Two Of A Kind…In This Together
I could feel the sense of panic emanating from my friend, it was like a beating pulse… I looked at her and it was with absolute certainty that I could say ‘I know exactly how you are feeling…’
We were about 4 weeks in to our NHS holiday last year when Stacey arrived at the same hospital with her son Evan. Evan had been experiencing a chest infection and was being treated at a different hospital but then things had taken a sinister turn for the worse and here he was… in PICU, fighting for his life with both bacterial and viral pneumonia…
I had known Stacey mostly as a text buddy for about a year at this point. We both had children with Down Syndrome and we lived relatively close to each other. Stacey had become a source of counselling for me whilst I wrapped my head around the new world of DS I was in… her incredible positivity and her passion to make a difference in the world for our children was entirely inspiring.
When Izzy had had a stroke following her open heart surgery in the middle of March I had spoken to Stacey on the phone. She was there for me… and now it would appear it was my turn to be there for her.
I had never actually met Evan before he arrived at the hospital and my first introduction to him was in PICU with his blood oxygen levels plummeting and his blood pressure erratic. Stacey stood next to me as things hung in the balance. Her breathing was quick, panicked… And then she was gone… the scene as it unfolded before her was too much. She asked me to stay with her son and left the high pressured environment of intensive care.
I knew Stacey needed this from me… So I stood and watched over Evan as the Doctors and Nurses battled to stabilise him. I sent her messages with the various numbers I could see on the flashing monitors and I tried to convey a sense of calm…
The days and weeks that followed revealed a familiar and desperate path for Evan as he seemed to follow in Izzy’s footsteps… a raging temperature that could not be controlled… a diagnosis that he had had stroke… dystonia… Stacey and I would stand outside our on site accommodation when the sky had long since turned dark. We would be exhausted from hour after hour at our children’s bedsides willing them on, and we would analyse that day. We would chew over the details and try to make sense as to how our lives had collided so violently.
Evan made his escape from hospital a lot earlier than Izzy did, but his journey to recovery will be as long as Izzy’s will.
Stacey left the hospital with her child before I could with mine but our friendship has endured long after those automatic doors closed behind us and we made our way home. Stacey is a friend, a confidante and we often compare our battle scars which are both mental and emotional…
It’s rare to have a person whose experiences mirror your own so closely but oddly this has been comforting in the year since we left hospital… I have a friend for life.
2 children with DS
2 stroke survivors
2 heart warriors
2 mums in it together
You can follow Evan’s Journey – https://www.facebook.com/neverunderestimatemeT21/
You can follow Isobel’s journey – https://www.facebook.com/FeelingUpsideDown/