Elliott Arcile Reed

Elliott Arcile Reed
6 lbs 8 oz 19 3/4 inches

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Too Much Too Soon?

Wow, I had now idea how different working in the ICU would be from working the small Med/Surg unit in Maryville. Today was a prime example. The patient that coded on Tuesday, is still in the ICU on the vent, well today the Neurologist came in to test brain function. Needless to say, there was only a very small of deep brain stem function left. This is basically the part of the brain the controls the primitive controls of the body including blood pressure, heart rate, and temperature. All of these things are even fluctuating a lot too. I was in the room when the Neurologist told the family his findings. He started talking about "brain death" and "decisions" that needed to be made and "withdrawing care" Once he started talking I was like..Holy Shit, and started feeling like I couldn't breathe and someone put about 7 winter coats on me. I felt that feeling in the pit of my stomach, and knew I was about ready to burst. I had no idea the amount of tears the my eye-sockets could hold without the tears trickling down my cheek, but they must have held about a gallon, because I was able to hold it together until I got out of the room. Then it started, the gut wrenching crying. You know the type, the tears literally come from the bottom of your stomach, and you start learching because you are crying so hard that you cant catch your breath, and to add insult to injury, the nurse I was orientating with looked strait at me and said "Oh my God, are you okay" Well that comment didn't help at all, I just shook my head, and pointed to the bathroom. And always being Classy Cassi, I sat on the toilet and bawled for about 5 minutes, and then finally pulled myself together, washed my face, and went back onto the unit. I think even the people in coma's could tell that I had just bawled my head off.
I really thought that I would be able to control all my emotions and feelings, but all the talk about withdrawing cares, I was right back in the NICU at Children's. I could literally hear the doctors telling us about Elli, and her "quality of life" and our "decision". I felt so bad for that family, but moreover, I felt bad for Brian and I. It all just hit me at once, and out of the blue. I guess that it might just be too much too soon. I already decided I don't want to be in the room if the family does make a decision tomorrow when I work. They will extubate him and let him slip away, and that thought of Elli has already crossed my mind. I thought about it all the way home from work. I remember the look on her tiny face as she looked up at me and took her last breaths lying in my arms, and it is like I am right back there in that rocking chair with Brian's arm around my back and his hand on Elli's head telling her it was okay to go. I said that I never wanted to see that sight again, gasping for breaths, and to see my patient doing it even while he is on the ventilator just made it all come flooding back. I have seen people pass away in the past, but it was nothing like seeing Elli quickly slip away from me, to never have the life that she was supposed to have as Brian and I's beautiful daughter. So needless to say, I will hopefully be taking a different patient tomorrow. The "coolness" of ICU has so worn off, and now it is hitting a little too close to home. Oh and about the nurse I am orientation with, she is so nice, and knows about Elli, we were just really busy trying to discharge another patient and didn't realize that I had started to well up in the room and was shocked to see me in that state. She started crying and so did the other nurse working with us. So there I go again, making people cry, I should really work on that.
Wow Elli- This has been such a hard day, so many emotions and feeling creeping up on me that I thought I had control of, but in reality, I have control of nothing. I miss you so much, it's crazy sometimes how much I think of you. I picture you in my arms and those last hours we spent together. I cant believe we were able to make the decision to "let you go" and I forever hope it was what was best for you Elli. Just know that Daddy and I were only trying to do what we thought was the right thing to do. I never thought that I would have to make a decision that I would have to think about every day. People ask all the time, I don't know how you could do that or I could have never have made that decision. The truth is Elli, that we really had no choice, it was already made for us. We just had to follow through, and we deal with it because we have to. Of course we don't want to deal with it, but we have no choice sweetie. We no longer get to have you in our arms, but Daddy and I have you forever in our hearts, I just wish that that was as good a substitute to rocking you to sleep each night, but in reality it's not. I hate that this is how this whole situation had to turn out, but it is and there is nothing that we could have done to prevent it or change it, it is just what it was, You, Me and Daddy for 20 amazing days. We miss you daily and think of you constantly Elli. We love you forever and are so thankful for the days you were here and are so glad that you are no longer struggling and in pain. Good night sweetie, be with me tomorrow and the days following while I am at work to give me strength to be there for not only my patients but their families. All our love. Breathe Easy-


Chrissy said...

Hey, I wish I could hug you & give you some comfort every time you think of her. If you need a break from the hospital, I'm only a few blocks away, if it's lunch, coffee, or you just need a shoulder to cry on.


casau said...

cassi,, you are so strong and i admire you soooo much!! keep strong as the prayers continue for all of you!!! your letter made me cry as usual!

Thomas family's doing what? said...

