Nothing prepares you for the words....
“Go hold your sons hand because you don’t know much longer you will get to do it for”
That sentence will live with me forever because that was the moment that I realised that my son was most probably going to die. I can honestly say that for me, that is probably the most beautiful way you can tell/prepare a parent that their child is going to die without using those terrifying words.
How do you tell any parent that their child is going to die? How do you explain to a parent that their child who was healthy the night before will never wake up again?
Having to watch a child die and tell their parents such devastating news must be the hardest job in the world. We often think that our doctors and nurses must be “used to” or “hardened to” the reality of death but from what I experienced, I really don’t believe that’s true.
I remember the doctor calling me and saying “Arlene, I am sorry that I couldn’t save your boy” but for me, he did save my boy.
Thanks to that very special doctor in the RAH Paisley starting Jacks heart again, I was able to spend another 36 hours with my son and have him die in my arms. I can’t even imagine how I would have felt if I had got the hospital and Jack had died without me there. For giving my son the best chance and for allowing us and our families to be there, I will be forever in the debt to the doctors and nurses at RAH Paisley and Edinburgh Sick Kids.
At Edinburgh sick kids, two young female nurses worked 12 hour shifts to look after Jack. Again, their compassion and empathy will stay with me forever. I asked the same questions over and over again and each time, they would answer me as calmly as they did the 1st time. They let our families come in and out to spend time and say their final goodbyes with Jack is his last hours on this earth. They brought a bed in beside Jack so we could lie with him at all times and it is safe to say that they went over and above the call of duty for us.
I was terrified Jack would die so quickly that I wouldn’t get to hold him or say a final goodbye so I had one request of the nurses that night. I made them promise to tell me at any point if they thought that Jack was about to die and they fulfilled that last request.
As the time drew closer, they told us that Jacks organs were failing and that we wouldn’t have much more time left with him. Then they let our parents in to say their goodbyes and then they asked if I would like to hold Jack. They got seat for me, lifted Jack out of the bed and placed in him in my arms to take his final breaths. At 2350, Jack died so peacefully with both his dad and I by his side, just like he did when he arrived on this earth. After he died, the nurses let us wash Jack and put him in his Pjs, they let me sleep for a short time with Jack on my chest, just like he did as a baby and then let us see him for as long as we needed to in the mortuary. These are not the actions of nurses and a doctor who see their profession as “just a job”. These people are the true superheroes of the world and I could never thank them enough for those special final moments that I had with my son.
To the doctors and nurses that tried to save my boy and who on a daily basis, try to save people from from dying.....I thank you. This year especially, those NHS staff are literally putting their own life in danger to save out families. As we complain about Covid restrictions, maybe we should think about our NHS heroes and just be thankful that we are alive.
There will be thousands of doctors and nurses who make a difference daily to the lives of their patients and their relatives.
This Christmas many of them will be working and I am sure will they watch people be born into this world and also leave this world. Many of them will leave their work for the day having watched someone’s child, parent or family member died.
Whether its 8 years on or 30 years on, I will be forever grateful to the doctors and nurses that tried to save Jacks life and every year till the day I die, I will make sure that I show that.
Both Jack and Summer J loved to hold my hand since the day that they were born, it was like a comfort to them. As Summer held my hand going to sleep tonight, I was very aware that...
Tomorrow is never guaranteed so tonight please... “Go hold your child’s hand because you don’t know much longer you will get to do it for”
Arlene, Jack’s Mummy xxx
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