There is an inexplicable exhaustion that ensues from hanging out with Aaron. Perhaps it is the intensity of his struggle, palpable through the sedatives and opiates, that vicariously saps us. Perhaps is the company of the ICU’s transient community, where so much life hangs in the balance so constantly; where the intermittent appearance of an ICU nurse in the waiting room down the hall from the ICU brings a hush to the chatter. ICU nurses do not visit with good news. (Last night, a nurse tells Hector’s mother that Hector is having convulsions.) Perhaps it is knowing that today begins the fourth week of an anticipated one week visit to the ICU.
Or perhaps it is our focus…..sharp, singular, and relentless…..the battle for Aaron’s life. It is odd that we should tire so, for we are more onlookers than warriors in this battle that is waged at so many levels. From the molecules and cells at war inside Aaron, to the army of experts and machines at UCLA, to the conflict in the ineffable realm of the Sacred, we are but cheerleaders and petitioners at best. But we welcome our small part standing on the sidelines, and we are fortified by those who stand with us.
The spots in Aaron’s brain appear to be small hemorrhages, most likely due to his ongoing deficiency of platelets. Dozens of tiny probes with thin protruding wires are taped to Aaron’s fast-approaching-bald head, giving him the look of science experiment gone awry. The results of the EEG suggest that the bleeding is benign for now.
A good part of the day is used up changing catheters and various lines as a preemptive strike against infection. The NG tube is removed so as to not aggravate the sinus infection, and an OG tube is inserted
The fever dances its daily on-again off-again jig.
Toward late afternoon and into evening, several hours of coughing, vomiting and diarrhea keep us out of Aaron’s room (Nurses don’t like us to see this messy side of their job.), give us a focus for immediate concern, and keep at bay the nagging knowledge that the mutants are again growing inside Aaron, and gaining in strength of numbers for another battle in a war that is far from over. We plead that Aaron will gain strength faster.