Thank you for your concern and well wishes. I never meant to worry you or even take this long to explain where I’ve been, but my life has not been my own for the past six weeks.
My daughter’s heart stopped a few minutes into Easter morning. It took 15 minutes of CPR to get it working again, and I believe if she had not already been in ICU, she would not be with me today.
She’d been transferred a few hours earlier because her blood pressure and blood sugar kept dropping, even though she was being flooded with fluids and glucose.
This was six days after she’d been admitted to replace the port she uses to dialyze because of an infection. She had done this several times before without incident as an outpatient.
But this time, between Monday and Saturday, she had acquired a bacterial and a fungal infection in the hospital — particularly nasty, insidious types that are extremely difficult to identify and harder to treat.
She beat those two and another but, she hasn’t been able to breathe deeply enough to come off the vent for any one or combination of reasons. Her aortic valve is narrowed, limiting her ability to pump blood, which is likely a side-effect of renal failure. Her compromised liver is affecting blood’s ability to clot and low levels of albumin make healing slow and difficult.
This past weekend she developed pneumonia.
Her doctors have been a little more than stunned by her resiliency. One pointed out that she’d beaten two blood infections that can kill healthy people who have all their working organs.
That’s my girl.
But today, she’s scheduled for a tracheotomy, to avoid irreversible damage to her trachea from the breathing tube, and G-tube for liquid feeds for the forseeable future.
So why am I telling you this?
To illustrate how delicately balanced is the function of the human body. That the failure of any single organ sends ripples throughout the whole system. Her kidney failure also has caused excruciating nerve pain, seizures and, ironically, extreme high blood pressure.
And there are many more like her. More than 115,000 in America. Waiting on a transplant. Waiting on life.
Now it’s my greatest hope that you and everyone you know and love live long enough that your organs do a full life’s work. Nonetheless, I encourage you to consider being an organ donor. You can learn about the requirements in your state and register your intent at donatelife.net.
My girl has been waiting on a miracle for more than two years. Now it seems we need that and a little more.
Keep her and others like her in your thoughts.
I’ll be back when I can.
I ordered an iPad for my 75-year-old mom, and it arrived today. I opened it to run updates, load some apps, set up the wi-fi and have it ready for use Christmas Day.
But there was a problem. So I contacted Apple Support by chat because I didn’t have a number for the Twilight Zone.
Me: My iPad arrived. IT’S ALL IN CHINESE. WTH?
[Two minutes pass.]
Rep: Hello, this is Cam. Can you state the nature of your problem?
Me: My new iPad arrived today. It’s all in Chinese.
Cam: What’s the problem?
Me: IT’S ALL IN CHINESE!
Cam: Oh. So you don’t speak Chinese?
Me: I’m in Alabama. I don’t have much need for it. And I can’t change it. Why is it in Chinese?
Cam: Well, that’s not right. Where did you order it from?
Cam: Well that’s not good. We can fix this.
Me: That’s why I contacted you.
Cam: Just tap the thing that looks like a gear.
Me: Nothing looks like a gear. It’s a log in screen. IN CHINESE.
Cam: Double tap the screen. What do you see?
Me: CHINESE — IN LARGER CHARACTERS.
Cam: Well that’s not right.
Me: So you’ve said. I clicked what should be the upper right arrow and now I see icons, but no gear.
Cam: The gear is like a circle with notches cut out—
Me: Stop there. I have four iPhones, a handful of iPods, an iMac, two Minis and a MacBook. I don’t need a Mac lesson. I need to know how to reset this instrument. Or an interpreter.
Cam: Do you have a laptop?
Me: … Uh, YES.
Cam: Connect it to the laptop.
Cam: Hold the front and top buttons down until it tells you it can’t sync the iPad.
Me: Will it tell me that IN CHINESE? Because I don’t speak it.
Cam: So you’ve said. No, it should be in English.
Me: Then hit Restore?
Cam: Yes, that’s all. Anything else?
Me: Not unless this doesn’t work.
Cam: That should do it. It will restart in English and then you can set the language you want.
Me: I want ENGLISH. It will take five minutes to restore.
Cam: I can wait with you if you want.
Me: Four minutes.
Cam: I’ll be here. [sigh inferred.]
[Four minutes later]
Me: 完成 [Done.]
Cam: Pardon me?
Me: 它的工作 [It worked]
Me: 謝謝 [Thank you.}
Cam: Very funny.
Me: Merry Christmas!
One final breath.
And she was gone.
My niece, Kaylee, was three months old.
There will be no milestones in her baby book after today.
She will not roll over. Sit up. Crawl.
She will never have a first word, first step, first day of school, first kiss.
She will never walk across a stage, down the aisle or to her own beat.
Some may say she never made a mark in this world. But they would be wrong. Because of her, as many as seven babies will have a chance at life again.
Seven mothers may have hope their children will reach for the dreams they held for them.
And Kaylee will be with them.
Each step of the way.
Hoping it all goes to my boobs!