Tuesday, July 15, 2014

A fraction of my anger

My anger is ever present.  Dense and thickly layered, like a giant rubber band ball. Slamming it down, bouncing it about, threatens to break everyone and everything in its path.  Dismantling it, shooting each band off on its own, target or no target, dulls (too much) the heft of the whole.  So I hold the ball of anger, disgusted that I need to find a place for it amongst my many other unattractive grief adornments.


Would they have done nothing, if he were rather a grown man, groaning in pain, laying in their hospital bed?  Why did it become acceptable for his heart rate to be significantly out of range?  How could his constant, full day, awake state be blamed on caffeine, that had never before affected him this way? 

Why did the last words of that afternoon, his nurse's words, have to be so condemning of my concerns about my son? 

Gretchen, I can't wave a magic wand and make Zachary feel better. 

Those words made me feel foolish, like I was overreacting, like I was a little nutty, like I needed to go home and please get some rest.  Which I did.  I didn't know what else I could do for Zachary.  I was trying to live by "it's a marathon, not a sprint", trying to live my double life.  I left my tiny baby to fend for himself in his isolette that night, his preemie whimpers only audible with open portholes.  No red flag was placed on him.  No doctor visited him at all, that night. 

How could they, in good conscience, tell me It's good we've caught it early, the next morning, when a test could have, should have, been run the previous day?  The sepsis was already doing its damage.  Antibiotics administered even a couple of hours earlier might have made all the difference for Zachary.  Why did a doctor try to tell me that in all likelihood, the source of the bacterial infection was the birth canal, my body?  Impossible, given the timing of his clinical symptoms.

Delayed reactions.  Twisted explanations.  Scapegoating. 


That hospital.  Someone touched my baby, or his umbilical line, with E.coli on their hands.  We will never know who.  Zachary DIED.  My otherwise healthy baby is dead, as a result. 

I cannot begin to articulate how angry I am. 


  1. I am so sorry.
    I don't know what to add except that as long as you decide to write and express your anger, you can count on me to read and acknowledge how valid it is.
    je pense à Zachary. I wish he were still with you.

  2. I echo what typhaine says above. I will read and witness that anger. I am so so sorry.

  3. I find anger the most confusing and difficult grief response. A wise person suggested to me recently that every opportunity to express it - write it, scream it, punch it...helps to diminish anger's power. It let's something or someone else shoulder a small piece of the immensity. Sometimes a 'grief tool' is the last thing you need, but sometimes it's just the right analogy to be helpful... Let the internet take on a little of your anger for you. I'll be angry with you tonight as well. Zachary should have grown strong in that hospital isolette! He should be home with you! and it's infuriating that he's not!

  4. Thank you to everyone for reading and validating me. My anger is just starting to seep out after many months of simmering.

  5. I read this shortly after you published it. I still don't know what to write.

    I'm so sorry for what that nurse said, so dismissive. Some of the people who work in NICUs can make you feel very small indeed.

    I'm sorry that they lied to you and tried to imply it was something that Zachary had picked up from your own body. How very cruel and unprofessional of them. I hope that they feel ashamed of doing that.

    And, as ever, I'm mostly sorry that Zachary died. Who wouldn't feel anger?

    1. Catherine - Thank you. Everything lined up perfectly wrong for Zachary, including too, too much human error. And now, we must live with the devastating consequences while the professionals involved go about their every day.

      Have you recently made your blog private? I went to re-read and comment on your most recent post and I am unable to access it... I hope by replying here, this message gets to you. Please help me get myself on the vip list.