Monday, February 15, 2010
I was working on President's Day 2009. I remember calling and checking on Zar and Charlotte at home. I remember Charlotte was sick, and I kept telling Zar to thump her back, giver her an albuterol spa treatment, get some fluid in her tummy. It wasn't busy at work, which was lucky, or maybe I should say a blessing, because at around 1 pm I suddenly announced I was going home. I said I just felt like I needed to be with Charlotte. I said she wasn't really sick, just a cold, but I needed to go be with her. I assured everyone she was fine, and I left.
At home I put Charlotte in her bucket bath, a bizarre blue tub shaped like a mop bucket I bought on sale at a baby store, which was perfect for a little girl who had trouble sitting on her own in a tub. I scrubbed her back and her hair and she smiled and looked relaxed. I kissed her face and rubbed lotion on her and put her in her piggy jammies and held her.
And then the fever hit, and the dropping oxygen sats.
And that was it. That night Charlotte was diagnosed with RSV which relieved me, because I was always, ALWAYS plagued by a fear of heart failure which I knew would be a long, difficult process for all of us.
That week went quickly, and Charlotte got better then worse again, and then I was driving to the hospital at 2 am after a call from her dad saying she was going to the PICU after all.
And I knew. This was it. I remember giving her a bed bath with the nurse, and she was so tired and so small, and I rubbed her back and thought frantically "Remember this!! This is the last bath." Her room was dim and cozy with blinking lights from vitals screens and from baby toys, tiny notes of music from a crib too often surrounded by high pitched alarms.
The night before was so dark. Her roommates were cleared out when we returned from dinner. In the PICU, parents must leave for an hour between 7 and 8, both am and pm, and during that time Charlotte had turned. Her room was huge and empty, and we sat in the corner clinging together on tall stools staring at Charlotte's swollen hand just visible between the working doctors. Those were the worst moments.
That night was hell.
And strangely, the dawn came with all the dawn implies. Charlotte was sedated, and receiving all the breathing assistance a child can receive, and still, her little body wasn't using the supplied oxygen and pressure. She didn't need it. Not because she was okay, or even improving, but because she was done with those sad awkward tubes and lines and needles and pumps. Charlotte was ready for wings.
I know I have written this post before, probably in very similar words, but that's okay. During this week I know I will be reliving those moments frequently. I cannot believe it's been a year.
Today I worked another President's Day, and again Zar was home with our daughter. I called and checked on them, and Ella was well, looking at books and tearing up magazines and eating like she had never seen a banana before. And I thought about Charlotte, Home, with her Father. And I stayed at work, because I knew Ella was well. And unlike last President's Day, Charlotte is well, too. And it's a comforting thought, finally knowing that All is Well.