Today is an anniversary I’d rather forget, and I know I’ll never be able to.
One year ago today Elanor was admitted to the hospital via the emergency room with septicemia, in early stage organ failure and close to death. While some of the details of that day have faded, certain ones stand out and will forever be crystal clear in my mind…
- When they couldn’t get an IV into her leg or her arm and shaved her head
- When that didn’t work and suddenly we were moved to acute emergency and our part of the room was filling up with doctors yelling things I couldn’t understand
- When the nurse told me that they couldn’t get an IV in and that they would have to do an intraosseous. Seeing that that meant they would use something that looked like a drill from the garage to make a hole on my baby’s leg…and hearing the sound of them drilling that hole into her leg not once, not twice, but three times.
- Breaking down repeatedly in my husbands arms as we both realized she could die right there and there was nothing we could do about it even as he was breaking down in mine.
- Clutching her sleeper to my chest and not letting anyone touch it or take it away even so that I could have some water or blow my nose.
- Watching them cover her with heated blankets to transfer her up to the PICU and being terrified that the mass of white blankets was the last time I would see her alive
- Being escorted up to the Pediatric intensive care unit by the nurse, pushing Elanor’s empty stroller and being asked “where’s the baby” by some well meaning stranger in the elevator and just collapsing in on myself and sobbing
- Waiting for someone to tell us what was going on, what her chances were, anything
- The chaplain coming…and making it all worse because she couldn’t understand that we aren’t religious and we didn’t want her there
- Sitting at a round table in some private waiting room with a breast pump they’d scrounged up pumping listlessly, still clutching the sleeper, crying.
- Ravi’s dad coming and sitting there silently with us as the hours went by
- Finally being able to see her
- Taking this picture because no one could promise us she’d make it through the night and I wanted one more picture
- Touching a her upper right leg because it was the only part of her without a without a wire
- Telling her over and over “I don’t give you permission to die, I don’t give you permission to die”
- Sleeping on the bed in her room, waking every hour to ask her dedicated nurse what her vitals were
I have had bad days in my life. I’m sure I have declared many of them “the worst day of my life” or “the worst day EVER.”
No day could ever be as horrible as that day was.
I will be forever grateful to the team at Mass General Hospital’s Pediatric Intensive Care Unit for the care they gave my child (and us). They included us on the rounds, explained things, took the time to talk to us, and made us feel like she was a priority for us and that they were rooting for her as much as we were. They handed me tissues, and one amazing day, Dr. Whelan told me I could starting thinking about Christmas and her first birthday.
Well, her first birthday was last week, and as hellish as that day was, I’m grateful that Dr Mike Whelan and the team that was on duty were there that day because thanks to them, today I have