When Clay was three months old we were, once again, setting up camp in the hospital. He had his third bout with pneumonia and was placed in the Intermediate Care Unit of the hospital. I am ashamed to say that I was relieved when he was sent to this unit because it gave me a chance to go home and rest and take care of Bret, who was 2 1/2 at the time. (That last statement seems odd because how do you rest and take care of a 2 1/2 year old?) Regardless, it was a time for me to relax for a while knowing that there were nurses stationed in his room at all times.
I dropped off Bret at my mothers house and my father and I drove to the hospital. I had an odd feeling about him that morning and would find out in the years to come, the strange feeling in the pit of my stomach was not to be ignored.
We got to the 3rd floor and I my heart was beating so hard I thought it would pop out of my chest. I wanted to cry; not the random tear down the cheek, but the kind of cry that brings uncontrollable breathing and sobbing. I could see that there was no one attending his crib and ran to the side and saw that he was having a grand mal seizure.
His little eight pound body was contorted in such a way that at first I didn’t know how to pick him up. His legs and feet were bent backwards, as was his head and he was in a full out backward bend! I was screaming for someone…anyone…to help me! The nurse came and said she would page the doctor and I know that if I hadn’t had Clay in my arms I would have knocked her off her feet. Oh, God! Please help us!
FIFTY THREE minutes went by before Clay was administered an anti-seizure drug. I had handed my father the baby and raced out to the lobby to call our neurologist. This was in 1988, so I didn’t have the convenience of a cell phone. The neurologist was able to locate the doctor on call and the medication was ordered. I am not sure if the delay was on the part of the doctor or the in house pharmacy or the nurse whom I officially despised. But he received his medicine and his body lay limp in his little crib.
I don’t know how long I stayed by his side that day. His body was covered in perspiration, as was mine, and he had a very blank stare. From that day on, until his last breath was taken, he never took another bottle. The darkness of that seizure had not only removed his ability to swallow but had also devoured his sight.