Part 1 – “Call an ambulance!”
“911 what is your emergency?” said the operator.
“It’s our son! He’s barely breathing! Send an ambulance. Hurry, Hurry!” said Steven as he held our son in his arms rocking back and fourth. Tears were streaming down his face in rivers. “Come quick!” he screamed into the phone.
“Okay sir, stay calm I have dispatched an ambulance to 3131 W. Madison Street is this correct sir?” said the operator in a calm voice.
“Yes, please hurry!” said Steven again as he hung up the phone stroking is his son’s fever pitch forehead.
“Hold on little buddy, hold on. Oh please God don’t take him away from us” he whispered through his trembling lips.
Carol was in shock but was trying to stay calm. She paced back and forth checking the window for the ambulance. They could hear it rushing from down the street with sirens blaring.
“Here they come honey!” said Carol grabbing their son’s two favorite teddy bears Josh & Billy and a pile of his clothes putting them into his school backpack. The paramedics burst into the open door with medical gear and a stretcher.
“We’ll take from here sir” said the lead paramedic as he lifted little Bobby from Steven’s arms taking is temperature.
“One minute he was playing then the next he was on the floor passed out!” said Steven in a panic voice.
“We’ll try and get him stable and then get him to the hospital sir.” Said the lead paramedic putting little Bobby on the stretcher then putting in an IV into his little arm and checking his pulse.
“This is EMC Roger Five I’ve got a PTP (Pediatric Trauma Patient) five years old coming in, ETA less than ten, over” said the second paramedic talking into his shoulder microphone.
“Roger that EMC-5” said the dispatcher.
They rushed little Bobby to the ambulance and locked the stretcher and attached life monitoring system to his little chest.
“Mommy, mommy” whimpered little Bobby as he was slowly responding to the IV and fresh oxygen.
“Bobby, Bobby!!!” cried out Carol as she stepped into ambulance reaching for his little hand. “Mommies here baby” she whispered “Mommies here”.
“I’ll follow you in the car” said Steve with his keys in hand.
“Okay honey. He asked for me” Carol said with a weak smile and tears running down her cheeks.
“Don’t worry honey he’ll be okay” said Steven walking backwards watching the doors close to the ambulance.
Traffic moved out of the way as the ambulance sped through town heading for the hospital. The paramedics rustled through equipment and medications as they worked in a calm pace over little Bobby. Carol could see Bobbies eyes peek up then close shut again.
“Is he going to be alright?” said Carol wiping the tears away trying to stay calm.
“We’re doing everything we can Mrs. Brooks. We have him stable now and the fever is slowly coming down.” Said the paramedic watching the monitor gauges holding a stethoscope on little Bobbies chest listening intently to his heart beat.
“Increase the oxygen to ten MPS” ordered the paramedic.
Steven was following close by watching the back of the ambulance intently. He could see the hospital a block away. “Hurry, hurry” whispered Steven to himself gripping the stirring wheel.
The ambulance pulled in to ER with tires squealing. The ER team was standing by outside as they opened the door and pulled out little Bobby.
“PTP, five years old, with a Tachycardia pulse, fever stabilizing, one IV enroot” said the lead paramedic.
“Thanks. We got from here” said the attending ER doctor taking the IV bag from the paramedic.
“I am his mother Carol Brooks!” cried Carol looking at the ER team wheeling little Bobby through the sliding emergency doors.
“Right this way please. Is your husband coming?” asked the attending nurse.
“Yes he’s getting out the car now. There he is! Steven! Over here!” said Carol waving at him.
“Carol, go on inside I’ll be in shortly” said Steven running towards the ER doors.
The doors closed as the ER team pulled equipment from the side walls and started working over little Bobby.
“We’ll keep you informed of his progress Mrs. Brooks” said the attending nurse with her surgical mask on looking intently into her eyes.
“Carol, where is he?” asked Steven as he ran down the hall towards her.
