Tuesday, June 16, 2015

A change of perspective

When Sophie, our five year old, was two days old, she started having seizures. The first one caught my attention as "This is odd. I wonder what it is." But they happened every hour, like clockwork, and progressively worsened. We took her to the pediatrician, where she had another seizure. Before we knew it, I was riding in the back of an ambulance with our newborn in her car seat strapped to a stretcher, on our way to the ER at Children's Hospital. This tiny baby was put through so many medical tests and interventions. The giant doses of IV medications to stop her last, longest, seizure did the job, but kept her asleep for the next two days.

I cried a lot during the week we spent in the hospital (as a nursing mother I was admitted with her). I missed my husband and oldest daughter. My husband had been staying at the hospital at first and our oldest was staying with a friend, but then she became sick and had to go home. I missed my home, our dogs, and a normal life. I felt cheated out of the happy new-baby-at-home time we'd been expecting. I was scared, lonely, and hormonal.

Finally, she was deemed healthy. The seizures were the result of bleeding on her brain, trauma from her quick delivery. The bleeding had stopped and the blood reabsorbed itself into her tiny body. But the neurologist wasn't the admitting doctor, and that doctor wanted to be safe. She wouldn't discharge us until every single test came back. However, she was able to be disconnected from all the monitors that kept her confined to a six-foot radius of her bassinet. I was able to walk with her up and down the halls, and see something other than the four walls of our room and the various procedure rooms.

While we were walking around, though, I realized that no matter how scary and horrible that week was, we were one of the lucky ones. Our child was going to be fine. We were taking her home. Too many kids there have serious illnesses, or terminal diseases. Too many families don't get to take their kids home, or are in the hospital for long periods of time. For too many, my nightmare is their normal. I took Sophie back to our room, and cried again. Out of relief, and heartbreak for all the other children on our floor.

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