The nurses that came into the room felt it. I was told that they felt in in the hall before they even got to the room and that the nurses were talking about it and about me, how they did not know how I could be so calm. They had seen trauma like this and my reaction was not typical. It is because I so fell into God and the room was so covered in prayer, His peace was there. It was tangible. I would have died without it. There was still fear in my heart, but God overrode it with His peace. That peace that passes understanding, it's real!
Bryan was in the intensive care unit for weeks. He was in the hospital for 6 weeks. They moved him from the intensive care unit to a normal floor and he STOPPED BREATHING! He had come out of surgery to have that skin graft done over his hip area where all the skin had been scraped off from where the second vehicle had dragged him across the pavement when they ran over him. His heart rate was through the roof. I had learned to take it and I used it to gauge when he needed pain meds since he could not tell me. I told the nurses he was in pain. I asked them to please give him something. They said they had to get approval from the doctor. I half fussed at them, well, I fussed at them, hurry up and do it then. I sat there rubbing his head trying to soothe him. He started shaking. I called out to the nurse and said, "Do something, NOW!" They left the room to go page the doctor. Then he stopped breathing and I screamed for the nurse, I started praying out loud and I think I half scared the nurse. She hit the code button and started bagging him. She bagged, I prayed. I prayed like crazy! I could see she was scared to death. Suddenly doctors and nurses and all kinds of people flooded the room. It is all kind of a blur now. I stepped back while they did their thing and continued to pray. Bryan started breathing. The one doctor yelled out, did his heart stop? The nurse bagging him said she did not know, she was too busy bagging him. They gave him pain meds and his heart rate came back down. I made sure they stayed on top of keeping him comfortable. No one knows if he died at that moment because they did not know if his heart stopped. But to me, when he stopped breathing, I started praying and calling him back.
At this point there had been so many things that had gone wrong in his care I became a very strong advocate for him. The plastic surgeon even told me they had not done his graft when it should have been done because they were thinking he was going to die and he could not believe they had left him like that. He had a huge gaping wound on his hip for weeks. I might go into later all the mistakes made, but it suffices to say surgeries that were needed were not given, meds that were not suppose to be given to him were given, and some that he should have had were forgotten. I started monitoring every single thing that was bought into the room and I made it known no one was to give my son anything without my approval. I also started giving the meds myself in his tummy tube. I asked them to just leave them on the tray. I did his food, which at the time was formula and a feeding pump. I learned how to work it. Now that he is at home I give him fruits and veggies and all kinds of healthy stuff pureed and put in his tummy tube. I watched them suctioning his trach and sometimes they were to busy to come in and do it, so I just started doing it myself. I started doing everything. I told them I was taking him home. With that said, the wound care nurse came in and taught me how to do his wound care. Up until that time, they had made me leave the room while they did it. It was quite ghastly. The huge gash down his stomach was the worse. It was not stitched together. You could see all the fat and tissue. I was kind of afraid but told myself, suck it up, you are going to do this. And that was that, I did not allow myself to be overwhelmed. I was going to take care of Bryan.
I took him to the nursing home first because of all the open wounds I was afraid of infection. I found out later, home would have been a safer choice. When you have never been exposed to all this, you don't know. The nursing home was a disaster. Bryan is so tall he did not fit the bed. His feet hung off and I had to pad the foot board with diapers. I told them this was not acceptable. I used that word a lot over the next few weeks! I went to suction him because he was choking and the suction machine would not work. Unacceptable! They grabbed another and it did not work. Finally a third one with Bryan now hacking and gagging it finally worked. Excuse me, I realize I am venting a little. It was horrible. Then one day I happen to look at his water bottle and thought, I have never seen anyone change it. I open it up, mold is inside! They have been using the same water cup and never changed it. I was appalled. I had already started doing things at the hospital for Bryan's care. After all that had happened I got to the point I would not let anyone touch Bryan. That may sound crazy of me, but if you had seen all the wrongful care given, you would have done the same! I looked at his trach the one day and got out a little dixie cup and started filling it with all this crusty nasty junk from off the trach underneath where it went into his airway. I was appalled. I asked the head nurse are they cleaning this. Her answer, "they should be". it was her answer to everything! The same thing happened to his tummy tube. I happened to look and see all kinds of puss and yuck where they had not cleaned it underneath the cover. I am a Mom, not a nurse. They were suppose to be doing these things. I had taken over the wound care bravely, but at this point, the trach and tummy tube had been cared for by the health professionals. And to be honest, the trach still freaked me out a little bit. Needless to say, I added it to my list of, "I'll do it."
