Friday, March 23, 2012

Powerful Reminders

There are so many days in the PICU that seem the same. Mundane. A little of this, a little of that, but none of it all that different.

And then there are the patients that come in that make you take a step back and think. Really reflect on life. And how quickly it can pass you by.

As Jon and I have battled fertility issues one prayer we have kept consistent is that we want to get pregnant and have healthy children.

I have a friend who is in the process of adopting children with medical needs, and I applaud her for it immensely. But it is something that I just couldn't do. While I love my work, I want to leave it there. And while there are no guarantees, we still pray for healthy children.

What I am realizing though is that despite many, many people praying for healthy children, anything can happen to these kids as they grow up. And it's not that I think parents stop praying for the health of their children, but life happens.

Take the 6 year old boy who came in yesterday. He has grown up with Type I diabetes his whole life, and had a mother who made sure he took his medication at the right times every day. And yet he got sick. His glucose went sky high.

He went to a small community hospital ED that is not used to dealing with kids. They hadn't seen DKA (diabetic ketoacidosis) like this before, and didn't know how to manage him. So he got sicker.

They did the right thing initially and called us and prepared him for immediate transfer. However, what they failed to do was listen to what our physicians were telling them, or at least carry out instructions in a timely manner.

So this poor kid...compliant with his brave getting insulin shots every day, is now in the PICU brain dead. Perhaps if the outside hospital would have given that manitol sooner, or started him on an insulin drip like we suggested, none of this would have happened. Or perhaps it would.

But had it not happened, his family would not have to make the decision whether or not to donate his organs. Or how to tell his two older sisters that his cold was actually something much worse. They would not have to go back home and pick out what outfit they would bury their little one in: should they choose something nice that he would look "little man handsome" in, or one of his favorite un-matching "such a boy" outfits.

Whatever they decide, on all of it...the organ donation, how to tell the sisters, what outfit to wear, I know that this family wishes and prays that they didn't have to make it. That they would give anything to go back in time, and perhaps take him into the hospital just a bit sooner.

But despite the saying "hindsight is 20/20" that's not always so. Because even if these parents had taken him into the doctor sooner, this outcome may still have played out. And even if the outside hospital had followed all of our physician's orders to the T, this devastating thing may still have happened.

So as I reflect on my desire, our desire, to have children, I also know how precious life can be. And while I am confident, faithful, that we will have children, my new prayer is that we never take advantage of moments with them. That even when they are running around, snotty noses, acting all crazy, that we can sit back and just take it in.

Maybe reign them in once in awhile, but still, take it all in : )

And know that life is so fleeting, so short. Despite our best efforts to remain youthful we still grow old. And despite the best medicine, sometimes kids die before getting that chance to grow old.

While this is so sad, it is so true. And while I love my job, love the healthcare field, and strongly believe in what we do, we cannot control life.

What a powerful reminder this little boy has been. Thank you for the lessons you have imparted on me in such a short amount of time. May you rest peacefully little one. May you find joy flying with the angels tonight!


  1. What a tearjerker! I'm sorry to hear his life wasn't able to be saved. Life is short and while I did pray for healthy deliveries and babies for both my children, I should be more fervent in praying for their well-being each day as best I can.

  2. What a heartbreaking story and reminder of the gift of life. I posted this on my blog and tweeted it with a link to your blog.

  3. This little guy is finally free from the sickness that had dogged him his whole young life! Even as his family is grieving here on Earth, it is sobering to believe he is jumping for joy in Heaven...

  4. So sorry for this little guys family. Though as JD said, he is experiencing Heaven. And praying for your strength to deal with these challenging experiences. I often pray for Amanda and what she experiences taking 911 calls. Thanks for reminding me to also pray for you.

  5. Every moment is so precious with those we love, children, spouses, friends. We never know when the last time we see that person will be. Your blog is wonderful! I love it!