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.