One year ago today, December 9, around 8am I was barely awake resting in bed, laid up from my hip surgery with limited mobility. My twilight state was abruptly interrupted by the door flying open and a serious Scarlett saying “Mama, Daddy needs you.” I knew immediately something was wrong with Blake. Feeling stuck, I had to physically lift my leg with my hands to maneuver it off the bed. I then hobbled on my crutches down the hall as fast as possible. This was the 2nd time Blake had stopped breathing, and his 4th crisis.
Our little guy had expressed to Rob that his chest hurt, and immediately started to fade. We contemplated hooking up his oxygen from the bedroom, but quickly decided to make the emergency 911 call. We tried to shield a frightened Scarlett as I frantically spoke to the dispatcher and Rob moved Blake from the couch to the floor. He administered rescue breaths, but again no compressions as there were intermittent signs of life.
Station 24 arrived very quickly. Before we knew it, the paramedics and all their equipment rolled up our walkway. I can’t help but think about how scary it must have been from Scarlett’s perspective. It was the 2nd time she had witnessed her brother go down, and experienced the intimidation of a team of medics in uniform, medical supplies and a stretcher rushing through the door. I wasn’t allowed to hold much weight after my surgery – but all that went out the window in this crisis scenario. I scooped her up and carried her out of the way as the chaos ensued.
Rob went with Blake in the ambulance and I received a message that he was stable again on the ride. He was on room air by the time I arrived in the ER. It seemed like a giant unbelievable blip in our morning as Blake was totally acting like himself within minutes of nearly dying. It will forever be difficult to process how he was able to live so fully, but in reality be teetering on the verge of death. His condition was like a switch – you just didn’t know when it would flip and what the result would be.
It was that day that we found out that not only had his condition declined, it was worse than his original admission in the ICU. That devastating update was followed by the news that a lung transplant would be his only chance and that it couldn’t happen locally at Rady’s. We would have to be transferred to a hospital that had the care he would need – Texas Children’s in Houston. Blake’s future was so uncertain, but our hopes remained high. He just looked so good.
We had hoped we would never have another emergency call or ambulance ride. I used to tell Blake that was the deal. We didn’t mind living in the CVICU from time to time, but he wasn’t allowed to go by ambulance anymore. So much for that…
This is a tough day to look back on. We have so many traumatic days on our rollercoaster that stand out in my mind, this being one where I can recount most of the hours. It makes me sad that I recall so much about this day, but I can’t remember one single thing from December 8th, one day before – which was the last day our little family spent at home together.
There is one thing, however, that stands out positively in hindsight. That morning, Rob and I worked together during this crisis like it was choreographed. This journey has taken its toll on our relationship, but to this day I am proud of how solid we were together for Blake when he was most in need. In my world of never ending “what ifs”, there is no question we did everything right that morning. I will just forever wish there was more we could do.
Missing you more than words, Bockies.