Wednesday, July 11, 2018
I began covering my son Josiah's arms with sun block, occasionally peaking over his slender shoulder towards the splashing sounds I heard coming from the water behind him. Josiah silently kept his brown eyes fixed on me. I knew he felt nervous and yet still very excited to have this opportunity. His silence was expected as he processed this event. We had been talking about this opportunity for several days, me prepping them with what to expect. Now the day was finally here. I glanced over at Cody, my middle son, who chatted excitedly with Paochu, his PCA and my right hand helper. She carefully spread a thin line of sun block over Cody's new tattoo. Paochu smiled as she assured him how fun it was going to be and how excited she was for him. I took a deep breath. As excited as I was for my sons I also felt the slight tingle of fear stirring with in me.
I was hesitant when first introduced to the idea of this new adventure. I knew the limitations my sons had with their very weakened muscles and the complexities Josiah's new diagnosis presented to us. I relished over the many things that could go wrong. I understood I had to surrender the control of the situation to the many hands that were now coming out to make this event happen for my sons. I also knew the challenges we were about to face would require a team effort to ensure both my sons safety. But since the very beginning of our journey into the Duchenne world I had promised my sons and myself I would not limit their experiences because of my fear and the limitations set by their diagnosis.
The moment we had deployed from my van we were cheerfully greeted by members of the "Shock waves" adapted water ski team. Almost immediately they were assuring me and my sons every safety concern I had would be addressed and that they planned on giving my sons the best possible experience while in the water. All that my sons needed was the will to want to try this new adventure.
I watched frozen in awe, as a boat whizzed by us. Two skiers were positioned on either side of a young man that was sitting nestled on an adapted chair ski. Safely behind him a jet ski followed. My eyes stayed fixed on them as they passed by us. The skiers waved excitedly to us smiling and laughing. The crowd around us cheered and clapped. I found myself excitedly cheering back. I choked back a small cry of pure joy. This was really going to happen today. My two severely physically challenged sons were going to water ski.
I looked at Paochu with a nervous smile. She smiled back and assured me simply " they want this and they can do it'. I wanted this for them as much as they wanted to do this. But my motherly fear fluttered inside me. We gave the ski team members, now gathering around us, instructions on how to lift my sons. Also pointing out the best way to position them when sitting. While Cody was carefully brought down to the water to wait his turn, I fitted Josiah with his neck brace and a floating neck pillow, designed to keep his head upright when in compromised conditions. Items I had brought from home. Items we kept handy in a closet because of our love for adventure. Paochu stuck close to Cody in the water as they prepared for take off giving me great comfort, while I hovered over Josiah. She helped assist with his life jacket and double checked to make sure he had been securely fastened in his ski seat. As if it were magic, we watched, my almost 25 year old son with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy fitted in a adaptable water ski seat, water ski around the lake. I felt my eyes moisten while snapping the camera. My sons once again were defying the odds of this horrible fatal disease.
As Cody was brought just as safely back to me, his smile told me all I needed to know. This was as magical to him as it was to me. This was a moment we would savor for a long long time to come. As if on cue Cody turned to me and said. "Mom I am going again, I love it". We then worked to position my youngest and medically fragile Josiah into an awaiting ski chair. I jumped into the boat that would be pulling him. Tears of pure joy fell from my eyes as I watched my child, who we had almost lost to pneumonia 6 weeks prior, now water skiing.
This journey has taken me down some very difficult trying paths. At times leaving me doubting what I am even capable of doing. But its my sons who seem to some how help me find the strength I need. There have been many times Josiah and Cody have asked to do some very challenging things that require me to really push myself. If this wonderful group had not found their way to us I never would have ever imagined water skiing would have been one of them. I don't know if there are even words to actually describe the pure joy that exploded in me watching my sons water ski.
I don't pretend to know anything special about caring for a special needs child. I only try to let my sons lead in the direction they want their journey to go. I try to help us face our challenges the best I can and accept that sometimes what we want is out of our hands. I am so thankful they have been so blessed to have so many windows of opportunity open for them. I am so thankful for all the wonderful people that have entered into our lives and given of them selves to help my sons soar.
I cant wait to see where the path takes us next.
