I was just about to crawl into my bed when I got the call every parent hopes they never get.
My firstborn, a 23-year-old who was a perfectly healthy child growing up, was bleeding internally. The surgeon promised they’d do everything possible to save her life and the unborn grandson she’s carrying.
I remembering hearing those words, but couldn’t grasp them fully. I just spoke to her the day before. She was fine. Bored with being stuck at home, but otherwise doing okay.
The nation was in the early phases of living by strict orders to protect our well-being. As crazy as it seems, I had elected to relocate from Wisconsin to Texas for work purposes. My two teen boys stayed behind with their dad to finish out the remainder of their online courses, and my eldest daughter was on leave from her job since it was not deemed an essential workplace.
It did give me some peace of mind to know all three of my kids were going to have less exposure to a virus spreading through the area now like wildfire.
Pretty much everyone was so wrapped up in what they could do to prevent COVID-19, it almost seemed like all other medical issues temporarily took a backseat. Not that any of those conditions weren’t any less critical. People were just more focused on looking out for the virus’ symptoms than anything at the moment.
When I got that phone call about my daughter’s deteriorating health, she had just entered the sixth month of pregnancy days before. The concerning part was how she was experiencing chest pains, difficulties walking, and dizziness. Her obstetrician demanded she board an ambulance to the nearest hospital as a precautionary measure.
During his time I did my best to remain calm only to avoid freaking out my son-in-law. He was not allowed to be in the first responder vehicle alongside my daughter as a way to avoid overexposure to the on-call paramedics.
My motherly instincts knew this was not a favorable situation, but I needed to do everything possible to remain optimistic.
My cellphone never left my side as I laid in bed waiting for an update. When I did receive some news around 3 A.M., it wasn’t good. My daughter was being transported on another ambulance to a second hospital where they were equipped to handle her current medical crisis: Internal bleeding from a ruptured mass that was on her liver.
Emergency surgery to save the life of my fragile daughter and unborn grandbaby was underway. If this were before the coronavirus outbreak, I would have driven myself to the nearest airport and waited for the next flight to Wisconsin, but we are living under a new set of rules. Ones are state ordinances that involve the safety of the medical providers, their supporting staff, and first responders.
Boarding a flight was pointless.
I would have to follow once again the CDC guidelines that I followed when I arrived in Texas, which involved self quarantining myself before starting my first day of work. Then there’s this particular hospital’s strict policy of allowing only one support person. No rotating allowed! A person would be designated and would be the only one allowed to be around my daughter while she fought for her life and that of her baby.
As much as I ached to be near my daughter while she experienced so many life-altering moments in a period of 72 hours, I also was rational.
I calmed down enough to be understanding and respectful of the hospital’s current policies.
Traveling 1300 miles on a plane not knowing if I had been exposed to COVID-19 during my time in Texas or could be exposed en route to the hospital was irresponsible on my part.
The surgeons, physicians, and nurses’ safety are in jeopardy each day they walk through those hospital doors. These individuals have families too. It wasn’t fair to put them at medical harm’s way for me to pitch a fit and demand to be with my daughter. After all, these are the well-trained people looking after my daughter’s and future grandson’s well-being and are not held accountable for the chaos the world is in at the moment.
My daughter and my grandson survived both medical crises. Her road to recovery is still a very long one. She’ll require an extended hospital stay to monitor her vitals and the baby’s daily until he is delivered at an early date to avoid further complications.
I video chat with her often. Being able to see her vibrant smile and hear her silly remarks about random things is one of the best gifts I can have during these trying times. The plan is to visit her when the risks involved in doing so are very low. Again, I have to think of the others I would come into contact with. It’s the right thing to do in this crazy world we were unexpectedly thrown into.
To all first responders and medical staff who spend countless hours facing the uncertainty of this COVID-19 epidemic and still show up to do your job knowing all the risks, had it not been for your dedication to your patients; thank you so much for that!