An Angel in Disguise

Every day is a blessing – a thought that kept lingering on my mind since yesterday. It never crossed my mind that a little boy can make a significant impact on my insights about life.

I am talking about a child named after a Teleserye character, which is portrayed to be angelic and has a good heart. This child was admitted in my workplace due to fever, convulsions, and difficulty of breathing. He was actually in agony. And as expected, his condition wasn’t really good. He was intubated (to support his breathing, since his oxygen saturation was shrinking). A continuous bagging must be done to assist him as he strives to have a gulp of air. A better intervention can be done but unfortunately, his underprivileged family cannot support the expenses for the mechanical ventilator or maybe, CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) – if I’m not mistaken. The persons that brought him to the institution were actually just concerned relatives. And my heart was pinched to know that this little; sick boy was an adopted child.

That’s the start of the story. He was confined in the Pediatric Ward (Annex), situated with curtains or screens to provide privacy for him and to keep others away and stop gossiping – people are curious in nature, right? This room falls under the Nurse Station 1, where I and my colleagues work. It’s quite tiring to monitor his condition because APW is located a bit far from the station. It was also the time when we are catering many patients. Knowing that his sensorium is in blackout, a little more effort must be exerted to keep him cared and monitored. The treatment was definitely effective to have him responsive to pain after some days of aggressive regimen supervised by an admired pediatrician. After a week, this little boy has shown improvement day by day. As he fights for his right to live longer, the nurses and midwives never stopped to do everything for him – suctioned his secretions almost every hour, took his vitals hourly, referred his condition to the physician, facilitated nebulizations, and administered his medicines. These treatments became inconsistent as the aspect of poverty arises again – the families supporting him cannot constantly buy the needed medications. In fact, he had an episode of seizure because a drug wasn’t made available due to the said reason. When his family started to fail in providing his medications, we extended our help by giving him some free drugs like the nebulizing solutions and intravenous fluids – to keep the management continued.

Another major episode of the story is the illness of his mother (the heroine of his life, the one who adopted him). She was actually suffering from a kidney disease, also in a critical stage. With the same difficulty, she cannot sustain her treatment, like hemodialysis. And it ended with a big bang. She died during the little kid’s confinement. If this little boy can just understand what was going on outside the room, maybe he’s shedding tears and is grieving his heart out. I see these events as misfortune, but I still believe that God knows and has the reason for everything.

I will never forget to give my salutation and respect to those who patiently cared for the little boy 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. Just like the nurses, they had shifting of schedule. Their responsibility wasn’t easy. They alternately pumped the bag that supplies air for the child. I personally know how difficult it is to bag. Bagging for 30 minutes is exhausting and painful for the hands, what more for bagging several hours! It just proves how they truly loved the child despite of the genetic disconnection.

Lots of misery made the child, I think, a stronger individual. He was suctioned hourly. He was reintubated three times. He was inserted an orogastric tube for feeding. His intravenous sites were gone out several times and were eventually reinserted. His oxygen saturation decreases a lot of times but still make it to obtain a high percentage. I think he fought well and soundly. I also observed that he makes a grimace and cries whenever he hears the sound of suction and nebulizer machines. He also kicks and moves his hands whenever he feels pain. These are good signs I guess.
But an unexpected day, at around 7:00pm, his oxygen saturation started to decline. I continued suctioning his secretions. I stopped when it rose to 90% and above. I also instructed and helped the new relatives regarding proper bagging. After few minutes, it fell down again to 80’s, then 70’s. He appears to be distressed. But his extremities suddenly dropped. I asked a co-worker to call the resident physician. I immediately checked his pupil size, and it was already dilated. The doctor rapidly came in together with my energetic colleagues. Cardiopulmonary resuscitation was ordered, plus doses of epinephrine. Flat line – we did our best.

After almost 3 weeks of struggle, the little boy finally gave in. It was a shocking and heartbreaking hour for the medical team and the child’s family. I witnessed his family crying and mourning for his death. No tears appeared from my eyes but my heart is throbbing in pain. I know that the rest of the nursing service staff are also sad of what just happened. Rest in peace, little boy. You are an angel in disguise.

Every day is a blessing, yes – no matter how frustrating and painful a day may be. The child opened my mind to be a stronger man. He taught me to fight for my right, and stop complaining. He made me realize that I can make a difference each day, that I can be better in time. He added strength to my belief in love and in God. He made me put more value to my family and friends who care for me in my sorrows and in laughter. He also built a mindset inside me, that I am very lucky to be with my real family, whom I can still show all my love and dedication; that I have the capacity to share my blessings; that I am blessed to have a good job; that me and my mother are able to support our needs; and that we are still here on earth – having the greatest opportunities and chances to fulfill our dreams.

Friends, let’s live like there’s no tomorrow. We’ll never know what will happen next. Strive. Learn. Pray.

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