Monday, June 18, 2018
I watched as his lips started to turn from a pale pink to a deep purple. My heart raced as fear began to rise up my throat, making me feel as though my own air was being cut off. I knew this fear. It was not new to me. I had been down this road twice before. Five years prior with my eldest son Zach, who has been spared the diagnosis of Muscular Dystrophy. Then again 18 months ago with Josiah. When he had caught influenza and pneumonia. I felt so powerless, as we waited for the ambulance. Faster, I squeezed the large ball attached to the mask I held over his face, that forced air into my baby. Josiah"s big beautiful scared brown eyes stayed locked on me. His lips pursed slightly. "Don't talk baby." I urged him. "Just breath, help is almost here."
I did not need a doctor to tell me what was happening. Tears rolled down my face uncontrollably on the way to the hospital. Josiah had aspirated on saliva. What I did not know was that one of the drugs he had been prescribed, for depression and OCD, side effects produced excess saliva. Saliva in amounts to great for him to swallow safely.
In the ER I felt so small and utterly alone. A mouse clinging to the side of his bed, begging for his life. Watching through eyes blurred from tears, I saw the numbers. I stepped back as a crash team came running. We were loosing Josiah. I felt an arm around me as one of the attendees tried to assure me they were doing everything they could, and I needed to let them do their job. I wanted to hear the words he will be fine, but I saw the fear as I looked around the room. And then my baby seized. More staff came running ( stat). I took another step backwards. His poor little body shook and then went stiff. Another staff person began asking me questions about his history if any with seizures, blood clots and his heart.
I stood there frozen feeling utterly alone, with pieces of me breaking. I watched his vitals plummet. I needed to touch him. To make sure he knew I was still here. Most importantly I needed to call him back to me. Seconds later they were whisking him off to scan for blood clots. I was that small mouse again. Only this time in a corner alone, quivering in a wake of tears, begging God.
Three days after being admitted into the hospital his vitals began to crash a second time. He had another seizure, it took him two days to come out of. I became lost in my fear that he might not be coming home with me. My fear was now accompanied with anger. Anger that my son was not getting better. In fact they were having a difficult time stabilizing him. Along with that anger a new sorrow had begun to grow with in me. I knew the course of this disease. I had watched it savagely attack my three brothers through my childhood, until it claimed their lives. Now helplessly again, I watch my two youngest sons in the same battle with this merciless monster. As a mom watching her children in daily battle with a fatal disease, I also ardently pray, they do not suffer this horrible fate longer because I am selfish and can't let them go. Its a deep inner battle, I struggle with, daily. There will be some of you who will not even come close to understanding this.
I stayed at Josiah's side for two weeks and three days during his stay in the hospital. My fear felt so great, I at times trembled. Fear from knowing, he will leave me far to early, and there is nothing I can do about it, because that is the reality with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. It was a few days after Josiah had crashed for the second time and had not yet showed to be making any improvements that I saw him laying in bed with his hands folded together across his chest. I watched from across the room in silence. A bit surprised he even had the strength to be able to put his hands together. Even on good days he often needed my assistance to move them. Several minutes later he asked me to turn him on his side. As I helped him I asked what he was just doing with his hands together. He said quite simply "talking to God." I smiled at him. And then THE question came. "Mom am I going to die." What was left of My heart broke. For him and for me. I was so very scared and desperately wanted to hide my fear from him. But as I looked at his beautiful face, I saw it. He had folded his hands. There it was, an improvement, my sign. It was then that I saw "what" he needed from me. I felt the tears fall. I let them , it was useless to fight them. What he needed now from me, was strength. Strength that I BELIEVED he would recover and come home with me.
I wont lie and say I even pretend to understand anything at all on this journey. The tears fall frequently and most days I am to scared to even exhale. As for prayers its usually me yelling at the power upstairs. For those of you who gasp at that notion-Seriously he already knows who I am and what I am going to do. Its me who has to learn on this journey. For the record I have to share I always add in "Please don't let me be selfish by asking him to suffer more on earth, for me. Give me the strength to let go when its time.' In those difficult days at my sons side when I felt as useless as a scared mouse, I believe I was meant to be right where I was at the exact moment "he" intended.
Josiah lungs and heart are good and they did not find a blood clot.
But we do now finally have an explanation for his seizures. So he has been diagnosed with more complications from another condition that he will have to live with. However he made a complete recovery from aspirating. We have the saliva issue under control. He was released from the hospital after 17 days. I embrace each day with my sons because for now his journey is not over.
Thursday, April 26, 2018
Eve moved quietly in next to Doc where he sat next to Zach. He had been watching Zach closely. His color was beginning to fade to an ashen. He spent more time unconscious now and his breathing seemed more labor. She did not need to ask how he was doing. what she saw told her they needed to act fast.
