I walked into the room and seeing her tiny body in that big bed was hard to look at. All the wires and machines beeping and flashing. Two IVs in her little hands and a breathing mask, blood pressure cuff on her leg, wires attached to her chest. She was in the pediatric ICU and they were monitoring her heart rate, respiratory rate, oxygen levels, and blood pressure. She was also breathing in oxygen and steroids to help her inflamed airways.
This beautiful little angel with her big brown eyes and her tousled long brown hair looked at me and said, “Grandma, I got to ride in a helicopter!” And then, “Grandma, I need a hug.” My eyes teared up and my heart sank to my gut. She was bad this time. Worse then ever before. What a brave little girl. Using every bit of what energy she had just to take a breath, even with the help of the oxygen.
She was flown via Mayo 1 to Rochester from our local hospital. Her mother wasn’t allowed to fly with her. She took the flight alone and was alone at the hospital until her mother and I could get there. I know she had a wonderful team of professionals with her that did a great job at keeping her calm and comfortable, but at age five, still a very scary thing to have to endure.
The night was long and still by morning she was not stabilized. She was poked and prodded all night. Shaking and sweating one minute and shivering cold the next. Very thirsty, yet could only have ice chips to keep her mouth wet in case they had to insert a breathing tube. She was very weak and they were worried that she would not even stabilize after intibating her. The doctor was in throughout the night and by morning told us she was “very scared for her.” It took until the next morning to get her stabilized. She was out of the woods for now. She was finally ready to eat and could have liquids. What a scary ordeal for her mother and me. I can’t imagine the fear she was feeling.
The next few days in the hospital were very wearing on her. They had to take blood every day and having to hold her down was very traumatic. Every time she seen a nurse or doctor come in she stiffened up and started to sob, thinking they were going to hurt her again. The days wore on and she improved a little each day. She said several times a day, “Grandma, I need a hug,” and she would spread both her little arms out to reach for me so I could give her a hug. We had lots and lots of foot massages with “more lotion, Grandma.” She had the softest feet in the state by the end of her stay and we went through a half a bottle of baby lotion.
Both her mother and I are smokers. We have always been very careful about where we smoked and didn’t smoke in the house. Yet they were concerned about our clothing and hair. They had us shower and put on scrubs so that we could eliminate any triggers that may have been preventing her from getting better. The guilt was all consuming for me. My granddaughter may not pull out of this and I contributed to what was happening. I looked at my daughter with tears in my eyes and asked her if she realized how serious this was. She said she did. We both vowed to each other to do everything we could to quit smoking.
It has now been seven days since that night and neither of us has smoked. Jasmyn is now home and on daily medication and steroids to manage her asthma. She has been hospitalized before, but has never been that bad. When you think of asthma, you don’t think about death. Yet children die every year from asthma related illnesses. What a tragedy it would have been if we had lost her. We are working very hard to stay smoke-free and pray each day that we can succeed at it. It is a hard thing to do , but not near as hard as loosing our precious little Miss Jasmyn.
I love you, Jasmyn, with all my heart. I’m so blessed to have you in my life.