Cassie, i know you dont know me and probably never will, but just wanted to say that this post finally did it for me and felt that i had to post something.You are such a strong woman and the best mother little Elli could have ever wished for and i feel so horrible for you and still am asking why.... why would you have to go through all of this., its just not fair not at all.Please know that you are still in my prayers..and thanks for keeping the blog and allowing people to share this hard journey with you.

Fer said...

(((((((((((CASSIE))))))))))))) I wish I could hug you in person.

Liz and Shane Nelson said...

I wish I could give you a big hug in person. I am sitting here reading this as Nayeli is in NICU. I think of Elli everyday. I look at the cross that Elli gave to Nayeli hanging on her crib everyday and I know Elli is watching over Nayeli. Your letters to Elli always make me cry. I am thinking of you and always praying for you.

Mary T said...

Oh Cassi, My heart breaks for you to have had to go through such an experience. It's so heart breaking to have to go through that again. You are a wonderful Mom and Miss Elli is so proud of you for being with her, loving her and making the hardest decision any parent ever has to make. Listen to your heart, Cassi, feel your precious baby girl, she's with you always, helping you and Brian through the tough times and the good times. My thoughts and prayers continue to be with you and Brian. I pray for strength for you both.

May you be blessed with Angel Kisses everyday from your precious little Angel Elli.

Love you,

Kaden and Angel Ava's mommy said...

This post made my throat drop into my stomach, I feel so sick right now. I am so sorry that you had to experience something so sad, and so close to home, so soon. It's amazing how someone (ok, we will us me for example, I guess I can't talk for everyone) can find strength day to day to keep going. I don't know if it comes from thinking about Ava, not about the events. I don't have anything really that brings me back to that day, very often. However, after reading this post it brought it all back (not that it is a horrible thing, but reality). I couldn't imagine the anxiety you feel going to work every day wondering what you have to work with, wondering how it is going to relate to your life, your family, your Elli. I don't know if I would have the strength to do that. I have thought about it, but haven't gone through with it. Maybe it's because I know that I don't have the strength...I don't know. You are amazingly strong. I know that everything has happened fast, I pray for continued strength for you and Brian. Your compassion will touch the hearts of families you work with...I promise that is not a bad thing, neither is them seeing you get emotional (of the aftermath).

Thinking and keeping you in my prayers, always.

My Three Sons said...

Cassie, I think that the decision you and Brian had to make is what was best for Elli. Please don't ever second guess that hard decision.

I used to be an EMT and a few years back my grandmother passed away. We were all there with her when she left us. I took a couple of weeks off (we ended up having two more family members die in that same time frame, one from cancer and one from a boating accident). My first day back to work I ended up working a female that I had known for about 8 years and she coded as well. The whole time I thought I was tring to revive my grandmother. After time, after each patient, it got a whole lot easier. It also made me stronger. Just take it slow and don't push yourself. Sounds like you are working with a great group of nurses and I think it is okay to lean on them right now.

I will continue to pray for you and Brian.

nicole said...

oh cassi! I'm so sorry to hear about that experience. I admire your strength, courage, and faith.
I know none of us can truly imagine what you and Brian deal with on a day to day basis or even begin to imagine all you went through, but know how much your family has touched others and how much you guys are loved and thought of.
Just wish you were closer so "the girls" could hang out more often!! :)
Thinking of you often,

Rachel said...

I cannot imagine how hard that must be to work in the ICU so soon after Elli's passing. You are so strong to be there. I'm sure it must be hard, and I certainly do not blame you for not wanting to be in the room if the family does make the decision.

You stay strong and know that we (your prayer warriors) are constantly praying for you guys.

Prayers Always,


betty said...

Cassi, you don't know me, but I have seen you around when we were at CMH. I stumbled upon your blog accidentally. I am very sorry about Elli but completely understand what you are going through. We just lost Lukas about 2 weeks ago and your last blog brought back so many memories, good and bad. If you ever would like to talk, I would love to talk to you. You can email me at betty_w_choi@yahoo.com. Looking forward to hearing from you. If not, I completely understand. Until then, stay strong. Betty

LauraT said...

Cassi, I can imagine how that was for you and Im so glad you are starting out with the adults. Always know you have no reason to question or explain your decisions for Eli. You two did an amazing job being her parents and made a loving decision. Take care. Laura

Mary T said...

Hi Cassi~just checking in to see how you are doing and to see how the job is going now. I hope you're doing good. I'm going to go hang out with your Grandma for awhile tomorrow while your Grandpa is having surgery. It's easy to see where you get your strength, they are both so strong and loving. I'd like to share with you what one of my little friends' Mom's is planning on doing to honor her Angel Chloe for Christmas. Chloe earned her wings on June 12, 2008 at the age of 7 from leukemia. If you have email now, would you email me so I can reply and tell you what Chloe's Momma is doing. You may want to do the same. Thanks so much. Take care each other!

