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Sunday, November 13, 2011

Lessons in Perspective


I have a friend who is taking a course in photography and her latest assignment was to shoot from the perspective of something or someone else. So she chose Christian, and kind of by default, me. She took the picture of Christian's little, blond head and his perspective on the playground. I really just love this picture for all kinds of reasons.

Perspective was the reoccurring theme this weekend. It's an abstract idea, really, because perspective is a different experience for everyone. And that's selling the idea short. So often we loose perspective and we forget what's really important in life. Tragic events, in the meanest way, return perspective back to us. And then our perspective changes, temporarily, long term, both. And the perspective of others changes. It's ever transforming, ever evolving.

I was cleaning out my files, something I rarely do. I went through every single one. I read everything in each file and came out of it with a garbage bag and a half of trash and three quarters of a day gone. Oh, procrastination! Why do you make me pay!

Of course, I came across the PICU discharge report. Of course. I mean what else would you come across when you're going through your own files and you're all alone and Itunes just hit some song from Adele on your playlist? Of course you find it.

I was actually interested to read through it. I opened it and started to read with a matter-of-fact-ness. Especially now knowing and understanding a lot of the terminology. I started to read almost as an outsider, like a nurse reading discharge papers but with a small voice in my head reminding me to tread lightly.

"...He did not regain consciousness, nor have any spontaneous breathing prior to intubation by paramedics...he received epinephrine 0.1 mg x8doses at 1:10,000 concentration, atropine 0.2 mg x3 doses, and bicarbonate 10 mEq x3doses...and CPR was conducted. The patient had ROSC at 1810 hours. Initial rhythm was PEA."

Wait. What was that? What's ROSC? And what's PEA? Hello, google.

According to our friends at Wikipedia:

Return of spontaneous circulation (ROSC) is resumption of sustained perfusing cardiac activity associated with significant respiratory effort after cardiac arrest.[1] Signs of ROSC include breathing, coughing, or movement and a palpable pulse or a measurable blood pressure.

That did me in. I wasn't treading lightly anymore. This was very, very heavy. And out of nowhere came tears and...perspective. He was hiding, that perspective, just waiting to pounce.

I think what got me was the word spontaneous. Now I'm sure there's a real nurse out there ready to tell me I'm probably reading too much into this but, to me, as I understand it, the medical staff worked on him with all their skill and might with basically no change. He was clinically dead. They almost called it. Until we came in. And you know the story.

No matter how forsaken I feel sometimes, no matter how jaded or weary I get, I feel deep down in my soul that's when God took over. They might call it spontaneous. I call it a profound Divine intervention.

The report goes on to note initial rhythm was PEA and according to Medscape Resource PEA is Pulseless Electrical Activity. The website also says the overall mortality rate is high in patients in whom PEA is the initial rhythm during cardiac arrest.

By all of the accounts above, Christian shouldn't have made it. He wasn't going to, except for that on his way to heaven he heard me calling and made a u-turn. Call it medical science, call it spontaneous, I call it God - that boy has business here on earth and there is a reason he made it. There is a reason for him. He may not walk, he may not talk, but he has a purpose here. I believe it.

And what's more, every single minute past the point of his life is a gift. As another special needs parent said, it's borrowed time. And I'm grateful for all of it.

Those tears that hit me weren't sad tears. They were tears of profound gratitude. They were tears of not so much disbelief, but simply awe at how amazing his survival is.


P.S. Christian was sick all last week with cold and fever junk. The cough they said he'd never have is strong and forceful and kept everything out of his lungs. And it's not spontaneous. It's purposeful. I'm happy to report he's feeling better, by the way.


ferfischer said...

First of all, I'm jealous you look so good from the back. Not many people can say that, you know. Second, I am so happy I don't think I have the "full discharge report/story" - I'm not sure even I know the whole story. Third - yay for going through your files - something I need to do desperately. Fourth, yes, our perspective as parents of these kids is something fragile and invaluable. And I'm sure it will change over time. But you're right - this is borrowed time, and every minute is a gift. <3 friend.

Alicia said...

Amazing picture and an awesome post!

Anonymous said...

Simply divine..... your boy and you! Christian's purpose is to teach all of us to keep everything in perspective. I'm learning every day Christian, because of teachers like you.

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