The Family

The Family
For Christmas 2010

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Sunday, October 11, 2009

Arriving at Primary Children's

I left Bekah with the nurse and accompanied Nathan and the Life Flight team from the NICU.

We left Labor and delivery and made a brief stop in the waiting room, where both my and Bekah's mothers had been anxiously waiting. We then continued to the elevator, down to the first floor, and out to the skybridge that connects the two hospitals.

The Life Flight team hurried down the crossway. Every moment was critical. Nathan made no movements. No sounds. But the beeping from the monitors seemed to indicate that Nathan was not enjoying the trip.

"He doesn't like the rivots," Andrea, the Life Flight team leader commented to her team members as every few yards the Space Shuttle would "click-clack" over them. It's maybe a 100 yards from one hospital to the other along the skybridge, but for Nathan that morning it probably seemed like a 100 miles.

We reached the other side, entered the building on the 4th floor, and hurriedly continued to the NICU. Once there, I followed Nathan and the team into the closest room, a room that we would later call "The Sickest Baby Room."

Except for 1 nurse (and now us), the room was empty. No other babies. No other staff. No crying. No noise. Just us in a quiet, empty room.

In my head I guess I was expecting "the TV episode" where there are dozens of hospital staff and they are all frantically zig-zagging about trying to get Nathan accommodated. But that wasn't the way.

The quiet was both frightening and reassuring at the same time. They knew we were coming right? They're prepared for us? They know what they're doing? Of course they know what they're doing. Of course they're ready for us.

But what am I supposed to do now? Probably sensing my confusion, a nurse approached me and directed me to the front desk and indicated that he would be able to help me. I signed a few papers, was given a code that we would need to present when we called in to check on Nathan, and a few other items of information.

I was trying my best to listen to everything he was saying, but with an extremely sick baby in the next room, an exhausted wife in the next hospital over, the lack of sleep, and the sheer anxiety of everything, I found it really hard to focus.

A soon as he was done explaining, I finally heard the words I had been waiting to hear: "Do you have any questions?"

"Yes," I replied, "What do I do now?"

At that point, the doctor approached me. "Go back and be with your wife. If you don't hear from us by 6:30, give us a call."

It was 4:30 in the morning. I made the long, lonely walk back to the other hospital, my heart now pulled between 2 places: my wife in one hospital and my son in the other. As I retraced my way back, it was so surreal to think that I was just here a few minutes before chasing the Life Flight team in the other direction. The hallways and skybridge were so quiet. No one else around.

It was going to be a long 2 hours.

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