My son Dillon was only a week away from graduation. It was an exciting time as his senior year was coming to an end. Wednesday, June 10, was Dillon’s last day of school with the anticipated senior locker bay paper toss. There were lots of pre graduation celebrations, and he still had prom and his All Night Grad Party to attend.
But on Monday, Dillon was suffering. He was congested, coughing, and achiness had taken over his whole body. The doctor gave him an antibiotic for an acute sinus infection, and sent us on our way. But by Thursday morning at 5:00am I awoke to a moaning sound. Dillon was on the couch in the family room with his head in his hands. He mumbled that he had just thrown up, his head was throbbing, and the pain had gone into his ears and down his neck.
What? He never gets headaches! Without hesitation, I yelled to my husband, Johnny, “We are taking Dillon to the hospital”! Knowing that I am not an alarmist, he knew something was terribly wrong.
Out the door we went to Fair Oaks Hospital’s Emergency Room. Dillon could barely open his eyes. They admitted us and took an ex-ray indicating his sinuses were severely infected. What? Is that it? I told the doctor there had to be something else wrong as my son could barely lift his head. He agreed and quickly order a spinal tap. The results were conclusive. Dillon had Meningitis.
Immediately, after the prognosis, doctors and nurses rushed to hand us protective masks, hooked Dillon up to an IV and then he was gone.
I forced myself not to think of the worst. After all, this was the hospital Dillon was born in 18 years ago. Love, Laughter, Life! But then another reality rushed into my thoughts. My sister Connie, and Johnny and I were now sitting in the room two doors down from where his brother Ryan at the same age of 18, had suffered Sudden Cardiac Death. OK. True. But we were in Room 7, which was Ryan’s lucky number! My head was spinning, “Think positively, think positively”, I kept repeating in my head.
I did not leave Dillon’s side in the hospital for the next 5 days. They were not sure whether it was Viral or Bacterial Meningitis. He was pale and feverish and could not keep anything down. I have never seen Dillon so sick. No prom, no All Night Grad Party and no graduation rehearsal. But as the days went on he slowly regained his strength and he was released to attend his graduation.
As they wheeled Dillon down to the lobby of the hospital while I walked to retrieve the car, I stopped suddenly. There at the door was a mother cradling her tiny newborn baby. Memories flooded my heart of that same moment I had 18 years ago. My heart suddenly filled with gratitude and I smiled while tears rolled down my face. I had to say goodbye to one son, but this one was coming home.