3 batters struck out.  This brought our team back up to bat. My son, with pneumonia, was brought in to save the game, and struck out 3 batters!  The coach wanted to bring in a couple other boys on the team, to pitch, so as to not have to use Coco. The response, “They just aren’t here today. You can’t pitch them. They just don’t have it. Aren’t feeling it.”  The Coach felt stuck. Asked Coco, “Could you pitch?”  His response, “Absolutely. Put me in.”  Heart of a Champion, and a Leader!!

Sunday the story was similar. This time the bases were loaded, 1 out. Same response was provided to the Coach, “Jake just doesn’t have it today. Isn’t feeling baseball.”  Coco came in to pitch. He threw two pitches, and got two more outs. No runs scored, and we were back up to bat. Our bats weren’t swinging. Coco’s included. It was sad to watch. Once again, the reasoning was poor attitudes. But, not Coco’s. We were running out of time. The games last 1 hour, 45 minutes.  The other team was home, which means they are the last to bat. Coco knew we had to strike out the team, to get us back up to bat, to get a chance to win the game. His response, “I don’t need to warm up. Everyone get on the field.” Typically, when a team returns to the field, the pitcher gets to throw about 8 pitches to warm up. Coco didn’t want time to run out. So, he foregoed warming up.

My son, with pneumonia, was an absolute rock star. I love his hustle, his heart, his passion, his desire. I am so very proud of him. Lead by example…my Coco most definitely did that over this weekend. Pneumonia, schmonia.  Bring it on, life. He’s ready. He’s always ready. Perhaps I need to remember this. These exact words that I just typed. Coco, he is strong. Much stronger than I probably give him credit for. Next time he gets sick I don’t have to panic. He has strength, courage, leadership, and the Heart of a Champion. I am so proud to call Coco my son.

Originally written 30Jun15

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