I feel like this blog is totally a back and forth – one day “happy happy! Look, shiny!” and other days more blah, and “look what isn’t.” I guess it’s honesty though – it *is* what it’s like. I’m so very blessed in that I don’t actually have many (any?) truly dark days. I am actually happy a lot of the time. Sad, but not crushed.

The thing I have been thinking about the last few days is Oliver’s last night, and more specifically the resident that was on call that day and night. We got the call to come to the hospital and it was so shocking – I have never been so scared in my life. Keep in mind up until that point we thought he was fine. Little, needed to gain some weight but fine. I’d been there for most of the day, holding him for a good few hours and he was looking at me for long stretches – responding to my touch on his cheek, responding to my voice….we had no reason to think anything was going wrong at that point. But then….then. His heart had stopped. They got it started again but it had stopped for 12 minutes. Not so good, that. But they couldn’t figure out what had caused it to stop, and that was the more pressing concern. After a little while of us being there they found the blood clot – the *giant* blood clot that had formed around his umbilical catheter. And then it became a whirling mess of decisions and desperate prayers. We decided to let them try to dissolve the clot (there was a risk of a stroke, but we had no other choice). So after a lot of back and forth they injected a drug into his iv to try to dissolve it….and at first it seemed like it was working so they told us to go get some sleep in a room down the hall; they’d re-ultrasound in the morning. So we did. Two hours later they woke us up. It didn’t work, and his blood had gone completely toxic. He died within the hour.

The thing I am thinking about is the resident that was on call that night. I don’t know her name. There was another doctor too, who was there – an older one – but the resident is the one I remembered. I remembered her from earlier in the day when she’d done rounds. Truthfully she bugged me a little. She was all long hair, really thin, trendy glasses, seemed quite hard as nails; knew her stuff but seemed like the sort of person who had book knowledge down to a science but not a lot in the way of compassion or people skills. Not a lot of tact. A little insensitive. Understand that this opinion is based on nothing. It’s based on an appearance; a few minor things she said.

I remember at the end, when they woke us up, her getting off the phone with the lab and saying “He is going to die.” I was so…I don’t even know what the word is. I mean, events being what they were aside, I was so sure she was cold and matter of fact in saying this. That she was hard. That she was too young and didn’t care – this was just a “case” for her.

The thing is I was wrong. Brandon remembers her so differently. He remembers looking at her when she said that and seeing giant tears in her eyes; seeing how she was trying to be professional and hold it together but how hard she was struggling. How broken she looked. How she left the room in the few seconds following – not because she was cold and didn’t care but because she was struggling so hard to hold it together.

And his memory is the right one. The bible talks all the time about “the scales falling from their eyes” – meaning you sort of take off the glasses that warp your view of things and you see the truth. When he told me his memory of that time later it was like that happened for me – like I rewound and suddenly saw everything that happened with her as it actually was.

And now I am so very sorry. Sorry that I judged her, based on nothing. Sorry that I just assumed she was being hard when it fact she was feeling her own powerlessness to change a situation that she wanted to change. It’s like I could see it, you know? Like she had all this book knowledge, so much information. She’d done all the things she knew to do. And then at the end…there was nothing she could do. And she was sad and frustrated and angry. I don’t know how young she was. I don’t know if this was the first infant death she’d seen, or if she’d been through something before. I don’t know.

I find myself wishing now that I did know her name. That I could write to her and tell her that we were okay, that things are okay. That we appreciated how hard she tried, and that we appreciated so much what she did for us. That we appreciated her genuine sadness at being unable to help us – even though in my case that came later. That she is and will be a really good doctor. I mean, it’s kind of presumptuous of me to feel like she might need that encouragement from me – after all, who am I to her? But I want to tell her that anyway. I can’t, I don’t think. I don’t know her name and I don’t know how to find her.

I hope she’s okay though. Maybe it’s that I hope Oliver made an impression on her – because after all there were so few people in the world that he had a chance to make an impression on.


One response to this post.

  1. Posted by Catherine on June 9, 2009 at 10:15 pm

    Oh Christy. I’m so very, very sorry that you lost Oliver.

    It is very strange how memory can play tricks on you isn’t it?

    I am certain that he did make an impression on that young resident.

    I also received that ‘middle of the night’ telephone call. You describe it so well.


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