Monday, May 7, 2012

The Teacher

Charlotte had a cold last week.
The kind of cold where she woke up crying in the night coughing and complaining.
And the morning that Bradley woke up with green snot, I was not surprised.
We pass germs around.
We are a family of six. Four under the age of 8.

And on Thursday and Friday night Bradley didn't sleep well.
And I was up most of both nights with him.
And on Saturday morning, Tom came in and said Bradley looked grey and splotchy.
And I told Tom I knew he was sick and because he was not sleeping I was worried.
And Tom said he thought I should go to the hospital.
(the fact that Tom suggested it, should have been sign enough)
But I told him I'd get in the shower and think about it.
And I said a little prayer in the bathroom, that if I needed to take Bradley in,
I would have a little sign as a reason to take him in.
And Tom came back into the house (he and the kids were going to a baptism)
And he told me he couldn't leave without giving Bradley a blessing.
And that was my sign.
And he gave him a blessing, AND I KNEW it was time to take him in.

And as we drove, Bradley was so quite.
And I thought "maybe he just needs some sleep...."
And when I got to Sunrise, I was unloading Bradley and when I snapped his seat into the stroller,
he turned a funny color and I started running across the parking lot to the ER.
His arms went high above his head, and I started blowing in his face and yelling "NO BRADLEY!"
I got into the ER and told the nurse he was having a seizure.
She looked at him and told us to come right back.
They took us past triage, directly into a room.
They cut off his shirt.
They used a resuscitation mask to get him some air.
He quickly came to and they started to quiz me down.
I told them he was on phenobarb to control seizures.
And they pulled his history up in the computer.

And they wanted to know how I knew to come in.
And I told him my husband had thought his color was off.
And they swabbed his nose and he was RSV positive.
And they admitted us to the peds floor.

A few hours later Tom came to sit with us.
We had lunch. And talked.
And they said I could feed Bradley and I decided to
feed him through the tube because he was kinda out of it.
And as I was trying to get the milk down, he started doing it again.
And this time he was on a monitor and all of his vitals flat lined.
And I pushed the nurses call button.
And Tom went out into the hall and yelled "HE'S NOT BREATHING- HE'S NOT BREATHING!"
And an announcement came on in the whole hospital and a calm voice said:
"Code Blue in the Pediatric Unit. Code Blue in the Pediatric Unit."
And suddenly the room filled with 40 people.
And I was frozen in the corner.
And there were 15 men and women around his tiny body with their hands all on Bradley.
And everyone let the RT through the crowd to resuscitate him.
And Bradley coughed and took a breath.
And the rest of us finally did too.
And the doctor from the pediatric intensive care unit introduced himself
with sweat on his forehead and on his palms.
And he said that our son could NOT do that on the peds floor
and that we were being moved to the PICU.
And Bradley was gone before we could even say "okay".

A social worker came to take us upstairs in the staff elevator.
And she looked into my eyes to see if I was okay.
 And I told her this was not his first time scaring me.

All the memories from his near death were in the halls of the PICU.
And they put us in the room, next to the room, where he almost died last August.

And one by one all of the nurses told me they recognized us.
NOT Bradley, because he is so big, but Tom and I and Bradley's name and story.
I guess that's my fault for naming him Bradley Brinkerhoff :)

And this morning the surgeon who saved his life last August came into
Bradley's room and said he had "heard we were here".
I told him how Bradley wasn't holding up his head
and that Morris doesn't know what syndrome he has
and that our next diagnosis will probably be CP.
And he looked blankly at Bradley and I told him we use the G-tube all the time.
And the surgeon smiled.

They moved Bradley back down to the peds floor this afternoon,
because his seizures seem to be under control.
And I left him there so that I could have a break.
Tom came home from work and he and I lay in the bed reconnecting after 3 long days.
And I started crying and telling Tom that
I'm scared that his little brain is not keeping up with his growth. 
 Morris said his brain has atrophy and enlarged ventricles.
And I'm so scared of what that means for the future.
And that it is not fair that he has such a broken body,
while all the rest of us walk and talk so easily.
And that if it's an unknown condition, how it could be fatal.

And Tom said that it's amazing how many people know and remember
 our tiny Bradley for the few months he's been on the earth.
Tom said that he thinks Bradley is and was a great teacher.
That Bradley was a great teacher before he came to the earth.
And that someday, we will see who he really is,
 and we will all be amazed that he was sent to us.