It has been one year and 5 months since I sat in PICU, looking at my beautiful son, lying in a bed, unconscious, with most his hair shaved off, tubes down his throat, coming from his hands, his heart, his arms, monitors on every side and a shunt sticking out of a hole cut in his skull to drain fluid from his brain. I still tear up as I write this.
When the vein burst in Alex’s head and we rushed him to the nearest hospital, they put us in an examining room. No doctor came in. Alex had no sight in one eye and was in and out of consciousness. His pain was unfathomable and they could not even get a temperature because he was panting, shaking and sweating so badly. Besides a couple of nurses, the only one who made it into the room was a guy with a computer and a credit card machine to collect my $100 emergency room co-pay. After an hour I was beside myself and told them we were leaving. A nurse took pity and found a doctor. Then, and this is the only cliché that fits, all hell broke loose.
Al was whisked off to a CAT scan followed by a trip to the Red Room a staging area used for severe cases to be prepped for transfer to the nearest trauma center. At one point I counted seventeen people working on my son. I couldn’t even see him on the table through all the bodies. The look on everyone’s faces was between desperation and pity.
After the ambulance ride to hospital #2, the gurney Alex was on was ripped away from me and the next thing I knew he was given an operation to relieve the pressure on his brain. He remained unconscious when I saw him again. The next day Dr. Nagib came over from his hospital to consult on the case.
What can I say about you doctor Nagib.
Maybe I should just repeat the words I heard over and over from surgeons, nurses, anesthesiologists and many others, “If it was my child, he is the only surgeon I would let touch them.” You were understanding and very clear on the severity of the situation. We decided to move Alex to hospitals #3 and 4. It was the best decision I have ever made in my life.
I am grateful to everyone who prayed for, and worked so hard to save Alex, but I have a special place in my heart for you Dr. Nagib. Through each surgery that different teams performed you were so clear and calm as you informed us of each hurdle Alex had to face. A few people had told me you did not have the best bedside manner. I beg to differ. The day you performed the surgery to remove the dead vein tissue it was an excruciating wait. After hours of surgery passed I could see from the information screen that Alex was in post-op and my heart was in my throat. You came into the waiting room with the biggest and brightest smile on your face. That was all the bedside manner I needed. You saved my son.
I suspect this seems like a long time to wait to say how eternally grateful I am, but the feelings have been so deep that no words seemed enough. All I can say is…Alex turns 13 in May. Thank you.