2015 did not have the most auspicious ending. I had been hunting around for a babysitter for New Year’s Eve for a couple of weeks. Lots of dead-ends due to everyone else’s hopes for a fun evening and a memorable start to 2016.
This particular New Year’s Eve was my eight-year anniversary with Jesse. Getting married on New Year’s Eve was a fabulous idea while it was happening. Everyone in attendance was primed to party.
The dance floor was packed the entire night. The doors to the venue had to be opened to let in the sub-zero air so we could continue to dance without over-heating. We enthusiastically counted down to midnight, I kissed my new husband, and the DJ blared Rick Springfield’s “Jessie’s Girl” at 12:01.
It was a fabulous idea, and turned into a fabulous night.
Within a short couple of years though, that great idea had soured with the introduction of children. No one — and I mean NO ONE — wants to babysit on New Year’s Eve. So began our string of less-than-stellar anniversary celebrations, where the kids failed to realize we’d like a break from their constant needs, and once they were in bed, we were too tired to cobble together a respectable homage to another year in the books.
But that’s not even what I’m here to write about.
2015’s New Year’s Eve was perhaps one of the worst days of my life — finding a babysitter was a laughable problem. Our youngest of three children, Eliza, was fine, then not fine, then hospitalized, then, on our anniversary, admitted to the PICU and intubated.
Her illness and recovery are, on one hand, not all that remarkable. There’s an element of “a perfect storm” that made her get much sicker than is usual in these circumstances, but for the most part, her illness and even her complications were not uncharted territory, or anything that at face-value, are that remarkable. These things happen. We drew the short straw.
On the other hand, the entire episode was mind-boggling to me. It was my first immersion into a crisis where I was in the first ring around the focus of the crisis. (Note: If you haven’t read that linked article, it’s a must-read for anyone looking to be a better human in a crisis.) I’d never been so helpless as a parent, and so dependent on others to keep our family going.
And the ripples of support must be noted too. I honestly have no idea how far the story of her illness traveled, but I know there were people coast-to-coast and around the world praying for her daily. It was simply humbling to be on the receiving end of so much thought, love and goodwill.
When the crisis began, I had no idea how serious it was, or how long it would drag out. To keep loved ones notified of what was happening, I started posting updates to Facebook. I could not have imagined how it would turn into 27+ updates as we navigated through the ordeal.
I can’t tell you how many people have told me they waited each day for the next Facebook update to see how she was doing. Posting those updates accomplished my main goal– keeping people informed while keeping me from repeating the same information over and over.
But the another goal was accomplished too: I simply had to write what was happening day-by-day. It helped me to process what had happened that day, and it will now serve as my memory of what actually occurred. Without the posts, the entire ordeal would be a vague memory of an alternate universe. Did that even happen??
We have been out of the PICU for two months as I write this, and I have not yet gone back and re-read all of the entries. I am grateful Facebook was there as an easy and quick way to record and broadcast as we went, but now, I want to post them here, on this blog, so they aren’t buried deep in Facebook for eternity.
So, Zaza in PICU is my impetus to start this blog, even though it’s just a small month of our lives. We are much more than this one month. We are people who are: married, working, living in The Greatest City in the World, working to be autism-fluent, friends, singers, kitchen-dancers, and investors. We are a lot of things, and this blog will probably be about a lot of things.
But to start, my business will be about moving the day-by-day PICU posts to this blog so they aren’t buried forever. That may be the only thing that makes it here, but I’m guessing I have a few things to say about autism too. Time will tell if some other stories will see the light of day. I hope so.