A Reflection by Lori Atchley, one of Christian's incredible nurses....

by Robyn Bryant


This is written by Lori Atchley, one of Christian's incredible nurses in PICU....please read all her words.....

May 26th will mark a year since my patient Christian Moseley Bryant ran into Jesus' strong arms. I have worked in the PICU for 25 years, and in that time I have never taken care of anyone who was as sick for so long. Christian battled in our unit for 42 days. I have never witnessed a stronger will to fight against all odds. I have never been so touched by the sheer strength of Christian and her sweet family. My heart has never hurt so much. I have pondered whether to write these words, but I feel it is the time.

I wish I could say I knew Christian before she got sick, but I didn't. I only knew Christian through her precious family, her teachers, her friends, and her own words. I did get to talk to her when she was first admitted to PICU, but she felt so bad she didn't have too much to say. I wanted her to get better so much. She was a senior in high school and that is such a wonderful time in a girl's life from spending spring break with her friends, to prom, graduation, and of course college. Christian had been accepted to Georgia Tech and was looking forward to all the things college had to offer. She wanted to make a difference in her life, what she will never know is what a difference she made in her death.

I took care of Christian for days. She was on so many machines; one to help her breathe, one to help her kidneys, one to clean her plasma. She was on multiple medications to help her blood pressure, help her sleep, control her pain. We had to give her fluids, nutrition, and so many blood products. It took 2 nurses most of those 42 days in caring for Christian. She continued to fight, and fight. She was amazing! So many prayers for healing, so many faithful friends at her bedside. My family went on vacation and I was off for 14 days. When I came back, Christian was still fighting, but she was not getting better. I had her those last 4 days of her precious life. Those days were bad. Christian was losing the fight. She was not afraid to die, but she didn't want to leave her mom, her dad, or Bailey. I have thought about this so much over the last year, and I honestly believe Christian was truly fighting for her family, and in that she gave her greatest gift of all...her unconditional love!

Robyn and Chris don't know this, but during those last 4 days, I had prayed for a window to talk honestly to them about Christian's condition. I knew in my heart that Christian was going to leave us. I just didn't know how. On Wednesday and Thursday of that last week, we had pushed the code cart to the door. Christian was so unstable, and requiring more medications to keep her blood pressure within normal limits. I looked at one of Robyn's friends and said I don't think I can do compressions if her heart stops. This was a dilemma for me, and I struggled with what was right for Christian. I respected and loved her parents and always believed they would do the right thing for her, but as an nurse you are always thinking ahead. Friday was a more stable day. I think Robyn and Chris may have gotten their hopes up, or maybe God just gave them some time to rest and reflect. I wasn't supposed to work on Saturday, but decided to come in on call and keep continuity with Christian since she had been so unstable. When I walked in that morning, things were not good. We were increasing Christian's blood pressure medication, giving fluid boluses, and her blood pressure was not responding. Chris came in and I told him to let Robyn know things were getting worse. And then I prayed like I have never prayed before. Something like this, "God please give me a window, and when you give me that window, give me the words".

Robyn came in and she knew. She came out and sat down next to me, looked me in the eyes and said, "When is enough enough?" The window opened and words poured out. I am not sure of everything that was said. I know God used me. I did tell Robyn that there was nothing else I knew that could be done. I told her that Christian had fought harder and ran stronger than anyone was humanly capable. I told her Christian was not afraid for her, but she was afraid to leave her sweet family. And I told her that they needed to tell her it was ok to go. She needed to know that it was ok to go to heaven.

Robyn and Chris stepped out of the room and went to talk. Coleen and I continued to care for Christian. This is where my heart ripped open. Robyn and Chris walked into the room at 10:00am. Coleen was by the ventilator and I was on the other side of Christian's bed. Her sweet daddy bent down and told her how much he loved her and that it was ok to quit fighting. She had fought so hard, and it was time to finish the race. And the most amazing thing happened, she took a big sigh and then she almost smiled. We were all crying, Christian is smiling, and the song Blessings is playing. I know she saw all those angels in her room, and there was such a peace that settled in our midst. Bailey got there. Special friends, and family surrounded Christian holding her hand. At 11:58 am, Christian Moseley Bryant ran into the strong arms of Jesus, finished her race, and was met by her sweet grandaddy.

Christian only lived a short 18 years, but she was loved, and adored as a daughter, a sister, a friend, and a granddaughter. She was able to touch so many around her through her courage, her strength, and her faith in Jesus Christ. Her memory and her legacy will continue to help others who are going through the trials of this life. I will never forget Christian, she will always have a place in my heart. I am looking forward to the day we get to have that conversation...until then my sweet girl!

Lori