For two weeks, Wilson was kept sedated while surgeons sliced away rotten tissue and drained vile fluid, sometimes more than once a day.
“I can’t tell you the number of times I operated on her; probably 40, 50 times,” Scalea said. “Every time we went back, we just hadn’t gotten control.”
Once Wilson was stable, the doctors gathered her family to wake her and break the news.
Wilson remembers peering under her hospital gown and seeing what looked like yellow Saran Wrap over her intestines. Loopy from the painkillers, she thought she was in a sci-fi movie “and that they were turning me into a robot.”
She feared her baby was dead, that it was somehow her fault, and that she was being punished. Her family brought him to see her through a window, but she accused them of borrowing a baby from the hospital. They took pictures of Christopher at home with newspapers showing the current date, like kidnappers do to prove a captive is alive. She remained unconvinced, and would not cooperate with her medical care.
Finally, when he was several months old, they put her in isolation gowns and brought him to a conference room. A tiny arm poked out of his blanket.
“I have a freckle on my right arm and he has one on his left in the same spot. I remembered that,” Wilson said. “That’s when I thought, ‘OK, he’s here, he’s real. I’ve got to get back home to him, to get better now.’”
But the germs had only just begun to ravage her.
That fall, as she was being discharged from a rehabilitation hospital, she fell ill again. She had developed fistulas _ holes in her bowel that let its contents leak out to her skin. She spent the next two years in Shock Trauma or the rehab hospital, trying to heal those open wounds. Her family brought Christopher to visit a couple times a week.
“It was so incredibly hard,” Wilson said. “I wanted to feed him and bathe him and clothe him, and walk him when he cried. I worked in the pediatric emergency room for 11 years. I had waited all my life to do this for my own child, to take care of him, and I couldn’t.”
She scavenged scraps of normal motherhood.
“I was the first one to give him solid food,” Wilson said. “My husband held the jar of food and I held the spoon. I couldn’t do it fast enough. He loved it.”
Christopher’s first birthday party was in the rehab hospital. For his second, Wilson was in a medically induced coma and didn’t even see him. The little boy took it all in stride and never seemed afraid, said Lori Walden-Vetters, another nurse and family friend.
For Wilson, though, life was bleak.View Entire Story
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