Am I losing them Both?
Over the spring months Dave was spending less and less time at home. He went away most weekends even if it meant camping in the rain by himself. I thought he was having trouble at work. Late one night at the beginning of July I commented to him that I loved him. I asked him if he loved me. I know, dumb question likely. He said no he didn’t and he didn’t want to be married to me anymore. I was shocked. I’d never even dreamed that things were that wrong. He said he had known since the day I went to pick Kayda up from respite instead of going to the hospital with him, that he couldn’t stay with me anymore. He didn’t like the fact that I chose to care for her before tending to him.
The next couple of days were very difficult with Dave still living in the house. We tried avoiding each other but it wasn’t easy. I told him it wouldn’t work and he said he’d move to a camp site on the weekend.
It was during this time that Kayda was having her gurgly spells. She was usually gurgly by afternoon each day but would settle with repositioning. For several days though she’d been gurgly most of the time. Two days after Dave’s stunning announcement Kayda had an appointment with the dentist to have a tooth filled. I’d just been taking her to the dentist at the local mall and he’d been really good with her. This was her first filling though. I gave her a sedative before we left. She was really gurgly and I wasn’t sure if we should go ahead with the filling but her oxygen level was quite good. Her social worker came too just to see that she was cared for properly by the dentist. I can still remember Kayda there, very drowsy and smiling as the dentist is drilling her tooth. I said “Kayda you don’t have to smile when someone is doing that to you”.
I spent some time talking with the social worker after the dental visit about Dave’s leaving. She reassured me that I wouldn’t lose Kayda and that she would try to get me extra support.
That night I remembered that we had a partial suite in our basement so I suggested to Dave that he live there rather than in a camp site. I was really dumb being nice to him like that. But…
When I was putting Kayda to bed that night I noticed she was breathing heavier and faster than usual. Her oxygen level was lower too. Over the next few hours I watched her breathing speed up and become more labored and her oxygen level drop. I finally phoned the GPs’ on call number and they recommended I take her into the hospital. I remember stopping for gas on the way and Dave being there. He looked at her and checked her oxygen level and said that she’d probably be fine if I just took her home. Of course I knew she at least needed to be checked out at the hospital. As I still didn’t trust the local hospital I drove the almost hour long drive to the one we usually used.
We arrived around midnight and she was obviously sick enough for them to put her in one of the beds with a monitor rather than in the pediatric section of the ER. I sat next to her all night listening to how quickly she was breathing and seeing how low her oxygen level was getting. I knew she was sick. At the same time I was still absolutely devastated over Dave’s leaving. I was worried about how Kayda was doing but figured we were ok as we were at the hospital. No one told me anything all night about whether she was being admitted or not. It turned out that the staff hadn’t wanted to wake up the resident in order to work on getting her a bed. Around 4 am a social worker came in and told me that he was the emergency on call social worker and had been called to come and sign admission papers for Kayda. That was the first hint I had that she was being admitted.
Finally around 6 am she was taken upstairs to pediatrics. We were put in the multi bed “nursery” as usual. She was breathing so fast and grunting by this time. We were basically left alone though as it was shift change and everyone was busy. I sat there, exhausted and worried and just broken up over being on my own with no one to turn to for support. I sat and cried next to Kayda’s bed.
Kayda’s pediatrician came to the ward mid morning. He looked at her, and asked how long she’d been breathing that way? Right away things started to happen very quickly. Within minutes a nurse was busy putting in an IV. The pediatrician asked for the phone number of the person he was supposed to call at the government in order to make critical treatment decisions. And, of course it was a holiday weekend. I was stunned. He told me that she was in very bad shape and quite likely wasn’t going to make it. I just pleaded with him to try and save her. Soon after this one of the nurses came in and grabbed her bed and pushing people out of the way quickly wheeled it to a room right next to the nurses station. Obviously they didn’t want her dying in a room full of babies and their families.
The nurse asked me if I had family around. I told her about Dave (these were all nurses that had known us for years). She said I had to call him and tell him to come in immediately. Then I called the director of the associate family program as all of Kayda’s other workers were on holidays as of midnight the night before. That child of mine. She really picked her times to get sick. I was afraid that we would get into a situation where the Dr wouldn’t want to treat Kayda. I knew I had to have someone “on our side” present. By early afternoon we had 2 or 3 social workers and several nurses plus Dave & I at the hospital prepared to fight for Kayda. Dave had phoned the head nurse for the company he worked for and as Kayda was officially in their program she came in too just in case we needed help. They all discussed their action plan and were prepared to convene an ethics committee meeting on a very short notice. That was always the worst part of Kayda being critically ill; wondering if the Doctors would be willing to treat her appropriately.
Of course, all this was happening after I’d been awake for more than 24 hours. Kayda stabilized by early afternoon although she was still critically ill. As I hadn’t been prepared for her to be admitted, I needed to go home and get some things (the drive was an hour each way). Dave agreed to stay with Kayda That was pretty dumb of me to make that drive with no sleep but I did it. I remember sending an email to the Our Kids list (this was the first mailing list I joined after getting internet access) and telling people about Kayda’s illness and Dave’s leaving me. I remember telling them that I was going to now go back to the hospital and start adjusting to being a single mother.
The next morning although she was still very ill, Kayda was showing her spunk again. Because she was on such a high amount of oxygen she had a mask on which she hated. The only time she would tolerate the mask was when she was too sick to fight it. She kept fussing so I picked her up mask and all. There she was laughing through her oxygen mask as I held her. She’d fooled them all again. She was in the hospital for about a week.
The one good thing that came out of the hospitalization was that the orthopedic surgeon saw her and said that she didn’t have to wear the abduction brace during the day any more. Yeah!!!!! He also had a spinal xray done. He said that her spine looked good and that she didn’t need a back brace. I told him that she’d been wearing one for several years by that time. Oh, keep it up, he said. Sometimes these Doctors don’t seem to notice or remember much about their patients.