Monday, December 3, 2007

Au Revoir, Les Enfants

My experience is limited. I was licensed in the Spring so its been not quite a year, I'm still having 'first experiences'. Saturday was my first psychiatric emergency. A few months ago I had my first infant arrest. Someday there'll be so many different things that I'll have to give the experiences different names, but for now, that infant arrest is referred to in my house as 'that baby'.
'That baby' presented with severe difficulty breathing. His mother, suspecting something was wrong, didn't put him in his crib that night. She was sitting in a chair holding him, and put her head back, but when she heard him make a little squeaking sound, she looked down to see frightened, staring eyes and purple skin. She did rescue breathing. He settled into a startling purple-yellow and she got going calling EMS.
He was only a few days old, and premature. When she got onto the ambulance with him he looked like a doll the color of an old bruise. They fought for hours to stabilize him, flew him to another hospital, where it was discovered that he was septic. He ended up elsewhere and a liver transplant was considered, but ultimately his little body wore out and he died.
I wanted to write about that baby before. Lots of things came to mind but most of it sounded hollow. Its a hard old world sometimes and not everyone gets a happy ending. There is hope, for sure, but sometimes invoking hope in the face of wordless grief cheapens both.
I'm thinking about him today because the other day I saw his mother. The last time I saw her, she was exhausted. She hugged me before she left the ER and I was hit with a wave of heat from the raging fever that would hospitalize her as well, later that day.
This time, I saw her smile. She didn't recognize me, and I was glad. I was hoping she was having one nice day and a break from the memory. He's just 'that baby' to me and there is an empty place in my heart that I am okay to carry. I hope that what she carries is a burden she can shoulder though I do not pretend to understand how.

2 comments:

Beware: Social Worker on the edge said...

oh wow...see this is why I cannot do what you do.

Jonny's Mommy said...

I am in tears. I have no idea how you do what you do. God bless your resolve and your willingness to serve.