Bryan ends up having a massive seizure and goes to the hospital by ambulance. I come to find out that when they discharged him from the hospital, they had read his orders wrong and only given him half the dose of his seizure meds. Hence the seizure came on. I begged them to not send him back to that nursing home. I was waiting for approval for a comcare waiver that would pay for supplies and things at home. It had been weeks and I had not heard anything. I was told he had to go back and then I could put in a transfer to another nursing home. I was explaining to the human resources person what had been going on. I mentioned suctioning his trach and it not being cleaned and she asked about them suctioning him. I said they never did, only me. While I am begging....and I can tell you praying!....the ambulance gurney is right outside his door waiting to take him back. The lady comes back and tells me, don't worry, we will not send him back there. They are not even licensed to provide care for a trach patient! I was so relived. So we hang out there at the hospital while we wait for him to get his scull cap put back on.
Back to the prayers being prayed for us. I could not have made it without them. I am not kidding when I talk about all the mismanaged care. I just could not leave Bryan. He would have been dead had I, I just know it. I was told by nurses that exact same thing, the good nurses, and they said it was good I was staying by his side and fighting for him. For months, I slept in cat naps, no solid sleep, at all. Prayers helped me make it. I faced the challenges of everyday head on. He had a lot of complications early on. And on the outside, the situation looked hopeless. It took a lot of courage to face it. Prayers gave me that courage. Prayers are God's strength called down for you. I am so thankful for all the people that prayed. And that still pray! I still have hard days. My family still has hard days. We miss Bryan.
I will make the rest of this story short because there is something God has on my heart to say. We end up getting to go to another nursing home after his skull cap is put back on. Bryan through all this time has been mostly unresponsive. However, before the massive seizure at the other nursing home, when you called his name, he would turn his head. He stopped that after that seizure. He had a couple check ups at the hospital and a Trauma doctor comes in and just wanted to tell me he admired me as a mother. It made me cry inside but I did not let the tears come out. He said whenever he saw that Bryan had been admitted or if he noticed he had an appointment, he always checked to see how he was. He really wanted Bryan to make it. He told me not many moms would do what I had done. I find that hard to believe, I know a lot of Moms who would. When I told him I can't imagine, he said it is like they close down to protect their heart. They stop coming around, it is too painful. I guess having your son lying there fighting for his life and the doctors saying there is no hope could make a person feel that way. Bryan's condition was really bad. It is not like he had his tonsils removed. The situation was dire. But to me, my hope was in God, not what the doctors said.
We spend about 6 weeks at the other nursing home. I take care of him the whole time. Again, prayers from everyone help me get through it. I only went to this nursing home because they said I could stay with my son. I told them I would not leave his side. The administrator comes in one day and tells me because there are other patients in the room now, I have to leave. I tell her I am not leaving. I was quite firm about it. I had learned to be quite firm about a lot of things. If you have a loved one in healthcare, a hospital, a nursing home, be firm with no fear or intimidation about your concerns and if you have any trouble report it, until you are satisfied. Don't just take what seems to be wrong and think there is nothing you can do. You can, make a stink! Anyway, I have been waiting all this time for a comcare waiver to kick in so I can take my son home. I need a hospital bed, nebulizer, humidification, feeding pump, supplies, a ramp to be able to even get him in and out of home! The administrator comes back with two other people, one is a higher up of some sort. I tell them straight up, I came here because you said I could stay with my son. I am not leaving him. If I have to, I will get friends and we will carry him out of here on a sheet and I will take him home and find money to pay for all his medical equipment, I am not leaving him. You can call the police on me or whatever you have to do, but I am not leaving. And I stared her down. She then says insurance will cover the medical things now. I am like, What?!!! I have been waiting all this time for this so I can take him home and you mean to tell me I could have at anytime? I was told later they made a lot of money with Bryan staying there. Alot. No one told me I could leave. Again, when you have never been in this kind of situation, you don't know. I tell her, well discharge him. I want to take him home now! It took a few days to get the insurance in order and the equipment at home. Insurance would not approve a bigger bed so we tie a box on top of it to make it long enough. The bed I would need cost $30.000 I don't have $30,000 so we tie a box! You can see it in the beginning of the comment section of the Lion. It is terrible they don't provide a bed that fits.
