So while Jackson is flying in the helicopter, we are driving to the hospital. Usually I am the chauffer when it comes to going places, but Sara takes the wheel. That was probably a good thing because I would have tried to drive 100 mph to get us there. I was so nervous, my stomach was in knots. I don’t remember if the helicopter unit told us where he was going, but when we arrived at the front desk at Children’s we just told them our son was flown via helicopter they printed us tickets to go to the PICU (pediatric intensive care) on the 7th floor. I felt like we couldn’t get up to the floor fast enough, but when we got up there we couldn’t see him right away and we were directed to the parents waiting room. This waiting room was absolutely disgusting. There was trash everywhere, people had left their food trays on the tables with their half-eaten food, and it did not smell good at all. I was having a lot of restroom issues (TMI I know) which is common for me with my nervous stomach, but I hated having to go so often in fear I was going to miss the doctor. While we are sitting a man walks up to us asking if we are the Hamilton family. He has some papers with him. We think he must be a nurse, an administrative person, or doctor as he sits with us and starts asking us some questions. I notice his name badge and under it says chaplain. My thoughts go to a bad place right away, why are they sending this guy out to talk to us… is something bad happening, did Jackson take a turn for the worst? While I am trying not to think those things, Sara tells him that we are Jackson’s moms and is giving this guy Jackson’s medical history and he listens intently. He says a few comforting words, you are in the right place, there are a lot of really good doctors here speech… I am not sure at this point if Sara realized this guy wasn’t a doctor or nurse, but she gave him great detail on Jackson's history. I trying not to laugh at the fact that when he first came to speak to us we told him that we were both Jackson’s moms and in most of the God like religions our lifestyle is highly frowned upon. He tells us he is going to go take a look and let us know how things are going since no one else has come out to speak with us since we arrived. Once I knew he was far enough away I bust up laughing and ask Sara and her mom if they noticed his chaplain badge, then we all laugh.
I honestly thought that chaplain would not return to us, but he did. The first thing he said to us was, “They have 15 people working on Jackson now.” My heart just sank…I am picturing these people all around him and someone shouting, “CLEAR!” Then the chaplain says, “He is in great hands, all these people are really good at what they are doing…..someone should be out here to talk to you shortly, everything is going really well.” I wanted to punch this guy in the face, even though he was trying to be comforting and nice, why would tell nervous parents that there are 15 people working on their child. He then asked us if he could say a prayer. I am not against prayer or the belief of God…so don’t get me wrong here, but I find it hard to bow my head in prayer. I’ll give you a little background. My family is Lutheran, but my mom always felt that we could choose whatever path we wanted when we got older and we did not attend church that much growing up, but it mostly because of judge mental words other church members used against our family once when we were leaving a service. They made sure to say it loud enough for my mom to hear, I will never forget that day. When I was in middle school thru high school I went to a small local Church of Christ on the regular with some friends and attended church camp over the summers. I had developed a zeal for the Lord. I read the Bible a lot. My senior year a friend invited me to a different Bible study and that made me question my walk, my baptism at birth and rebaptism as a teenager, my faith, and the church that I attended for so long. I wanted to learn so much more and attended several more Bible studies and started attending this church, it too was a Church of Christ, but it was different. Then I started recruiting people to come to my found church, I became a disciple of Christ, and I was rebaptised again. I know 3’s a charm right…. I attended the church for just over a year, babysat many members’ kids for free on the regular, thought I was walking a good walk. Like most churches they encouraged dating within the church, but there were not a lot of teenage boys that attended, which was fine by me I didn’t need to date anyone to be happy, I wasn’t lonely or looking anyway. Then one day my Bible leader questioned my faith and asked me a lot of questions that made me feel very uncomfortable. This was normal for leaders to do this, but this time it was enough to send me running out the door and question everything I learned over the years. Apparently I reminded her of her own battles, but she repented, healed her true feelings, and married a man from the same walk. Ironically that question was if I had ever had or acted on feelings for other girls, and if so I needed to admit that and repent for those feelings. I was not ready to admit at that time that I did have feelings for other girls to myself let alone to the someone else; I was hiding my true self for years because of the teachings that said being gay was wrong, it was a sin. It wasn’t until college I faced those religious fears of being my true self, thank God. LOL! Anyway…the chaplain gave a prayer and I didn’t burst into flames.
