Hell started today. A year ago. The worst thing to ever happen to me started unfolding quickly a year ago today.
We all got up on a Saturday morning. Brooks and Shane went to look at a truck because Brooks had just sold his and he needed a new one. Wyatt was still not feeling good. Brooks and I knew one of us was heading to Prompt Care with him today. Even though the doctor had said to give it through the weekend, we knew we couldn’t. He was surely dehydrated by now. And we really needed to just get him better.
While Brooks and Shane were gone, Wyatt laid on the couch. I was trying to get him to drink and eat some toast. I buzzed around the house, tidying up. And subconsciously I think I was praying Wyatt’s condition would suddenly change and he would start feeling better.
At about 10:00, Brooks and Shane were not back yet, but I decided I needed to do something and told Wyatt we were going to Prompt Care. He didn’t want to go. He tried to cry, but he was so weak I don’t think he really could. I vividly remember slipping his slides on his feet for him and shuffling him out to the car. And then shuffling him from the car in to Prompt Care.
We waited a little bit to be seen. Once we got into the room, and the nurses and doctors started to look at him, I started to get scared. I could tell one, they didn’t know what was wrong, and two, whatever it was, was serious.
They took his oxygen and it was 83. That’s not a good number for your oxygen. I didn’t know that at the moment, but I quickly learned an awful lot that day. The nurse seemed a little confused and said she thought maybe they weren’t getting a good reading because he was dehydrated. I would later find out, that wasn’t the case. That number was correct.
After some further examination of Wyatt, one of the doctors finally said, “Your little boy is very sick. He needs to have blood drawn and we can’t do that here. He needs to go to the Emergency Room.” They were going to send us by ambulance, but were honest that it would take some time. I signed a release saying I was transporting him against their recommendation and took him myself.
Within this span of time, Brooks had come to Prompt Care, stayed for a bit and then left. Wyatt’s team had another playoff game and I sent Brooks to take care of the team before I knew we had to go to the ER. We really didn’t know what was going on and obviously didn’t really grasp the seriousness. I don’t think anyone really knew. And I kept reassuring Wyatt and myself that everything would be ok. All along, no one had any clue that Wyatt would die or that he had leukemia.
At the Emergency Room, we would be brought in and Wyatt checked over again. He was so good through the whole thing even though he felt horrible. They took bloodwork and chest X-rays. They initially told me he had pneumonia and that he would probably have to stay a few nights. I was ready to hang out with him for the few days and get him better. Not great news, but I felt as though everything would be ok. I had answers and we were developing a plan. I let Brooks know, hoping to put him at ease.
Then the pediatrician on-call came in to talk to me. He was concerned. He showed me Wyatt’s chest X-ray. He showed me the area of fluid in his right lung. The problem was that he couldn’t tell if the fluid was in his lung or around his lung.
He then went on to tell me that Wyatt’s platelet count was really low and he didn’t know why. All of his other numbers were fine. It didn’t make sense. I remember forcing the question to come out of my mouth…”Is this Leukemia?” He said it wasn’t likely because all of his other numbers were fine. His white blood cells looked ok.
With those two concerns he was sending Wyatt to Sutter. They were better equipped to handle things beyond pneumonia with children. If Wyatt needed a chest tube eventually, Sutter was better prepared to do that.
My mind raced. A chest tube? I didn’t even know what that was. But the bottom line was that I wanted Wyatt to be wherever the best care was.
I quickly agreed, paperwork was signed and preparations began.
While all of this was happening, Brooks’ parents had come to the hospital. And then went to the ball field to get Brooks and Shane. I can’t remember exactly when Brooks got to the hospital or the conversations we had. Once we knew Wyatt was going to Sutter, Brooks left to go to the house and get some things for Wyatt and me and himself. Shane would stay with Brooks’ parents. Brooks would drive to Sutter. I was going in the ambulance with Wyatt.
My mind continued to race. What did this all mean? What was really wrong? How long would we be in the hospital? How quickly could they get Wyatt back to himself? And still, I never even considered that he was dying before my eyes.
So many other things flash through my memories of that day. Blurred conversations. Fear. Strained glances exchanged with Brooks. Wanting to cry, but holding strong for Wyatt. The IV that they couldn’t get in Wyatt’s arm and that was initially put in wrong. How patient he was even though I’m sure it hurt like crazy. The different hospital staff who tried to make Wyatt smile, tried to help him be less scared. How I kept telling him it would all be ok. How I held his hand. Watching him sleep and being glad he could at least rest. Thinking how we were going to figure out what was wrong and we were going to fix it so he could get back to school and baseball.
It wasn’t until about 10:00 or so that the ambulance was finally ready to take us. Wyatt was loaded in. One of the scariest sights in my life – watching my child loaded on a gurny and loaded into the back of an ambulance. I was instructed to get into the front passenger seat (though I wanted to be in the back with Wyatt). And the next leg of our journey began.
I never would have imagined that as I left the house with my sweet boy that morning or as we drove the long drive to Sacramento that night, that I would not be bringing him back home.