This afternoon, I had some free time and I decided that I would go and see if I could visit with Zach for a little while. Zach is a former student of mine who has been very sick with MRSA and ARDS (acute respiratory distress syndrome). He has been in the pediatric ICU for three weeks. I have visited with him and his family twice before today. The first time, he was completely sedated and I was there mostly to offer my love and support to his parents Marnie and Joe. The second time I visited, he had just been weaned off of the paralytic and was beginning to wake up. That day, I sat with him and talked to him for a little while. He was nodding his head and making some lip movements like he was trying to speak to us. Though his parents’ emails, we learned that they could not even take it day by day because each time they took two steps forward, it seemed that there would be a set back, making them fall one step back.
Their last few emails have been much more positive which is why I was hoping it would be a good day to visit. When I got to his room, the curtains were drawn and the room was dark. I assumed Zach was asleep and decided that I’d wait in the waiting room for Marnie and just visit with her for awhile. One of the nurses told me that Marnie was in the room and that I should just go in. I tiptoed in, hoping to not disturb Zach. What I saw brought tears to my eyes. Zach was awake, watching television and gave me a huge smile. I sat with him and Marnie for awhile and it was so good to hear him talk and to see his smile – which still lights up the room! I had brought him some mini cupcakes from a local bakery, hoping that it might be something he’d like to eat because I know he is still does not have much of an appetite.
Zach is still in pain and he still has months of recovery ahead of him, but while I was there, a nurse came in and told them that he is “stepping down.” He will be leaving the PICU and heading to another room to continue his recovery. Sometime next week, he will leave the hospital and go to a rehabilitation facility where he will stay until he is strong enough to go home. Baby steps, but they are headed in the right direction!
Soon after I arrived, his aunt and uncle did too. After that, the room was just filled with laughter. Marnie said it was the happiest she had seen him in weeks. When his grandparents arrived a few minutes later, the room was bursting with joy. I figured it was time for me to go. I gave Marnie a big hug and let her know that I could not wait to write my blog tonight knowing that it was going to be such a happy one!