She laid the vials out in front of her and Doc. "Tell me what you know". He said. "Give me the details on what the lab was doing." She pulled out the reports she had brought with her. "It looks like they were injecting all the participants with the vial labeled Alpha PTC9." She paused and read some more. "But there are parts in the report with highlighted symbols and notes referring to file incomplete. It looks like there was another compound created but no notes on the studies who were injected." Doc looked at the reports. "Eve" he asked taking in a deep breath. "Could there have been participants given a second injection that know one on your team knew about. No one that is other than a staff person operating under another order?" Eve's colored drained from her face.
She remembered corporate coming in to visit and touring the labs. Her boss in particular was very interested in the labs techs. He had asked her to report to him directly, all the research teams names, hours they worked the lab and the files they were working on. He had even arranged to recruit a few of his own guys. He created a lead position in the lab. A lead she knew reported directly under him. He wanted his guy kept abreast on all activity in the lab. Because he was her boss she had followed his command even though it left her in the dark as to what exactly his own team was doing in the lab .
There was the sound of commotion coming from the hall. Josiah placed his hand on his pistol, motioned for Eve and Doc to stay put and hurried out to the hall. Blake and George had entered the compound with Tony. The Bloody corps in the hall stopped them all in their tracks. They looked up to see Josiah standing watching them. "what in the hell is going on here". "We were called in for back up. we did not know it was a multiple homicide case " . Blake informed him. Tony pushed past George and Blake. "Where is Eve ?" He demanded. I am the CEO of Copeland. Eve called me this morning.
Wednesday, April 11, 2018
Cody felt a slight vibrate from his phone. It was Josiah. Sending him a text to let him know Eve was safe with him. Cody walked back towards the lab, feeling somewhat relieved. He peaked in through a small window on the labs main door. He watched silently as the female figure staggered aimlessly around the room. She dragged her feet across the linoleum floor, as if they were to heavy to lift. Bumping into a chairs and tables occasionally. He stood for a few moments watching, not quite exactly sure what he should do with his capture.
His thoughts wandered monetarily back to Eve. He felt himself grow warm as he pictured her face. Dang, he was into her. There was no use fighting it. Before all of this he was not even sure he could feel anything like this again. It was certainly not in his plan to allow his heart to feel so fast.
When things had ended with Julie two years prior he had sworn off women. He scraped up the shattered pieces of what was left of his heart and vowed to keep himself occupied with the ranch. The news of his break up traveled fast through the little town of Hill City. It did not take long before some of the single women began paying him attention when ever he ventured into town. On occasion a few would wander out to his place to pay a little neighborly hello share a beer or two and extend an invitation to a home cooked meal. Cody though a bit reserved, had always been neighborly and making small talk was just second nature to him. It was a bit obvious there were a few gals who made it very clear they had intentions to help the broken hearted hunk forget Julie fast. Cody had never been a one night stand kind of guy and even after a few beers casual sex was just not what he wanted, no matter how alluring he did knew he longed for more. He politely declined there advances and made his trips into town less frequent and kept to himself as much as possible.
So he stayed busy and kept to himself, until the day he found Eve. Dazed and hurt bent over his water spicket. Perhaps it was her vulnerability in that first moment he had laid eyes on her, or, her strength and determination he saw now, that attracted him. Whatever it was it was clear she had brought feelings he thought he had buried alive again. He drew in a deep breath has recalled the kiss they had recently shared. Yes, it was definite he felt things for Eve. Something more than what he had felt for Julie even. Julie no doubt was beautiful and had pleased all his senses. But there had always been apart of Julie that longed for something more than what the ranch and he could offer. Her desire for a faster more exciting life pulled her in a direction that lead her to the arms of another man. A man that possessed a life style Cody could never give her.
His mind was pulled back to the present as the sound of something crashing to the floor filled his ears. He moved quickly down the hall towards the sound. A few rooms away across the hall he stopped and carefully moved towards the door. "Jesus, its gotta be another one."he said softly to himself . Just inside the door he watched another rabid being push obstacles out of his way as he moved. He was a larger man moving about, in the same crazed condition he was now becoming accustomed to seeing. At the sight of Cody he moved swiftly toward him. Gnashing teeth and drool splattering from his gnarled face.
Cody raised his fist as the man lunged at him. The impact send the rabid being sputtering backwards. He landed in heap on the floor. All Cody knew at the moment for sure was the sooner he could help end this madness the sooner he could concentrate on Eve.
