Continued from The Intensive Care Experience Part 2
Alyssa was lying motionless on the bed.
Tubes in her body and machines connected everywhere.
The constant beeping of the machine that measured her heart rate and humming of the other machines were the only noises in the room.
Looking up at the rows of information on the computer screens, I refused to think about her blood pressure reading only 50/20. I sat at the side of her bed simply staring at her face as if at any moment she would open her eyes, look at me and say, “Hi Mom!”
My brain kept saying, “Breathe in, breathe out and don’t panic.”
That was easy for my brain to say while my heart was wailing. Brains are so unfeeling and rational.
I touched Alyssa’s fingers and remembered doing the same thing in the same way immediately after she was born. There was no movement this time. I bent to smell her skin and began sobbing with my heart praying, “Dear Heavenly Father. I have no right to ask you to leave your child on this earth, but I just can’t bear to lose her. I don’t want to bury her. She is the light of my day and I would give you anything to spare her life. Oh please don’t take her.” That scenario happened over and over again.
During one of those sobbing-praying moments, I remembered that I had posted my testimony of Christ for my daughter on my blog. Alyssa had been so touched that I would profess it to the world unashamed. She had specifically thanked me for writing it. What if I was prompted to do that because she was supposed to see me share my convictions before she died?
My mind tormented me.
My heart felt that at any given moment, it would explode with pain.
Throughout the days and nights, there were nurses checking this and doing that while the doctor read the chart and checked things herself. My family came and went which is now all just a haze of them telling me to eat, drink, sleep, bathe, walk… I kept thinking, “What is their problem! Why won’t they just be quiet about the things I should do?! Can’t they see I do not want to leave my daughter?!”
I realize that they were concerned with my welfare and loving me, but at the time I just didn’t care about anything to do with me. So I sat by the bed in the same clothes, unbathed and without proper nourishment.
Days and nights were filled with long seconds that turned into long minutes which in turn became long hours.
Alyssa remained the same.
By this time, I was already completely in a life fog. I remember disjointed activities and just an overwhelming feeling of gloom and despair.
However, after all the great care and thousands of prayers said on her behalf, Alyssa eventually opened her eyes and walked out of the hospital with only a few reminders of this horrendous experience, such as:
- weighing twenty pounds less
- missing huge chunks of her memory that still have not returned
- her attitude presents an overall feeling of maturity
For weeks I have walked around in the lingering traumatic fog.
I’ve talked to people.
I’ve cooked, cleaned, slept, bathed, shopped and watched television.
I only remember bits and pieces of all of it.
Then late last week, I suddenly felt some sunshine in my soul. The fog was beginning to lift! There are still times that I burst into tears because I look at Alyssa and feel a sudden shot of overwhelming gratitude that she is ALIVE. My joy…it is joy and not just happiness…is almost more than my body and especially my tear ducts can handle. I won’t ever really be the same, but that’s okay. I think in ways, I’m better and I’m sure in a matter of time, I will be able to resume my multi-tasking with efficiency.
I am especially so very thankful:
- to people everywhere that prayed for Alyssa and my family
- for the EMT’s that arrived within ten minutes of Mom placing the 9-1-1 call
- all the emergency room doctors and nurses that worked quickly yet were still kind to me as I sat sobbing in the corner of the room
- for the PICU nurses who took such great care and extended constant attention to my daughter
- for the PICU doctor that sacrificed long hours watching Alyssa
- the frank and candid way that the doctor revealed the possibilities for both life and death
- to Alyssa’s dad and stepmother who immediately flew here to help in any way they could and were in the hospital when she woke up
- for my family who supported me in ways I don’t know and can’t remember, but I know that they did because that is what families do
- for the people at work who have been so supportive, understanding, kind and helpful while I struggle to return to my productive self
- to everyone who has written me emails or left comments to lift my spirit, offer comfort and express care, concern and assistance
Most of all, my gratefulness is to a loving Heavenly Father, who for whatever reason decided that it wasn’t time to take Alyssa from this earth. For a merciful Father that listened to my begging pleas of “Oh God! Please don’t take my baby!” with patience and excused my panicked disbelief in Him.
I will never view medication the same again. Be vigilant in knowing, understanding and monitoring the side effects of all the medications you and your family are prescribed. Do not just believe everything is fine because the prescription is a well known and tested medication. Everyone’s body is chemically different and will react to the medication differently too.
Being over vigilant with medication is my new attitude towards health care.
In a way, we are starting all over…Making new memories and enjoying experiences with a renewed attitude of appreciation for each other.
So life continues and today appears to be just another normal day.