“He’s in surgery. They said they’ll keep us informed. Oh Steven I don’t know what I’d do if anything happened to him” Carol said in a weak voice.
“I am sure he’ll be okay honey.” Steven said to her trying to sound as sure as he could.
“Carol!” screamed Steven. Carol had fainted and passed out on the floor next to Steven. The nurses ran from behind the admissions desk.
“We got her sir. The stress has made her faint. We’ll get her into a bed” said the nurse in a reassuring smile. “Trust me, she’s okay”.
Carol was sleeping peacefully after they gave her a sedative to calm her down. The doctors were still in the operating room with little Bobby. The nurse told me it would probably be a couple of hours before we would know anything. I called father O’Malley at the Mother of Mercy Catholic church we go to, our parents, our sisters and brothers.
“Here’s some coffee Mr. Brooks” said the attending nurse.
“Thank you” I said warming my hands on its side taking a sip.
“I’ll let you know as soon as we know something” she said.
“Please do, as soon as you know anything” I said looking up from my coffee. She closed the door quietly behind her. I sat and watch Carol as she slept.
The door opened slowly. It was father O’Malley.
“How you be doin’ my son” he said in a calm Irish accent.
“I am hanging in there father O’Malley.”
He pulled up a chair next to the bed and looked at Carol.
“This must be very stressful for her?” he said holding her hand.
“Yes it has been father. She fainted shortly after they took little Bobby into the operating room.” Carol began to slowly open her eyes.
“Steven? Steven?” she whispered trying to focus on me.
“I am here Carol. See? Feel my hand” I said reaching to her.
“Father O’Malley! Is little Bobby okay?” she said gripping his hand.
“Shhhh now my child. They be doin’ everything they can.” Father O’Malley said with a soft smile.
The door opened and in came a doctor with a chart in his hand.
“How’s our son?” cried out Carol with tears running down her face.
“He’s doing fine Mr. & Mrs. Brooks. We have moved him to ICU and monitoring him. I am Doctor Robert Fitzgerald the lead surgeon. Your son has an atrial septal defect (ASD). This is an abnormal opening in the hearts wall that divides the two upper chambers of the heart (the atria). This opening may allow blood from either side of the heart to cross into the opposite atrium.”
He flipped a couple of pages and continued.
“Usually, because the left side of the heart is at a higher pressure than the right side, blood from the left atrium will flow to the right atrium and subsequently back to the lungs. This abnormal shunting of oxygen-rich blood back into the oxygen-poor right side of his heart is referred to as a left-to-right shunt. Because the right side of the heart and the blood vessels in the lungs are not built to withstand increased volumes and pressures, left-to-right shunting could have resulted in heart failure or heart rhythm problems. This is what caused little Bobby to start having breathing problems and pass out.”
“We performed an Atrial Septal Defect Closure procedure to repair his heart”.
“O’ Dear heavenly father” said father O’Malley.
“Bobby is stable and in very capable hands in the ICU unit. The nurses their have children of their own and know how you feel and will watch over him like guardian angels” said Doctor Fitzgerald.
“Can we go see him?” asked Carol sitting up in the bed.
“Yes, I’ll get the nurse to come in with a wheelchair and you all can go down and see him. Now he will be asleep and you can only see him from an observation window.” Said Doctor Fitzgerald holding Carol’s hand.
“Bless you my son, and may God continue to guide your healing hands.” Said father O’Malley hold the doctor’s hands.
“Thank you father, I’ll check on Bobby in a couple of hours.” Said the doctor as he left the room.
The nurse came in shortly with a wheelchair and a blanket for Carol. She helped Carol into the wheelchair and lead us down the hall to the ICU where little Bobby is. The walk seemed endless and forever. We could hear beeping monitoring systems coming from dark low lit rooms as we walked pass other children being monitored as well. I swallowed hard as we approached little Bobby’s room.
“Room 8, this is it” said the nurse pausing. Carol reached for my hand.
