A few hours later his heart rate was elevated, his breathing was shallow and fast, and a fever was spiking. The nurses spun into action calling the pain management, metabolics, neurology, anesthesia, surgeons, ICU Rapid Response Team, respiratory technicians, x-ray. Labs were drawn. X-rays were taken. Examinations were done. At one point there was more than 10 of us standing around his bed, watching his every breath.
As there was no clear cause, a decision was made to transfer him to the PICU (pediatric intensive care unit) for closer observation. While many might consider the PICU a scary place, we learned long ago that it is a safe place, a healing place.
A dedicated nurse pays continual attention to every aspect of the patients treatment to ensure they are cared for. Doctors and teams with specialized training carry a smaller 'patient to doctor' ratio to ensure the patients receive the right treatment quickly.
Though exhausted, Deana and I transfer into urgent mode monitoring every decision, checking every medication, and actively participating in Max's care.
Just before laying our heads down to sleep, Deana and I looked into the hallway outside the ICU room and thought we saw a familiar face. In the fall of 2004, Max had an extended PICU stay for double pneumonia. During that stay, Elizabeth was our nurse for several weeks.
It was indeed her.
We have thought fondly of her for years and wondered how she was. She affected Max's life and our lives in a profound way. She's one of the few early nurses we haven't been able to find since that time.
I stepped out in the hallway and called her name. We reminded her of the name Maximilian and a long PICU pneumonia stay. She remembered and expressed how she has thought of him through the years. It was a sweet few minutes of sharing about him and what he has been able to accomplish so far because of how she cared for him back then.
This day we have walked in the counsel of heroes who save our son's life many days, both today and in the beginning.
Tonight we rest. He is trending the right direction. We need rest and recovery tonight so he can stand to fight another day.