When we pulled up to the ER Chanel jumped out of the car and took Amelia inside with her while I parked the car. I sat in the car with boys going through work emails, texting friends, watching sports highlights and still checking the clock to make sure I would make my lunch appointment. I had no idea how quickly everything would change. About 15 minutes later after dropping Chanel off, around 10:15, the hospital chaplain called me. He said I needed to get inside as soon as possible so I could be with my wife. He made it sound like it was urgent and he asked if I had anyone that could stay with our boys. I called my parents and very quickly told them what was going on. Immediately they both dropped what they were doing and headed to the hospital. Meanwhile I went inside with boys in tow behind me. The chaplain met me at the front door and told me it was very important that I go see my wife. At this point, I started worrying, a lot. I wondered how bad it really was and what the rest of that day was going to look like. A nurse was able to take the boys into a small room that had a television and a couple old Disney VHS tapes; she sat with them till my parents arrived while I rushed over to the room that Amelia was in. I walked in and there was almost a hush in the room, although not for lack of a crowd. There were probably five to six different MDs and a number of nurses and different specialists, it was standing room only and four to five more people were just outside the door. Right in the middle of it all was my beautiful daughter. She laid there on a large bed looking truly angelic. Right next to her, clasping her hand was Chanel with eyes full of tears. I came to her side and embraced her. The lead doctor gave me the rundown on what was happening but I honestly don’t remember more than few words he said. I just kept looking at Amelia. She looked so helpless and little but at the same time she looked calm.
The doctor told me that she had essentially lost consciousness at home and during that episode her lungs had filled with fluid from the saliva that her mouth was still producing while she was unconscious. Once she regained consciousness she began to choke on the fluid that was in her lungs which prevented her from breathing regularly. That’s a very condensed version of what was going on. I wouldn’t be able to put into words the nitty gritty details of what was happening every minute but there was so much going on that all we could do was stand there next to her bed. After a few minutes my parents showed up and I ran over to the room where they were with the boys to give them as much of an update as I could. It wasn’t much because to be honest I wasn’t retaining hardly anything that the doctor was telling us. I rushed back to the room Amelia was in to be with Chanel.
At this point it was close to 11:30 I believe. Amelia hadn’t moved at all and hadn’t opened her eyes since we had arrived at the hospital almost 90 minutes earlier. A doctor in the room suggested that Chanel talk to Amelia even though it was obvious that Amelia was out of it. She just lay there with her long skinny arms hanging on each side. Chanel had been holding Amelia’s hand almost the entire time up to this point and then she started stroking it and saying her name in a soft soothing voice. Because of the way the room was set up Chanel was positioned behind Amelia and I stood on Chanel’s right hand side. As she began to gently say Amelia’s name through her own tears, Amelia opened her eyes and craned her neck back to look at both of us. She looked at us for what I would guess was five to ten seconds but it felt like time was standing still, if not just for a minute. As she looked back at us with her big brown eyes she reached her hand out to Chanel and after a few seconds she closed her eyes again. That was the last time we ever looked into her eyes.
A nurse sat behind the head of the bed holding onto Amelia’s head as another nurse worked on her IV while a few doctors worked on Amelia. By “worked on” I mean that they were attempting to pump fluid out of her lungs to try to help her to breathe. At this point she wasn’t doing any breathing on her own. After pumping her lungs clear the doctors would try to see if she could then breathe on her own, even just a little, but she never could.
This went on for awhile. For nearly 90 minutes to an hour if I remember correctly. Eventually the doctors moved Chanel and I from her bedside to a far corner of the room and little by little the room filled up with more and more people. At one point I counted eight different MDs in the room. Around 12pm Amelia lost consciousness and the head doctor looked at the nurse beside him and said “Call it in”. Immediately there were even more doctors, nurses, and assistants flooding the room while blue sirens in the ceiling sounded an alarm. Chanel sobbed on my shoulder while I stood there completely frozen. Things took a turn for the worse when the hospital chaplain walked in and asked if we wanted to pray. He didn’t just ask about praying though, he also asked very poignant questions that led us to believe this was going to be the day our one and only daughter died. What sucked even more than trying to process that was also remembering that just three weeks before I had gotten a vasectomy. Would we only have Beckham and Maverick now? I kept thinking about how much we’d always wanted a girl and now she was being taken from us.