Tag Archives: zach

Moving On!

love of a family

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!

One Day at a Time

one day at a time

I haven’t posted about Zach in a few days. The last two weeks have been crazy for his family.  They have been on an emotional roller coaster and their strength and love for their son could not have been more evident.  His mother hasn’t left his side and everyday she sends out an email letting everyone know about how he is doing.  Her emails go from being extremely positive and uplifting to depressed and sorrowful.  Every time he seemed to make a turn for the better, he would fall back a step. I know this was hard for his parents to witness.

On Monday, when he was weaned off of the paralytic and woke up for the first time in nine days, I got to see him with his eyes open and to talk to him and let him know just how much he was loved by everyone. I don’t know how aware he was of what was going on at that point, but I knew he could understand me, and the pure joy in his mom’s face was an expression I will never forget. Unfortunately, with him waking up, he was also now in pain and Marnie’s email the next day was heartbreaking. She wrote,

We wished and wished for Zach to wake up – well, be careful what you wish for.  He was awake on and off in a sleepy, dazed kind of way.  He tried to communicate, but we could not possibly understand him.  He can’t make any sound and it is hard to read his lips with the tube in his mouth.  He is too drugged and weak to write.  We were able to understand a few things though.  He was hungry, thirsty, cold and in pain.  As we could not give him food, drink, covers or control his pain – we felt painfully helpless.  Zach was frustrated and we were frustrated.  Now that Zach was awake, all I wanted the nurses to do was to put him back to sleep.  He seemed so much more peaceful sleeping.

After such a happy Monday night, to read that email, my heart ached for him.  My heart ached for all of them.  The emails since that day have been mixed with highs and lows.  His lung infection is improving and he is no longer on a ventilator but now, he needs to go through painful respiratory treatments which are torture for his parents to watch.  There are still a few surgeries for him to face, one of them is today and I have been praying that it goes smoothly and that Zach is resting comfortably after it.

He is such a compassionate kid and his mom wrote that even while he is as sick as he is, he is actually that same old sensitive boy, thanking the nurses and trying to smile through his pain when visitors come to see him.  I know that he still has a very long way to go in his recovery, and I hope as each day passes the pain lessens for him.

Someone wrote on his mother’s Facebook page that the love for him could fill a stadium, so perfect for a boy that loves sports so much.  It is so evident.  His mother’s email are going out to hundreds of people.  His parent’s Facebook pages are filled with messages of love and support.  I know I am not alone when I say I have people emailing me asking about him on a daily basis.  Even strangers have reached out after reading his story on my blog.  I figured giving an update would be a good thing and continue the prayers and love for him and for his family as he continues on his long and difficult recovery.  We all love you Zach!