Wednesday, March 14, 2018
Cody and Eve made their way back down the hall towards the stair case. She carried the vials close to her with every intent on keeping them safe. She wanted this nightmare to end and hoped the answers they needed were resting in her arms.
Suddenly Cody stopped dead in his tracks. He reached out and grabbed her arm silently and put his fingers to his lips to alert her from making a sound. She stopped immediately and turned her head towards the direction he then pointed. They could hear rustling. Some movement was coming from one of the rooms to her left. Cody held his gun out and slowly moved forward towards the entry. "Whats in this room." Cody asked her softly. "Its a supply room mostly. But there is a second door to it. Through that room." She pointed to the next door, which was slightly a jar. "Which is another smaller lab, we use mainly as a kind of lounge now for the night staff." Cody motioned for her to get behind him. She did as he asked and clutched the vials even tighter to her bosom. Her heart pounded. Not another one she thought to herself. Whatever this virus was seemed to spread like a wild fire. He moved slowly through the door way. Holding one of his arms slightly behind him as a guide to keep Eve back where she would be safest.
His eyes followed the back of a slender figure, staggering towards the other doorway. Eve peered under Cody's arm to get a look. She recognized instantly it was one of her lab techs, disheveled and awkwardly moving. She remembered her name- Megan the new gal. "Its Megan." She whispered to Cody. "She works for us. She is an intern, I just recruited her two weeks ago." "She's been bit. look how she is moving. And from the looks of her, she most likely bit someone else too." Cody said as they stepped in the room. Bits of red was spattered across the front of her blouse and ran up both her arms. The ends of her long blond hair also seemed to be mixed with blood. He noticed too some red texture clinging to a few strands cascading around the side of her face.. Most likely human tissue from her prey he thought to himself. "She is infected. We can't leave her wondering here, she puts us all at risk." Eve grabbed Cody's arm. "Wait, can't we- do-do something for her. Cody - we can't. We cant just shoot her." Eve spoke with such sorrow he could feel her pain. He could also feel her trembling as she pulled on his arm while she spoke. "Josiah, come in." Cody spoke into his radio, with a voice just above a whisper. "Got something for us?" Josiah's strong voice came back seconds later. "Yes, Eve has the vials. But we also got one of those um- walking rabids, moving around. A female. Looks like she has had herself some dinner, but I have not seen any remains laying around yet." He paused and gave the room a quick glance around. "She been up here wondering in one of the labs. She has not noticed us yet. So far this female is it -all we have seen." "Shit. Jesus." A muffled voice spoke back. "We can't just let her be lose." Josiah thought for a second before saying anymore. He could feel the heat rise under his arms. No telling what else they could run into up there. Zach was getting worse, he needed them to act fast. "Anyway you can lock her up? Restrain her some how, then check out the floor some more? Without getting bit that is." I can look around and maybe I can lure her back into the office and lock her in, Eve has a key." " Jesus, man. I was afraid of this. Afraid there would be more. You cant leave her lose but, you need to get back here with those lab tubes, now. Get Eve to the stairs I will wait for her at the bottom. Then you go back and lock that thing up." "Sounds like a plan." Cody said looking at Eve.
Eve nodded. She knew she had to get back to Doc and somehow try to fix things. She and Cody backed out slowly and moved swiftly towards the stairs. "Be careful Cody." Eve said and just as fast grazed her lips in a dry kiss across his cheek. She felt herself instantly grow warm. She then turned quickly and took the steps hurriedly. Josiah was waiting for her just as he had said.
Thursday, March 1, 2018
Eve and Cody headed down the hall way. They passed a few motionless bloody corpse. The stench was almost suffocating. Eve desperately tried to keep her eyes focused on the exit door ahead of them, which lead to the back stairs and up to the second floor. The second floor was quiet. Nothing seemed disturbed in the area. "What is up on this floor?" Cody asked Eve. " Some labs. Closed off of course, with a secured entrance." She said pausing to look at him." My office, a couple supply rooms and about 5 inpatient rooms in the west wing. All Locked off from the rest of the second floor. I have a key in my office for the labs." She lead him down another very still hallway. The quiet was almost deafening. Cody checked the handle of every door as they passed. Peering inside each one briefly to make sure they were alone.
