Wednesday, August 4, 2010


I had a hard time falling asleep last night and then slept fitfully the rest of the night. This could be because I had three (count ‘em, THREE) sodas yesterday. After having successfully given them up just before Hudson got sick, I started drinking them again in the hospital, then gave them up again several weeks ago, only to start again about two weeks ago when I was having a really low week. Coke is comfort food for me, like ice cream is for others. It is familiar and reassuring—it makes me feel better to know it is there. I laugh at myself for being so self-critical about this, as if I had started drinking alcohol again, or smoking, or doing cocaine, instead of co-cola—of all the vices I might have, it’s a pretty minor one. But all that caffeine and sugar, when I hadn’t been drinking as much lately, might have had something to do with my heart pounding in my chest half the night.

But I think it’s much more likely that I couldn’t sleep because today is a really big day. This afternoon, Ed and I will go back to the hospital to meet with Dr. X, the PICU fellow (now an attending) in charge of Hudson’s care, Dr. Y, the infectious disease specialist who worked with Hudson, and the hospital social worker. The hospital offers this meeting for every family whose child has died there. Usually it is done about eight weeks after the fact, when autopsy results come back. We did not have an autopsy done, since we already knew how Hudson died and an autopsy was highly unlikely to produce any additional information about that. Even if there hasn’t been an autopsy, they still wait about 8 weeks, because by that time, most parents can better process the information. Here we are 12 weeks out, and I really fear just totally falling apart anyway.

I don’t really know how I feel about this meeting. It is an opportunity to ask questions that might not have occurred to us during the trauma of a three-day ICU vigil ending in our daughter’s death. But as I’ve written before, there’s only one question that I really want an answer to, which is whether we could have done something to prevent Hudson’s death from this fiendish infection. And the only answer I want is, “No, Ms. Hitchcock, there is nothing you could have done. You did everything you could exactly right from beginning to end and the infection just did everything better and faster than we could.” I hope that is something they can say, but I just don’t know.

And I don’t have the same feeling that I had in the beginning, which was just this intense need to see the PICU again, to see the doctors and nurses involved in Hudson’s care. I don’t have a clue what that was about, but I definitely don’t feel that way anymore, maybe because we already went back to the PICU in early June to get Hudson’s keepsake box with her handprints and footprints, and maybe because we already ran into and spoke with Dr. X at a restaurant recently.  Now, I think I want to stay as far away from the PICU as possible, so it’s good that the meeting is going to be somewhere else in the hospital, probably near the doctors’ offices.

I guess I am looking forward to it, in the speculative hope that something happens there to help me feel better somehow. Maybe it will help me in the process of accepting that this has really happened, that she is really gone. I keep telling myself that if I can just accept it, and not keep thinking that there is some way she can come back to us, then maybe the pain could start to lessen and this process will get a little easier. But I guess I am also dreading it, because it’s just been hanging out there for two months, and once it is over, my chance at total absolution will be gone.

I’ll keep you posted. In the meantime, I’ll remember my sleepless soundtrack from last night. On nights when I sleep really fitfully, in that bizarre state between consciousness and sleep, my brain often keeps replaying one or two lines from a song, usually just something I’ve heard on the radio recently. For whatever reason, the soundtrack last night, over and over, was this one line from Leona Lewis: “It’ll all get better in time.” Hopefully that bodes well.


  1. Mandy, I hope the meeting goes well. I'll keep you in my thoughts. I had a tough time when we met with our doctor about Naveen's autopsy, but in general I've found it very comforting to go back and speak to the doctors who were involved with our care. I hope that this meeting brings you similar comfort and peace.

  2. Praying that the meeting goes well and helps you achieve some level of comfort. It seems that the thing syou have been dreading the most have somehow helped you find a little bit of peace, so I am hoping that this streak continues. Always thinking of you.
    Brooke A.

  3. Will be thinking about you and Ed through the day, prayerfully.

  4. Praying today's meeting brings you some peace and closure, Mandy.

    Ashley D.

  5. Thinking of you and Ed at this meeting today, Mandy, and hoping it brings you both some peace and comfort.

  6. Once again I cannot fathom your couraqe. Your description of this meeting tightens my stomach, and triggers a reflex thought that if it were me, I couldn't do it.

    It comforts me from afar to know that you will be meeting with Dr. X, who I consider to be an authentic man of extraordinary calm and depth.

    In addition to the speculative hope you mention, that the meeting will bring new comfort to you and Ed, I hope also that there will be an opportunity for you to share some of the gifts that have come of One Good Thing, and for you to know some about how they are benefiting by Hudson's Memorial Fund.

    These are my highest hopes today..

    All my love,

  7. I'll be thinking of you. I hope you hear those comforting words.

  8. I'm not one to believe in coincidence-- somewhere, somehow, something is trying to comfort you and help you heal. I so hope that you get some closure from the meeting today.

  9. Just want to say that you guys are in my prayers. I think of you and of Hudson daily and only wish there was something I could do or say to help.


  10. Kate Ackley ZellerAugust 4, 2010 at 4:32 PM

    Mandy, no matter what happens today, I hope you are able to see that you did right by Hudson. Always. In every way.

  11. Like you, soda pop is my comfort drug. If I had a particularly hectic day, I'd come home and slam 6 cans of Pepsi. Another friend of mine is the same way, and once lived right across the street. If one of us was out of Pepsi, the other surely had some and would share. :)
    I've since changed my ways to caffeine free Pepsi after 7pm. It's helped quite a bit for me.

    I truly hope that today's meeting will bring another step of closure, healing, and peace for both you and Ed today. You each certainly deserve it.

  12. Thinking of you both - and sending peace and comfort to you during this big day. MUCH LOVE.

  13. Today is my birthday and I can't get Hudson out of my head..I have not read your blog for some time.. I wanted to see how you were doing so I read today...Nothing I can say to comfort you and nothing I can say to comfort us..we miss Hudson so much..please be strong and know we are praying for you. You may question the prayers now, but God be with you and know we are with you in sprit. Barbara, St. Ann's

  14. should say spirit...

  15. I am up way too late but was secretly hoping you might post again. Have been thinking about you all day. Need some more Coke? Happy to deliver it.

  16. I am late in reading this, but the song you mentioned made me think of a song that I sing for you almost daily. The lyrics below that make me think of you are from Into the Fire by Bruce Springsteen.

    May your strength give us strength
    May your faith give us faith
    May your hope give us hope
    May your love give us love

    I listen to this song often when I'm running, and as I'm running often, I hear it a lot. The week Hudson was sick I would listen to it and cry and cry. I still cry, as you know, as do so, so many.

    The irony of course is that in the song, and as I hear it as it relates to you, the narrator is looking to someone else for comfort, hoping that their strength, hope, love, faith will hold the other up. And as so many have said here and elsewhere, your courage, your willingness to wrestle with this beast called grief, your ability to articulate the anguish, the joy, the love you feel for Hudson-it's made us all take a second look at our life and at what really matters.

    So I look to you, and I pray for you, and I love you too. And I'm hoping that all of our strength, faith, hope, and love are lifting you up now and always. Because that's what you do for all of us by sharing.
    Kelley Barnhardt