Sunday, December 16, 2012

Dear John

To: John Byrne,  Jack's nurse, my guardian angel.

Dear John,

I am writing tonight to thank you.  Thank you for helping Jack and saving me. I was watching the ceremony for the children in Connecticut.  Brought me back to when Jack was six,  and it was the holidays and he got sick.  The first time he was really sick.

Do you remember the first time you met me John? I do.  It was December 23.  Jack had finally been released from Columbia Presbyterian Babies Hospital.  On November 2 of that year we brought Jack to the emergency room, he was in so much pain, we had no idea what was wrong with him.  He has Cystic Fibrosis and I guess I always thought it would lung issues that would bring us to the emergency room.  This time it was Jack's pancreas.

If I knew than what I know now,  I  would never have survived those first days.  I was so naive. I thought we will be there for a couple days, they will fix Jack and we will go home.  I was so confident of this,  I told Jack he did not have to wash his hair till we went home.   Jack had dreadlocks by the time we left Columbia Presbyterian Babies Hosptial.

Eight weeks, two surgeries, a thousand blown IVs and one provac port later we were finally going home. It was not that Jack was better. He was not.  I think now I know that insurance companies do not want to pay the hospital bill.  So home we went with the promise that I would have nurses living with us, to care for Jack, around the clock.

They could not find any nurses so they sent you, John Byrne (my guardian angel) to teach me to care for Jack.  Remember coming into our kitchen, John? We had this huge island and you spread out enough medical supplies to keep a third world country going for months.  Than you looked over at me and said "this is what you need to learn how to do."

Tears streaming down my face I turned to you and whispered "I cannot do this, I will hurt him." You smiled, held my hand and said you are gonna be fine.  Everything is going to be okay.

You came everyday, until I got the hang of things.  You gave me your number and said call anytime of the day or night.  And I did.  You always answered.  Remember the time I unhooked the wrong thing, I was sure he was gonna keel over, I called, you answered, I think it was 3 am.  We fixed it and went back to bed.

I want to thank you John. Thank you for being Jack's nurse and for teaching me to care for him.  The last time I saw you, was right before Christmas two years ago. (I have a love hate relationship with the holidays.)  Jack was hospitalized three weeks this time. Seeing you when I answered the door, well I do  not think you will ever know how much you mean to me and Jack.  We have grown to love and rely on your caring and compassionate manor.  I have so enjoyed your Irish sense of humor. My favorite was the time I was going on and on about a mistake a doctor had made and you turned to me and said "Liz why do you think they call it practicing medicine."

I miss you John, you will always have a special place in my heart.  With your help, we are winning our fight with Cystic Fibrosis, me and Jack.

I am sorry for the families in Connecticut who were not even given the chance to fight for their children.   I am thankful my fight is not over, and that I still have my son.  I do not know that I could find a place for me without him.

Thank you John.

With love,