Part 2: The Day...

We landed at Colorado Children's.

I could see doctors waiting for us. It all felt so very surreal.

My tiny baby on this huge gurney. The wind whipping around and folks ducking. It felt like an episode of Grey's Anatomy. What they don't show you on TV is that before off-loading a patient, they like to wait until the helicopter blades have stopped moving. This takes about two minutes...of sitting. Two minutes felt like an unnecessary eternity.

When all was "clear," the medics unpacked my baby and me. Her favorite pacifier had fallen out of her mouth and landed on the floor of the helicopter. One of the medics was so considerate and took the time to give quick a "look" and scoop it up.

We walked quickly. Medics and doctors traded information... "brain hemorrhage...two skull fractures...stabilized in air..."

The medics wished me a "Merry Christmas" and I thanked them. They left to start paperwork or save another life; I'm not sure. The next week I would find out from one of our nurses that air medics only let parents accompany children when they think your child is going to die in air.

And then the doctor began to talk to me.

He was an intern. I say "intern," but he obviously knew what he was doing. He and another very sweet and calming nurse walked us to a private room in the ER and began a physical examination of my girl. When they felt satisfied, they placed her in my arms and told me to let her eat if she showed interest. My arms ACHED for her, but I was suddenly concerned with how to hold her, how not to hold her...could I make it worse? Her skull was FRACTURED and her brain was BLEEDING. What do they mean "hold her"?

They were full of grace and showed me.

Once we were settled into a chair with a multitude of pillows and tubes everywhere, the doctor sat down across from me.

"She has two skull fractures and a mild-to-moderate sub-arachnoid hemorrhage. She also has a concussion, understandably. We feel good about her prognosis - which is why I'm here and not the head of neurosurgery. I would normally just send you home under such circumstances, but you live two hours away and we would hate for something to happen two hours away from us. We're going to keep you here for 24-hour - just to observe. Can we get you some juice or coffee?"

Are you kidding me? Bring on the coffee. I sat there shell-shocked.

What seemed like five minutes later my husband rushed into the room with our oldest in his arms. I had never seen him look so empty, racked, weary. I can't describe it to you. I stayed seated, holding our baby, trying to reassure him through the glass with a smile. The intern was more than happy to come back in and walk my husband through the details. We just sat stunned. Thankful.

The rest of that day was spent being admitted, lots of drugs, efforts to feed and to keep food down, visits from Denver Broncos players and Santa Claus (it was Christmas Eve after all), check-ins from the sweetest nurses and the head neurosurgeon himself. Our oldest watched "Cinderella" for the first time while we fielded phone calls from friends and family. My husband and our oldest found a room at the Ronald McDonald house (where there was a mountain of toys waiting for her upon arrival). The night was filled with coffee and snuggles and meds and a pacing, not-sleeping-momma. Who needed sleep?

Christmas morning came...it brought more visits, smiles, clean bills of health (well, as "clean" as you can get having two skull fractures and a brain hemorrhage). We prayed and worshiped and got ready to leave and by 1pm that afternoon, we were loading our precious cargo into the Subi and heading home.

We stopped for lunch (hunger hit with some kind of fierceness and we had been told to go about our lives normally - just not jostling or bouncing). We were seated by a waitress and were about to order when our baby threw up...a lot. This was not out of the ordinary...she was having some trouble with keeping foods down. We chalked it up to the her body getting back to normal. We apologized to our waitress, quickly loaded back up, got a Happy Meal for our oldest, and started the long drive home.

My parents arrived soon after we unloaded. My mom and dad had driven 23-hours through the night and a snowstorm to be near us. We had "Christmas," opened presents, and went out for Chinese food. We went to sleep or tried to.

The baby kept throwing up.

We called the neuro-folks. The on-call neuro-guy (familiar with our case) asked what flavor of Tylenol we were giving her. Apparently, his children always gagged when given the grape-flavor. My husband and I tried to not worry.

The next day, we took her to see her pediatrician for a follow-up. She was still throwing up. Our nerves were beginning to unsettle.

They walked us straight from the pediatrician's office to admittance. Her clean-bill of health was gone...

1 comment:

  1. Relieving those hours with you still brings pain to my soul and tears to my eyes!