I think about you, Brian and Angel Elli every day and continue to pray for you for strength, peace and understanding.

May you be blessed with Angel Kisses everyday from your precious little Angel Elli.

Love you,

cbgricci said...

Cassi and Brian,
It was so great seeing you both this weekend! Cassi, I am so glad you came and were on the bus. It was quite crazy! I had a lot of fun. We will have to get together when things slow down for you.

Take Care,

Mary T said...

Hey Cassi, Just wanted to tell you how nice it was to see you Thursday at the hospital. You look great! Did the UPS guy drop off your new toy? How exciting!

I think about you, Brian and Angel Elli every day and continue to pray for you for strength, peace and understanding.

May you be blessed with Angel Kisses everyday from your precious little Angel Elli.

Love you,

shay said...

my grandma passedaway today in south dakota and i was telling elli to meet my grandma in heavan becasue my gma loves babies and she always has thanks for updating love
love the smaus/masses

Heather and Matt said...

Matt and I think of the three of you everyday. I am so shaken by your words - I guess they are hitting close to home. I pray that Elli sends you some signs to let you know how close she truly is to you each day.
Heather and Matt

Brad, Kellie, Lucy and Baby Carter said...

Just checking in. How are you doing? Carter's crib cross that you sent is still hanging from his NICU bed and we tell everyone that it's from his friend, Angel Elli. My Dad was especially touched that you would think of Carter. I hope you are settling in at work. We think of you guys often.

casau said...

hey guys,,, how are things going? i hope all is well. think of you guys often. prayers for all of you guys!

Lillian'sheart said...

oh cassi... i think about you guys often. wish i could give you a big hug.

Mary T said...

Hi Cassi & Brian, Just stopping in to say I'm thinking about you and wish you a HAPPY THANKSGIVING.
Hope you are doing well with your new job and that your UPS guy brought your new scrapbooking present.

I think about you, Brian and Angel Elli every day and continue to pray for you for strength, peace and understanding.

May you be blessed with Angel Kisses everyday from your precious little Angel Elli.

Love you,

P.S. You're an AMAZING couple.

amberthompson said...

Many continued prayers for your family.

Jesse & Amber Thompson

shay said...

wow you are all so so strong i dont no how you can all do it i am amazed about it
i love you all
love shana,lana,bailley,chad,michael
and chelsey love

Sandi said...

Hi Cassi,

Just wanted to let you know I am thinkin' of you and Brian. Hope all is well on the home front and with work. I sure miss working with ya!
Take good care, ooooo, Sandi

Kyler's Mom said...

Hi Cassi,
I just wanted to say hello and let you know there are still many people thinking of you and your family each day. Hope you had a good Thanksgiving and I wish you the best for the holidays yet to come.

Nancy said...

You do not know me, but I found your blog through Kinley. My prays are with you both. For this is a hard time of the year. Go to this web site www.andiesisle.com and clip on My Little Angel. It is beautiful.

Nancy from Topeka

Heather and Matt said...

Hi Cassi,
I just wanted to let you know that Matt and I still think of the three of you daily. I hope that you had a nice Thanksgiving.
Take Care,
Heather and Matt

Mary T said...

Hi Cassi,

Just checking in to see how you are doing and to let you know you are still in my thoughts and prayers.
I read this on one of my friend's Caringbridge site, Chloe became an Angel on June 12, 2008 after battling leukemia for several years, I thought you might like it...

'Perhaps they are not stars, but rather openings in heaven where the love of our lost ones pours through and shines down upon us to let us know they are happy.'

~Eskimo legend

I hope your job is going well, and that you have time to do some scrapbooking. We are thinking of you during this holiday season, let the love and support of your family and friends help you through the holidays.

May you be blessed with Angel Kisses everyday from your precious little Angel Elli.

Mary Beth

Brad, Kellie, Lucy and Baby Carter said...

Will you send me your mailing address again? I don't know where I put it!

I hope you are doing better at work. I know it much be so hard, especially around the holidays.

Love you guys,

casau said...

cassi and brian,,, happy holidays to you and yours,,, and as always many prayers for all of you guys!!!!!!!!!!

becky phelps said...

hey guys been thinking alot about you! Keep checking to hear from you! hope things are going great! really miss you here!! cassie hope that your job is treating you good! ran into little reed the other day he said you guys were doing ok! let us know if you are ever back this way or if you ever need anything!!