I’m sitting in one of those hospital wheelchairs that are usually littered about the Emergency Room entrance. I ‘m in my son’s hospital room; an imposing machine takes up a majority of the real estate with tubes of bright blood flowing out and returning to it. A giant dial turns methodically and a man stands guard–his sole purpose to monitor this machine, the machine that is keeping my son alive.
I am not at his bedside, though. I am sitting in my wheelchair, my husband standing behind me as we wait to hear from the doctor what we already know will be bad news–they had warned us over the phone when they requested our presence at the hospital.
The doctor sits across from me. He is seated so we are eye to eye. In the background hovers a woman who I will later learn is a social worker and she smiles reassuringly. There are a lot of people in the room moving here and there, but I can only focus on the immediate. Is it possible that the lights are dimmed? Or is that just my memory softening the moment a little?
The doctor begins talking about brain bleeds and about the grades of bleeds. I’m in a haze of medication, but I know that this is not going to be a conversation with a happy ending. A grade I is the best type of bleed and grade IV is the worst. I say a quick prayer that it’s a III–anything but a worst-case scenario, but my prayer is too little, too late, and the doctor reveals that he has had a Grade IV bleed. And then the discussion turns to “options for removing support.” This is, of course, a euphemism for “let you baby die,” and it is at this moment that my ears stop working. I am unable to process the words as the doctor lays out these “options” for us. I do know that I now hate the soft-faced man who would like to help me end my child’s life.
The doctor stops speaking and I turn to my husband unsure of what we are supposed to be deciding when all the options lead to a dead baby. My husband, however was unwilling to choose–unwilling to select from the myriad of bad options and says, “we’ll wait until all the tests are done.”
The tests? My mind spins and I look up at him as I try to remember what tests they could be doing. Of course–THE test. Already pronounced “likely brain dead,” they will do an EEG to verify and they are in the process of hooking him up to a million tiny wires as we sit there. The other doctor in the room–a neurologist in blue scrubs–assures us that it is a foregone conclusion. He averts his gaze after making this statement and becomes very busy with the wires.
My husband says we will wait and in that instant I know that is the right decision. We will support our son–a life we waited for with high hopes. We will handle things if they take a turn for the worst, but we won’t speed up the process. We are his parents.
Everything that we are now is a result of that instant, that decision.
And there are no regrets.
This post was written in response to a link by The Red Dress Club:
For this week, we want you to imagine that after you have died and your daughter/son will be given the gift of seeing a single five-minute period of your life through your eyes, feeling and experiencing those moments as you did when they occurred. What five minutes would you have him/her see? Tell us about them in the finest detail. Let’s have a maximum word count of 700 words for this post.