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That ER Nurse that helped save my son…

October 8, 2014

1 in 100000000Visiting the emergency room with a child can be terrifying for both offspring and parent. I recall one time my ex and I had two kids in the ER. One had a popcorn seed stuck up his nose, and the other had grabbed a hot curling iron. Then there was the call from a police officer that my daughter had been in a car accident… The “best” ER story, though, involves Kyle.

We didn’t know it at the time, but my son was born with homocystinuria. They screen for it today, but they didn’t back in 1991. When he was a toddler, we thought he had ADHD, but what we didn’t know was that the disorder had caused mental retardation that is not reversible… yet. Anyway, years of neurologists and other specialists had not uncovered the riddle of Kyle until Fall eight years ago. At the height of his adolescence, Kyle began to have difficulty walking, and eventually urinating. I’d sit on the lip of the bathtup holding Kyle’s hand as he sat, sweat beads on his forehead, straining to relieve himself. One day I got a call from Kyle’s mom saying Kyle just couldn’t go, and that they were headed for the ER at UMass Medical Center in Worcester. I remember contemplating the loss of my son. In the ER they catheterized Kyle.

I don’t remember her name. The fleeting faces in an emergency room are just a blur when one is focused on a loved one. She said to Kyle’s mom, “something’s not right here,” and called in a neurologist. Then this happened. Today Kyle is walking and whizzing without worry. All thanks to an ER nurse and the doctors she brought in to help.

It is emergency nurse week, and to honor those many anonymous heroes, ER/trauma nurse Vanessa Barrett is our second 1 in One-Hundred Million story… Thank you, Vanessa.

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