Updated: Jan 7, 2022
"I need you to pull over,"
those words still echo in my mind as I find myself struggling on how to even begin to describe the sheer terror that run throughout my body.
I've been a Registered Nurse for 12 years, therefore, I'd like to think of myself as pretty well versed in lab values, and what exactly they indicate. I had already seen the calcium level, thanks to the wonderful advances in technology that allow me immediate access to my child's medical records. I feel as though there should be some sort of disclaimer when signing up for said medical records,
"IF YOU HAVE ANY KNOWLEDGE OF WHAT THESE VALUES INDICATE, PLEASE PROCEED WITH EXTREME CAUTION!"
Is ignorance bliss? Would I have been better off receiving that phone call without prior knowledge of the lab value, or without any understanding of what exactly that value meant? I can honestly say in that moment it truly didn't matter. I knew exactly what it could mean, and it didn't stop the immense all encompassing fear and anxiety that coursed through my body in that five minute conversation.
"Where are you? When can you get here?
You need to come right away!"
As an anxiety sufferer these fears are ever present in my daily life, but to say that I ever thought one of my children would truly have something wrong with them would be incorrect. Anxiety is a tricky business; it leads you down roads of worry and fear of the "impossible" happening, but here I am, in this exact moment, living out the impossible.
Upon recheck his calcium level was indeed 14 when arrived at the hospital.
You know when you first learn to write stories in school, and they teach you to start by asking yourself who? what? where? when? why? I found myself repeating these questions to anyone that walked into that ER room, and yet no one had any answers.
Hypercalcemia (high levels of calcium in the blood) can occur for a variety of reasons, but it doesn't often happen in children unless they're taking in too much Vitamin D which wasn't our case or there is a parathyroid dysfunction; also, not our case. What we did know in that moment was that it had been going on so long that there was now calcium buildup in Jude's kidneys, which was cause for great concern.
We needed to find answers, and we needed to do so immediately.