Le Mans: Prototype Class
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Silicon Valley, CA
Death and grieving
I've got a little bit of a personal question to ask, and I'm wondering if any of you have been through this or know someone else that has.
Basically, I've got two dear friends (married) that gave birth to a beautiful little baby boy on the eve of December 24th. Unfortunately, he was born with not one, not two, but an unheard of statistic with four heart problems. This birth defect took his parents, and all of us (their friends) through quite an ordeal.
Right at birth, he was wisked away to be placed on oxygen. Eventually, they diagnosed one of the heart problems and decided that a transfer to the Infant ICU at UCLA Medical Hospital was the course of action and best chance of survival. Once there and over the course of a few days, they ran several more tests and determined that there were, in fact, four seperate issues that we would have to deal with. Without getting too technical, the biggest problem was the two great arteries were reversed, essentially just looping the oxygenated blook back to the lungs and the blood passing through the body back into the body. There were also two holes in the exterior and interior walls of the heart itself, and another artery that was connecting the two great arteries together, causing a mix in the blood.
After having an open heart surgury, things seemed well (though swelling prevented the chest cavity from being closed that night). Then at 3am that same night/next morning my friends received a call from a very concerned nurse that their baby boy had gone into cardiac arrest, and they should get to the hospital before it was too late.
Much to their relief and surprise, the baffled but very knowledgeable doctors at UCLA were able to put him on several machines and keep him alive. He had lost much of the blood and platlets that all of our friends had donated the days prior to the surgury, but he was alive.
After serval days of trying to wean him off the machines and let his heart gain the strength to work on its own, the brave little boy just couldn't take the stress any longer, and suffered another, fatal cardiac arrest.
Ironically (or is it) this occured exactly three weeks after he was born - the original projected due date for him to be brought into this world.
Skip forward, and here we are - some month and a half after the funeral. I am one of the closest friend to the father of that brave little boy, as am a good friend of his wife. I am one that he confides a bit of information in, that he may not tell others. While no one would expect either of them to be able to be happy and dancing around, I know that they both have gotten short fuses and a bit snippy, mostly with each other.
The mother will breakdown and cry with miminal triggers, and the father (my close friend) is increasing moappy and wonders what he did wrong to deserve something like this. They try to make the best of the situation, but it is very difficult to know that you lost your first born as a result of nothing you did wrong - just the rarest of all birth defects.
My question to all of you - if you've known someone that's gone through this, how did you handle this to try and keep them from losing a grip on life? If you personally have experienced this, what do you wish your close friends would have done more (or less) or?
The hardest part in all of this - myself and two others that fit the "close friend" category live 400 miles north of them in the San Francisco area, while he's down south near Ventura County. We try to talk on the phone often, play games online, and he's even got several trips over the next few weekends planned for up here - so we'll be spending some time with him again (been difficult since the funeral in January).
What are your thoughts? Experienced or just outside the box?
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