Thursday, April 9, 2009

Chapter 6 - And the Angels Were Everywhere

Intensive Care Unit on the fifth floor was the next stop down miracle road. More lives were touched there as the newest patient in Pediatric ICU witnessed intermittently between visions of horrifying beasts and Paramount Fires blazing before him. The staff assured us his mind was functioning normally under the circumstances. He was experiencing very typical side effects from the surgery.
There are times during the day when the ICU staff requires all visitors to leave the area to better facilitate the care of the critically ill patients. It was one of those periods that Christian experienced, the nurse explained to us afterwards, another typical episode, especially for the dying children. She had gone into his room and as she approached him, he exclaimed,
“Another angel!”
“What do you mean, ‘another angel’?” she asked. He told her he had just been talking to his own angel. He said,
“The angel asked me if I was going to have a fast death or a slow death.”
“And what did you say?” asked the nurse.
“I told it I wasn’t going anywhere. I’m only four years old.” She pointed to the ceiling as Christian had, to indicate the location of the angel seen only by the child.

I hated getting the news second hand. I was insistent on being with my baby boy every possible minute and I suppose I should have been grateful that the staff and even the angels were watchful of him when I could not be there. But how could I be in control of these spiritual on-goings? I wanted to be privy to any information regarding my son’s medical welfare and it was gladly provided by the specialists.
How do I get a handle on what Christian’s mind and soul were going through? What nerve the angel had to ask that horrid question and how coolly Christian had responded. Well, I got myself down to the hospital’s pastoral care office immediately for some major-league counseling. Normal. Christian was normal, normal, normal.
I hadn’t any idea how often very small children are caught up to heaven and how some of the less inhibited tell of spiritual visitations. The Sisters from pastoral care called on Christian during the remainder of his first three week stay in the hospital. One of them, Sister Rose, I remember well. She took me aside to tell me how special my child really was.
“I am so thankful to have lived to be an old, old, woman so that I had the opportunity to meet Christian. He is so precious in the eyes of God. You must be so proud of him.” Indeed, I was.

I momentarily equated myself to Christ’s Mother, Mary, and to Abraham, who offered up his son as a mortal sacrifice because it was God’s will. Only I was not ready to give up my son. I was convinced Christian would beat the odds and be healed of the destroyer cancer.
Radiation therapy was being scheduled and we had our hopes in that. We’ll buy more time. Don’t ever give up. The oncology department was the best facility to be found anywhere. The doctor in charge was of the most experienced and renowned in his field. After many weeks of treatment, spinal taps, and poor health, Christian was re-admitted to treat pneumonia. The facts spelled a pretty grim prognosis in the case of medulla-blastoma, particularly now that the tumor had metasized and was spreading the entire length of his spinal column. Cancer was so detrimental and radiation treatments almost equally so. He had to celebrate his fifth, and last, birthday in the hospital.
The party was a huge celebration on behalf of the entire hospital. Waves of all his new friends came to wish him the best birthday ever. The university football team stopped in to present him with a football of his own, autographed by every team member! When he was well enough, the doctors and nurses sent all of his family with him to the water-park and amusement center. But, by fall, Christian was so decrepit and emaciated. He was on his death bed again.
About half way into September, Christian was readmitted for pneumonia, accompanied with many other complications brought on by radiation treatment. Before all his bodily functions failed and he went comatose, Christian said wincingly,
“I want to go to God now, I want to go home.” It seemed that I was the only one in the room with him that heard the child’s last dying words.
The huge anger I had always felt before when the heavens opened up was replaced by wave after wave of all the people whose lives Christian had touched during the previous months. On one of those final days, I was sitting with my face down in my hands wondering who would come today. There, in the darkness created by my hands, was Christian running though Heaven. I busted out laughing.

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