My sweet little 2 year old ended up in the hospital for an entire week. At first it was predicated to be a day or two, then a few more, all dictated by the way his fever would spike at night despite all their intravenous treatment. He ended up on two different IV antibiotics, but didn't take a turn for the better until 4 days in. It was grueling. At the time we were fine.
Anyone who asked was told we were fine. We were fine. Our sweet neighbors were watching our older kids. We were SO LUCKY to live in a neighborhood full of people who knew us and cared enough to help. Some brought us dinners when we'd come home to switch "shifts" at the hospital. So this is what we reminded people if they would ask after us on facebook. WE WERE FINE! (when will I learn to stop saying that?)
On my third day there, staring at the wall, as reality that the hospital staff was really not getting on top of this pneumonia and it really was getting worse, my eye zero'd in on the plastic covered print out they had attached to the wall. It was a page that was fully covered in print. I had to contain a sob as the reality hit. I had previously ignored the print out because it was in medical-ease... clearly meant for staff use only.
But I realized my son's personal info was on it, his age, size, weight...and one of the lines listed a voltage.
Yes, a voltage.
The voltage to be used with a defibrillator to re-start a heart that has stopped.
Once I realized this I went through the entire sheet and pieced together with my limited medical vocabulary that this entire sheet was "code" instructions to resuscitate my little boy if he started to slip away. That was the moment I realized HE COULD DIE. When I trace back the many, many events of the last few years before my panic attacks started, I come back to the scene where I really read that paper and realized the situation we were in.