A Reflection...April 13, 2013

by Robyn Bryant

A Reflection: April 13, 2013

A year ago today Christian was moved to the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit at T.C. Thompson Children’s Hospital...at the time I thought this was going to be a brief stay and she would return to Room 316 very soon....little did I know her race was changing dramatically, as of this day it was all up hill.  Today is the day her physical heart rate changed to a running rate...it would stay there for the next 42 days.  What happened the morning of Friday, April 13, 2012 is kind of a blur to me...Christian’s platelets were not responding to transfusions, her abdominal pain was worsening.  I do remember that she was in a great deal of pain that morning, her heart rate was increasing and her blood pressure was dropping.  Emily Baker was her nurse that morning and even though, we knew Emily well and she knew Christian, she had never been her nurse before, Emily was usually Turner’s nurse.  We always jokingly told her that Turner was her favorite....

Christian was moved to a large private PICU room primarily because she required closer monitoring than she could receive on Children’s 300.  Prior to her transfer, something happened that morning and I don’t remember exactly what, maybe Emily remembers and can help refresh my memory.  When Christian arrived in PICU, she was very sedated, she had to be transported to CT scan and this required 2 nurses, I think it was Colleen and Barbara Davis that went with her...while she was in the scanner, I sat away from the nurses.  I wanted Christian to be better quickly and had no desire to bond with these nurses.  The next week, Christian got progressively worse.  She was not able to eat at all and drank very little.  We started noticing slight changes in her mental status, just some confusion, this was most noticeable in the evening, at night and in the early morning.  At first, the nurses and I were the only ones to witness this...for me it was heart breaking.  

During Christian’s first week in PICU, she had one of her favorite nurses from Children’s 300 as a nurse the first 3-4 nights and we started getting to know the PICU nurses....we will always consider many in PICU part of our family.  Also, during this week, my sister came for a brief visit.  I rarely left the hospital, but this week I did leave for a late lunch a couple of times.  Jeanne stayed with Christian.  I wish, at the time, I had known this would be the last week I would ever have a real conversation with Christian...this week was the last week me, Chris and Bailey got to have Christian talked to us.  I can remember funny things she said that week and I can also remember she was worried about getting so behind in her school work.  This week Christian’s body was weakening very quickly, she was no longer able to get out of bed without assistance, her nutritional status was quickly declining..toward the end of the week, I knew Christian was critically ill....I am thankful for that last week of conversation and interaction with Christian...I will forever cherish each moment.  As Christian said, “Everyday is a gift, you never know what will happen.”