Y SON ISAAC, would have been 7 years
old this year, starting second grade. I would have taught him
to tie his shoes and
maybe how to ride a bike. When I was pregnant, his father and
I would talk about teaching him to fish and taking him camping.
there will never be a first day of school, first bike ride or
fishing trips for Isaac.
Instead of teaching Isaac about life,
he taught me what I wanted to be when I
Isaac was born with a rare genetic disease
diagnosed after many months of doctor visits, tests and several
of the neurological problems that typically occur with this condition.
14 months of age, Isaac was diagnosed with Respiratory Syncytial Virus
(RSV). After several hospitalizations in the Pediatric Intensive
at CHRISTUS Santa Rosa Children’s Hospital, Isaac was given a tracheostomy.
We were told he would be ventilator-dependent. I learned how to care for
the trach and
how the home ventilator would work. The wonderful staff at CHRISTUS Santa
Rosa Children’s Hospital taught me all of this.
The first time I
changed Isaac’s trach, I thought I would faint. I did
it, though, and eventually became comfortable with the task. I enjoyed
taking care of Isaac and even started to consider attending respiratory
But first, I had to care for Isaac and deal with the progression of his
We spent four months at CHRISTUS Santa Rosa
in the PICU. The respiratory therapists would come and play with
Isaac when they were
done with their
work. Several nurses
would play with him while they cared for him. The doctors answered
my many questions. Our stay was filled with so many ups and downs
prepared to take
Isaac home with us.
Isaac never came home. He died in April,
the day the city of San Antonio celebrated its annual Fiesta
Flowers parade. Ironically,
was now over.
Soon after my son’s death, I decided
to enroll in college. I knew if I could care for Isaac, I could
take care of
others, too. Today I am a respiratory
therapist at CHRISTUS Santa Rosa Children’s Hospital.
been in the shoes of parents with sick children and know how
it feels to live with the uncertainty of what tomorrow will
frustration and anger they feel and know their sense of helplessness
and pain when a child
dies. As a rule, I do not share my story with parents. However,
the mother of a pediatric cancer patient once started a discussion
how she wasn’t
sure how her child’s death would affect her. She kept talking.
I feel I was placed in that room with her at that time for a reason.
I told her about
She felt the way I did when I was on “her
side of the bed.” A bond
between us was made. Throughout the night, I would come to her
bedside to do treatments. He died soon after.
I hope I helped
his mother feel at peace with herself. I hope I showed her
life does not end.
The people who once cared for Isaac are now my co-workers.
They have seen me at the absolute worst time of my life. Now
see me doing
because of a little angel named Isaac.
CHRISTUS Santa Rosa Children’s Hospital