“I’ll be just over here at the nursing station if you need anything. We’re keeping a close eye on him” said the nurse.
My heart was pounding as I wheeled Carol up to the glass.
“Oh’ my god” cried Carol as she burst into tears.
I took a deep breath and fought back the tears as I looked at little Bobby laying their with little strips of tape over his eyes, a breathing respirator tube in his mouth, little IV’s in his arm, and a beeping monitor with a glowing steady pulse of his weak heart.
“My little Bobby” whispered Carol placing her hand on the glass. “My poor little Bobby”.
Father O’Malley started a prayer… “Dear heavenly father, I asked that you look over little Bobby and bless his heart so that it may be strong again. I know father that from time to time you must call home some of your children, but bless all these little ones and give them life so that they may go home to their loving parents. Steven and Carol are good and loving parents dear heavenly father. We ask that you let your sweet grace shine upon this little family that have gone through so much today. This I ask in your holly name. Amen.
Part 3 “We’re moving him to a private room”
We both had been taking turns at the hospital with little Bobby. He rested peacefully through out the days as nurses and doctors would go in and out administering medications and checking his vital signs. I saw Carol coming down the hallway as I was standing at the coffee vending machine.
“Any word or changes?” she asked.
“Nothing yet” I said taking the coffee from the machine. We both saw Doctor Fitzgerald coming from little Bobbie’s room with a chart in his hand and started towards us.
“Mr. and Mrs. Brooks, good you’re both here. Well, good news, we’re moving him from ICU in a couple of hours. If you want to see him now you can. Now he’s still weak, but responsive. Don’t get him too excited okay?” he said looking intently at both of us.
“Yes doctor” we both said with big smiles. We walked down the hall to little Bobbie’s room where we was laying with his eye open looking around.
“Hello honey” said Carol pulling up a chair and holding his little hand. Little Bobby tugged at Carol’s hand and smiled.
“Hello mommy” he said in a small weak voice.
“Hello baby. I love you” said Carol stroking his forehead. “You’ve been sleeping for a long time” she continued.
“I am thirsty mommy” he said.
“I’ll get the nurse” I said to Carol. “I’ll be right back little man” I said to little Bobby.
“Mommy, my chest hurts a little. Am I okay?” little Bobby said looking intently at Carol.
“Yes baby, you’re okay now. You had a little boo boo, so the doctors fixed you all up better. They said it would hurt for a little while but you will be fine now.” Said Carol smiling holding back her tears of joy.
“Here you go champ” I said handing Carol a small bowl of ice chips.
“The nurse said he can have these. Just hold them up to his lips. Don’t let him swallow them. She’ll be in shortly to change his IV.” I said.
“Here you go honey. Just let the ice melt and swallow slow” said Carol holding the ice up to little Bobbie’s lips.
“Mommy said I’ll be okay daddy” said little Bobby smiling and looking up at me.
“That’s what the doctor said champ and I believe them. I love you” I said holding his hand.
“I love you to daddy”.
Father O’Malley came in while I was talking with the doctor. “Hello little Bobby, how you be doin’ today?” said father O’Malley with a big smile.
“Fine father, my chest hurts a little but I am brave” little Bobby said smiling.
“That you are Bobby. I’ll be sayin’ an extra prayer for you at the church today to help make it feel better okay?” said father O’Malley.
“Thank you father for coming by” said Carol in a tearful smile.
“Bless you my child. It’s not his time to go, but many blessed years to come, don’t ya be worrin’ no more” said father O’Malley holding Carol’s hand.
Three months have passed since little Bobbie’s operation. His check ups have been perfect with small adjustments to his medications. The doctors said he will live a normal and healthy life. This was truly a test of our love and faith. Father O’Malley has been keeping in touch and every Sunday we bring little Bobby to Mother of Mercy services, where we tell everyone of our faith in god and the miracle of the guardian angel that watched over our little Bobby.