Typically on March 9th i share a memory from that day. I choose to celebrate this day, a day that changed our lives forever. We are on year 27, I couldn’t be more thankful. A day that could have destroyed my family, but only made us stronger.
This year, instead of paying tribute to that day, I’m going to share how life was after. Most of us live with a before and after date, this is a little about our after.
There was no Facebook or instagram back then, in most cases family and friends had no idea when Braden would get sick and end up in hospital. Most of these battles were fought without the comfort of hundreds of friends leaving comments of support and well wishes on updated posts or photos that we may have shared. Honestly, I’m not even sure i would have shared even if facebook was a thing.
But here I go, I’ll try to bring some life back to our battles.
For a good 10 years after Braden’s initial injury we many winters in ICU battling pneumonia. You see, because he had a paralyzed left diaphragm it caused his left lung to become immobile. His lower left lung could not expand. When taking a breath his diaphragm was unable to pull his left lower lung down in order to open it up. Unfortunately that would mean when he would catch the flu, chest cold or RSV it would turn straight into pneumonia. I am keeping this explanation simple. I could use much better medical terminology but then I would be spending a lot of time explaining it.
Once we heard a cough, we knew we were in for a long battle. The stethoscope would come out, we would start with chest physio, postural drainage, chest compressions, antibiotics and self isolation. Our whole world would be turned upside down. We had to cancel play dates, get together, trips, birthday parties, concerts and at times school or preschool. We could no longer allow people in our home, doctor appointments and nursing care would begin. Paul and I would prepare for war, and I am not exaggerating it was war. IF we lost this war, we would lose our son.
Chest physio would be top priority, every 2 hours we would have to get out of bed and pound on Braden’s chest encourage him to cough and clear his secretions. We’d listen to his chest, if we heard crackles then we knew there would be no sleep. Postural drainage would resume, raising his bottom up so any fluid within the base of the lung would come to the top and he could find the strength to cough and clear.
Unfortunately there were many times we lost this fight against the virus. With exhausted bodies and minds we would find our way to McMaster Hospital where Braden would be admitted and put into ICU. When things turned this bad there was always life support needed. They would sedate him, intubate him and keep him sleepy so his little body could rest. They’d continue with chest physio, intravenous antibiotics and fluids. Paul and I would not leave his bedside. Typically a ICU stay would turn into 2 months. Our lives were turned upside down, Paul would do nights and I would do days. Kailey would go to nana and papa’s most times, then come home to be with me at night.
It was so hard being apart. It was harder not knowing if Braden would survive. We lived this way until Braden was around 10 yrs old. At around that time he started getting the flu shot and the pneumonia shot. The game changed my friends, although he would still get sick in the winter months he never went back to life support measures. With the help of these vaccines he was able to fight off those virus’ and maintain a level of health with the continued support of chest physio, postural drainage and other significant treatments that kept him out of hospital.
We were the lucky ones.
During our times in hospital we did see children and babies die from RSV and pneumonia. Mothers bringing in previously healthy children with high fevers and coughs. Parents thinking its just a cold, we’ll get some IV meds, few days in hospital and then we will go home. Those babies never went home. Their little lungs were not strong enough to fight, they exhausted. Their lungs collapsed and their organs shut down never to breathe again. Paul and I witnessed this, we sat still in our ICU room listening to excruciating screams coming from those mommy’s and daddy’s. Nurses coming in and out of our room apologizing that we had to hear them. Knowing damn well, this could be us. Although our son recovered, we heard those screams for years.
Thank goodness for science.
I believe treatments have changed, medications have come a long way and babies exposed to RSV have a higher chance of surviving. It is still a very serious illness, but thank goodness we have made gains in research.
