|Ashley Louise Campbell|
|1987 November 07 ~ 2006 June 25|
We didn’t see that foursome again, but later in the morning two very bright and positive Doctors came into our lives. Both were from the Intensive Care Unit. With Dr.’s Jacks and Sharp we felt much better as their strong presence and demeanor comforted and assured us. Tammie started to name each of the Doctors after a celebrity as there were so many to remember and it was easier to name them ourselves. The one in charge had a deep, resonating voice and looked very much like Vin Diesel. Later in the morning we went back to the hospital and found our way to I.C.U. We were escorted to a private room and were introduced to the Transplant Team. It turns out that when you want an organ, it is not an automatic thing. You have to go through an “interview” to determine if your loved one is “suitable.” You cannot imagine the stress, on both of us, to answer the right questions right, or the wrong question wrong. I would have died if I’d have been the cause of my daughter being found “unsuitable” for a life saving organ transplant. They determined that Ashley was a good candidate and she should receive a liver, should one become available. They were also very careful to tell us there were no guarantees. For example, there was a possibility that a liver might not ever become available. Furthermore Ashley could become so sick that, even if a liver did become available, she would be deemed “unsuitable,” and the liver would go to a more deserving individual. Our hearts sank and we both visited the bathroom as our stomachs could not handle what was in it. We did that often over those four days. We were escorted by a Social Worker and shown the cafeteria and waiting room. At the I.C.U. you have to call ahead and ask permission to see your loved one. You have to wash your hands before entering and exiting I.C.U. and they need advanced warning when we wanted to be with Ashley.
Ashley Louise Campbell
Day 2 continued
Friday June 23, 2006
“Hi, Mom and Dad Campbell to visit Ashley in bed 21,” was a question that I repeated many, many times over those 4 days. On entering the I.C.U., you turned to the right and walked to the end of the hallway where Ashley laid in a corner bed, near a large window. She was propped up and had the intubation tubes in her which breathed for her mechanically.The intubation would likely place her higher on the transplant list, and we were all for that. Tammie and I struggled with the unfortunate irony that we knew someone must die for our daughter to live. When we first saw her, we were startled as she was starting to swell up and it got progressively worse for that full day. Her belly was swollen, and full of air that made her let out long awful belch like bursts of air. Her eyes were swollen and semi-closed with some God awful red-yellow goo that oozed from them. While we were away she had been screaming in pain as her muscles were cramping and they needed to use sedation and paralyzing drugs. To make matters worse her kidneys were not functioning anymore. There was no urine in her urine bag, and she needed dialysis. To do that they needed to insert large needles into her. One was put into her carotid artery on the right side of her neck and the other in a femoral artery in her leg. They did not want us to be there for that, and frankly – neither did we. After an hour or two we returned to see that she was connected to the dialysis machine. The very large needle in her neck made me sick to my stomach and was very difficult to see. Later, at her viewing, we needed to cover her with a turtle neck sweater to cover the marks left by the needle. Her eyes were very swollen and open just a bit. God forgive me, but I couldn’t look into my daughters eyes. It made me very uneasy and it would start me crying.
She had continued to swell and had this weird hiccup, that would make her body quiver unnaturally. When her consciousness rose, she would fight the machines and they had to give her anti-anxiety drugs on top of everything else. We knew by then that Ashley had 24 to 72 hours to live. She needed a new liver or she would die. Once in the waiting room, a lady from Victoria had overheard our conversation and came to us when Tammie was crying. She told us that her son had just received a new liver, and her daughter a few years before that. She told us that they were doing very well and not to give up hope. Tammie found her words very comforting, and it gave us strength.
Although Ashley didn’t speak to us, we spoke to her constantly as we knew, or at least thought, she would hear us. We would not leave her without speaking to her. I talked out loud, but Tammie preferred to whisper in her ear. We told her we were with her, and that she was not alone. We told her when we were beside her and that we would be with her every step of her journey. We told her when we left her and we told her when we returned. We told her when we touched her and who it was who was touching what. We told her we loved her, that she was doing good, and wanted her to come back to us. I told her she had to fight! “You fight this Ashley Campbell! You fight this and you come back to us. Your Mom and Dad want you and need you, you come back to us! We do not want you to go, you fight this, fight hard Ashley!” I told her that I knew she thought it was too hard, but it was much like going on a long walk. She needed to take the first step, and then continue one step at a time to get to the end. We held and kissed her hands. We kissed her feet. We rubbed and stroked her legs and tiny little feet with the bright pink toenail polish.