So we go home!!! And, it is a good thing I am used to no sleep. The comcare waiver that was suppose to take 3 months, took almost a year. One day I will tell a little about those long days. For now, I don't know how I even did it except for God. Period. I can remember being so tired, I willed my legs to move. Love will empower you to do the impossible. Love, prayers, God, faith, perseverance, courage. I was not going to give up. I will never give up on HOPE. And on believing for a miracle. And uHtil that day, I will be here for my son. He is loved, not only by me, but his family and people everywhere praying for this kid! I say kid because he is the baby of the family. He was 22 when he was hit by the two cars. He just turned 28 on July 28th, 2014. I still have a lot to say about all that we have been through. I just wanted to share some of the medical struggles. The heart struggles were tough and I want to share more later with hopes it will bring hope. Sometimes, that is all you have. But it is enough. Because God will see you through what ever you may face. Never give up.
What was on my heart to write tonight before I got into Bryan's medical story was to pick up where I left off from Part 1, in the Lion picture. I left off where I said I was 15 years old. I was sharing how God had prepared me for what I would face with Bryan's accident and teaching me to turn to Him. While that time frame was going on in my life when I was young, I shared that I had wanted God, not all the bad things and drugs I had seen around me. I had been judged from teachers and friends parents because of my Mom being a drug dealer. Please know His love helped her and later in life she came to know Him and all her relationships were healed. She was blessed, it is never too late! Anyway, I was looked down on. I was talked about. I wrote part 4 (in the comment section of the Lion post -can be found on my Facebook page or further down blog section here) from a place in my heart where Bryan and I had both been. Feeling not good enough, rejected and looked down on. Please read it, it is a good encouragement and please share these stories if you know someone who would be blessed, one of them or the Lion that has all of them.
While I was being looked down on, my friends told me their parents said I was a bad influence and would not let them hang around me. I had not done anything wrong. Remember I wanted to go to church and not be a part of the drug scene? I had straight A's. I was a great sister to the point I was actually the Mom. Yet I did not fit societies prim and proper expectations. Which I shared in part 5 about religions lack of love, which is worse than societies lack of love! Of all things, religion should love, right?! Religion demands though, God loves. I had God kind of love come into my life, just like I shared happened to Bryan in part 4. People were moved by compassion toward me, not everyone judged. I tasted God through these people that loved. I only experienced shame and hurt through the ones that judged.
The youth pastor at my church knew all that was going on in the home. He never said a word about it. He never gave me a list of you should not do this or do that or if you don't stop this you are going to hell. He was there through the whole journey of while I turned my life over to God. Remember I said I did do drugs awhile? He knew that. God was dealing with me about how I should live, God was making me hungry for goodness. I did not need to be told I was going to go to hell if I did not change. I needed a friend, I needed love. This Pastor was one of the most influential persons in my life. He would come by and sit on the porch step with me and talk. He would ask me how I was. If I needed anything. He would tell me God loved me and that he loved me. I felt it. He was real. He was not religious and he was not about building his people church for membership, he was about building a people church of flesh and blood, building God's people, the real Church, not the building. Love is so powerful.