I suppose the biggest reason why i am so angry with some people expressing their disdain with our government and their way at dealing with the Covid pandemic comes from a place of knowledge. Everything that the government asked of you, is exactly what the paediatric intensivists asked of us. Isolation, hand sanitizing, staying out of crowds, get the pneumonia vaccination. All these things protected our son from death. We understood how it worked. To us, its what comes naturally to protect our son. We lived this way for too many years. We sacrificed so much, we literally removed ourselves from our community to keep Braden healthy. Although his battles with pneumonia didn’t effect you, imagine if millions of people were dying from it each winter. Would you not care enough about your family, friends and children to do what’s best for them? This is how I felt about covid. How could anyone be so ignorant and deny facts? Thankfully every single important person in my life was decent enough to get vaccinated and follow protocols.
I truly do not understand how parents could not take all possible medical precautions to protect their children. If those of you who are against this vaccine treatment could only hear the screams of those parents, YOU would be first in line or maybe you wouldn’t! If one thing I’ve learned during this pandemic, its how blatantly ignorant people can be.
Government mandates. It disgusts me to think I actually know people who would protest such things. Things that would keep your medically fragile child or elderly grandparent safe and alive. How dare you?!! IF you are someone who truly felt the need to go against our community safety guidelines during a global pandemic, then you are not welcome in my tribe. And I truly hope and pray that you or your children never have to live through such serious medical situations. Honestly, you wouldn’t be strong enough to handle it. To me you would fail your child, you would NOT survive the battle grounds. My heart breaks for you and your children. Your ignorance is something that will get in the way of the love for your children. That is sad.
Please know, I vow to always do what’s best for the greater good of our people. I will do what I have to, to protect the welfare of your children. I will continue to live with mandates and policies that protect our most vulnerable. Children fighting cancer, adults living with disease and illness, those who are compromised will be safe around me.
I do agree however at this stage of our pandemic, the lock downs are only protecting the unvaccinated. So I think its time to open up, I do hate that our local businesses have suffered. I love to see we are moving forward, hopefully our health care system is in a good place for this to happen.
This pandemic has taken a toll on health care providers. Many of my nursing friends have expressed their battle with PTSD. Having to sit with family’s at bedside with their love one losing their battle to covid. Constantly fighting lung gas exchanges, keeping everything balanced in hopes that their patient doesn’t die.
I learned during this pandemic is that there is two types of people. There is the “WE” people and the “ME” people. I want you to know that I will never be a “me” person during a global pandemic. I will always do what’s best for our neighbours, friends and family. We have lived a life where anything can happen, life is precious and it can be taken very quickly. If you think it cant happen to you, then my friend you are crazy and karma is a bitch.
If you were one who supported this “ Freedom Convoy” or as i like to call it the kkkonvoy then you have no place in my life. You are not welcomed at my table. You and I will never have anything in common. Your unawareness and concern of others is frightening, we did not fight this hard to keep our son alive to have some one like you try to take it. The mandates were in place to save lives. Feeling otherwise is selfish and childish, take yourself out of my life.
I have no desire to educate you about virus’s, bacteria or vaccines. It’s your job to get that information. IF you have acquired information disproving our science research and vaccine protocols then you have not looked in the right places. Your sources are uncredited. Please don’t tell me that maybe my information is incorrect because I HAVED LIVED IT! I trust our health care system, I trust our doctors and most importantly I trust our scientists. Why do I trust them? Because I HAVE LIVED IT!
I don’t care if you are not vaccinated. Honestly, I do believe you have that right. But that comes with consequences, and I do NOT believe you have the right to protest those things that are in place to keep someone like Braden alive. This is where my anger truly lies. Those mandates protected the vulnerable. What kind of person doesn’t want that for everyone? Thankfully there are more of us who are vaccinated. We are moving forward. Vaccinated or not, moving forward is wonderful. I’m so thankful that my family is safe, we can travel knowing if we did catch Covid we would only be effected with minimal illness. I can take comfort in that.
I am thankful for our government, I stand with the politicians who do what’s best for the human race. I know people have suffered financially and although that is terrible, life is more important. We can recover from financial loss. The loss of a loved one is not something I’m willing to gamble. So to all of those who did the right thing during this pandemic thank you! You are the strong, powerful and loved~
To March 9th, cheers! We’ve survived another year, and looking forward to the next one! To Braden, keep fighting for life son, you are strong, worthy and loved~