It was around this time that I realized I hadn’t called my parents to let them know what is going on, it was around 11:30 PM then. I was surprised my mom answered and she didn’t sound groggy, but it was a Friday night. I told her about the EMT, the awfulness of St. Agony’s, the Charlie Chaplain, and that we were awaiting a nurse or doctor to tell us more details. She asked me if wanted her and dad to come up and I to wait. We still didn’t know what was going on, if we were going to be there long, or what. So I told her I would call her back when I had more details, but to stay home and get some rest because I would need them for sure later. Just as I was finishing up a doctor came for us. He took us back to a conference room, which was for whatever reason set to a subzero temperature. He started giving us the details when another doctor came in. He told us that Jackson had suffered a long term seizure and his blood pressure had dropped dangerously low. They are running several tests to rule out viral and bacterial infections, but that they are giving him antibiotics just in case. There is a central line in which to give him medicine and an arterial line to keep him sedated. They are planning to hook him up to an EEG so they can monitor his seizure activity over the next few days. The neurologist spoke in more details on that. They want to do a spinal drip to make sure he doesn’t have meningitis, that made me freak out the most for some reason. He asked us we had any questions. All I wanted to know was is he OK and when could we see him. Sara had so many questions, which is why we are good match because I am just staring off into space and everything the doctors say sounds to me like the Peanuts School Teacher. I am the rub some dirt on it kind of person, Sara wants to know all the details; we switch hats when it comes to health department. He answered all our questions and said it was OK to see him, but only for a moment because they still had some tests they needed to perform. The doctor also informed us that Jackson is connected to a lot of wires and machines, but not to be alarmed by that. He took us back to see our baby. When we went into Jackson's room he really was hooked up to a lot of wires and even though the doctor told us, I still wasn’t that prepared. There was a nurse and someone who works from neurology hooking up the EEG stuff. Sara was asking the nurse a lot of questions and she was answering every question very efficiently, night and day difference from the ER at St. Agony's. The neurology nurse told us we could touch him and talk to him. We couldn’t stay long because they had some more tests to run, but they would come get us when we could be with him full time.
We went back to the smelly parent waiting room. It has been about an hour, so I called my mom. This time she sounded groggy. I told her everything the doctor told me. She said she would come up the next morning or afternoon, my dad had to work. We sat in that waiting room for a few hours, we were all getting antsy. The doctor eventually came back out to let us know he was going to get some sleep before rounds, but told us that he was on call. He didn’t anticipate he would be needed for Jackson, but that we would be able to go back with him shortly. I think another hour passed before we were allowed to go his room, it was around 4:30 or 5:00 AM. The rules of the PICU no more than 4 visitors in the room, parents and/or grandparents visiting hours need not apply, only one person can sleep in the room at a time, and no food. The doctors make rounds starting at 7:00 AM, but we were room 20 and the PICU was full. I knew we weren’t going to be sleeping. Sara’s mom went home to get some rest of her own after seeing him for bit. The nurse came in and out of the room a lot in next few hours. When the doctors made it to us for rounds it was around 9:00 AM. There is a group of 8 -10 doctors that discuss the events of the overnight evening. They go over every detail. When they hooked the EEG up to Jackson, he was still showing seizure activity. So he had a seizure that started around 8:15 PM until 11:30 ish, a little over 3 hours. He had been given anti-seizure medication at St. Anthony’s and them more at Children’s. The seizure had stopped and no further seizure activity had occurred. His blood pressure is stabilized and he is responding well to everything. They were giving him many different antibiotics for just about everything until all the test results came back, one of which made him blotchy, so they started him on Benadryl before giving him that. The detail they give each child is completely amazing. The other doctors ask the your leading doctor questions, I was completely overwhelmed and blown away at this point knowing that we are in the best hands possible. I felt at that moment I could take a sigh of relief.
To be continued..