This same Pastor that showed me so much love got kicked out of the church because he got baptized in the Holy Ghost. I went to a Baptist church, they don't believe in that. I was so sad. I did not want to go to the church after that. I already was very sad about the church before that. One of the girls in the church choir had invited a friend to church. The friend she invited was African American. She was told she was not allowed in the church. This is in the South, in North Carolina. I did not know that was said at the time. I found out the following Sunday when the girl from the choir stood up and called the elders in the church a bunch of hypocrites. She said you call yourself a Christian?! She let them have it. I was very young, and I was appalled to hear what had happened. This girl was a senior in high school. She became my hero at that moment. I was so proud of her for speaking out. A little bit of her spirit got into me that day! I did not go back to that church. I went to the high school where my youth Pastor now held church where everyone was invited, no matter of the color of your skin. I needed God in my life. I needed the love. I was still judged, and it still hurt, but I went after God and He sent people to love me.
I spent a lot of my early years trying to earn God's love. I did not know I did not have to earn it. I had no idea what unconditional love looked like. I had seen a lot of conditions put on God's love, including not accepting you into church because of the color of your skin. I was just a kid and I was judged for another;s life style. How mean were the parents of my friends. Instead of reaching out they shunned me. But God, he sent people that loved me. What is happening is, some people are listening to Him, not religion, because He wants us to love. I had this one teacher step in and save the day for me. This is not what you might think of as love, but I still remember her kindness to this day. I had borrowed a cousins gown for prom because I did not have enough money to buy one. This was not my prom year but I had been invited to someones. I smoked pot that night. The gown had a sheer cape that went around it, chiffon or something like that. Pot seeds sometimes burst while you are smoking. They landed on the cape and burnt little holes in the edges. I was so upset and scared and figured I was going to get into a lot of trouble. There was a teacher that had been nice to me. She was the science teacher and home economics. I told her I had accidentally burned it smoking a cigarette. She smiled at me and said a cigarette, huh? I knew she knew it was pot. She said she could fix it for me. She cut it and resewed the edges for me. I needed grace at that time, not a lecture. I loved that lady for helping me. I will never forget her!
I learned so much about love from the sprinklings of a few people scattered throughout my life. I pray you are one of the people that love like that and I pray you have people that love you like that. I still had a lot to learn. I still do. But I can remember way back then still trying to earn God's love. It was not until shortly before Bryan's accident that I learned more about that I did not have to earn God's love. I listened to a teaching from Kathie Walters that helped me wrap my head around the trappings of religion. I will find the link to it and put it in the comment section. It helped me so much. I keep bringing myself around to the heart of a little kid that just knows God loves me. I have learned I do not have to be perfect. I don't mean I go out and act all mean or commit crimes, etc. I mean that my own self judging heart is a little easier on myself and I KNOW HE LOVES ME. I know HE LOVES YOU, TOO! It just is. And people show that love all the time, and if it's judgement you feel, it is religion. God's love brings such comfort. He will convict you if needed, but it is a gentle heart thing that moves you, and He will continue to work on an area if needed. HE SITS WITH YOU ON THE FRONT PORCH AND ASK ARE YOU OK! He is concerned with your heart. His arms are wide open regardless of how messed up your family may look to the world.
I am not telling the story as well as I would like. I don't know how to share how hard I tried to earn God's love and even today I will find myself trying to earn it. I just know he does and I so want to convey that to you, that you don't have to earn it. You are so precious to Him! Whatever you would think that might prevent that love to you, I pray you see it can't. Nothing can keep God's love from you. He is so happy to have you. He is not seeing your mistakes, He is loving you through them. HE CARES. Of all the things I ever learned in my life, learning I did not have to earn God's love was the most important. That opened the floodgate to pass that same love along! God is so good, I pray you taste and see that the LORD IS GOOD. I pray you escape the trappings of religion. God bless you. I will write more later.
I invite you to visit my art page I set up to honor Bryan. www.facebook.com/Propheticartjustforyou. Please remember to hit the like button while there so you can find me again if you want a painting later. You can select get notifications from that same button if you want to be notified of future art or stories. And please share and invite your friends if you know someone who would like it. I hope my paintings are a blessing! Prints and paintings available at www.JustForYouPropheticArt.com Also if you share these stories on your wall you can find them later. I pray the stories bless you and ask you share them if you know someone who would be touched. Thank you so much. Love, Bryan's Mom (Pam)
to to read my testimony and part one of Bryan's story, please click this link, www.pamherrick.com/inspirational-prophetic-art-and-story.html