The pair found Eves office unlocked. They entered the door with Cody pushing her behind him. Eve gave a gasp as she noticed a desk chair had been overturned and a few drawers had been pulled open with the contents spewed over her desk and around the room, as though someone else had already been there searching for something. She pulled open the bottom right side drawer and pulled out a small metal secrets box with a single key inside. "Got it." Eve said turning around and almost running to the the door. Cody followed closely behind as she hurriedly led them towards the labs.
The lab was still locked and seemed to be intact. Eve wasted no time once inside. She went directly to the a small fridge pulling out a a tray of vials. Carefully she examined the label of each small glass tube. "Alpha PTC9", she read it over again softly. Pausing as she remembered, Marie from the lab telling her about their recent findings a few days ago. An Antidote of some sort, That increased white blood cells when provoked by infected red cells until new red cells could be regenrated. When Eve alerted Headquarters about the labs findings they were immediately instructed to refrigerate the serum label it Alpha PTC9 tell no one until there were further instructions. Eve understood in the medical research field they had to be very careful to not leak out information before there was data to back it up. They especially did not want any information leaking out into the wrongs hands. Especially a group of radical activist that could out everyone at the center in danger. So it did not seem an unreasonable request. But it troubled her greatly that a few of the volunteers had disappeared in the night a few weeks prior to the serum being discovered. It also left her very uncomfortable that there were things happening in the lab (her lab)that she had not been breifed on.
Wednesday, January 3, 2018
Tony's driver pulled his car up in front of the compound. He felt a heaviness in his chest as he quickly scanned the courtyard. "Shit. What-What in the hell." Tony mumbled to himself. His eyes moving slowly around as he looked at the parked squad cars and then at a motionless figure laying on the ground off to his right. About a yard from there was another clothed mass laying on the ground. He was certain it too was of human form maybe even more than one. Motionless, and it too slumped to the ground in an awkward entangled position. This is insane he thought to himself. He was seeing exactly what Nathan had described to him over the phone. How could this even be possible.
His driver put the car in park and sat in silence, waiting for further instructions. Tony tried calling Nathan on his cell phone again. Still no answer. He cursed some more and slammed the phone down on the seat next to him. "Shit. I will just have to search for the idiot myself." he said with disgust and a bit of fear rising in him. Lewis his driver moved quickly and opened Tony's door. Instantly as Tony stepped out of the vehicle he was hit with a breeze, carrying an unfamiliar stench. He turned full circle to look around the courtyard. He felt the hot sun beating down on him and the build of perspiration breaking out from under designer suit. He removed his Armani jacket, and loosened his tie. Lewis stood next to him in silence, paralyzed with the beginning of his own fear. Just what had he been dragged into, he thought to himself. As Tony raised his hand and wiped at his brow, he could faintly hear voices coming from the back side of the building. He laid his jacket on the seat, grabbed his phone from inside the car and began walking towards the building. He motioned for Lewis to follow him. With out a word his driver shut off the car and did as instructed.
George and Blake stood side by side looking down at the rabid beastly man, they now had hand cuffed to the car door. He continued to claw and grab towards them. Wildly he shook his head from side to side. Growling as saliva sprayed from his distorted blood stained mouth. He made no indication he understood anything they had said to him or that he even was aware he was now connected to the vehicle.
It was Blake who first noticed Tony approaching them. He walked briskly towards the two officers. Both men turned to look in Tony's direction. "He must be part of this operation." George suggested. Blake placed his hand on his holster just in case. "He does not look crazed, maybe he knows something. Maybe. Maybe he can tell us whats going on here." "Who is in charge?" Tony asked in a very demanding tone. "Hold on there. " Blake snapped. "Who are you?' "I am Tony Everett. CEO for the company that runs this research center." "I left Eve Porter in charge of running the center.""Where is she and her staff? Which one of you is in charge and where is the rest of your force?' I see 3 squad cars parked in front." Tony paused for a brief moment to glare at the disgusting drooling man bound to the car. " And What is going on with this man?" Before either officer answered any of his questions Blake stepped toward Tony, holding his hand up for him to stop. "If you are the man in charge why don't you tell us what is going on here." " We called for backup. Dispatch said all cars are here." "When we pulled up we found this man attacking another man." George pointed around to the side of the car where Nathan now lay bathed in his own blood and very still. Tony gasped as he walked around the front of the car and looked at the body that laid soaked in a pool of blood. Half his neck and left shoulder were missing. The man looked as if he had been savagely ripped open by some beast. "Jesus." Tony cried in shock. The color drained from his face as he looked closer and discovered in horror it was Nathan. His inside man he had hired to help cover his tracks.