A Survivor Meets Her Saviors

Our daughter’s best friend received the phone call that she was in an ambulance and hospital bound on March 2, 2023. She was discovered in severe distress during the late afternoon. Her heart stopped enroute, and she suffered cerebral anoxia—meaning no oxygen to the brain. The trauma unit quickly cooled her body; the term is therapeutic hypothermia.

Two hours later, paramedics wheeled in another patient suffering similar situation. He didn’t make it. I later learned that ICU staff rallied for our daughter after losing the other patient. But she was completely unresponsive for the first two full days. “It has been found that only about 12 percent of patients who have been comatose for more than six hours after a cardiac arrest make a good recovery”, according UK-based brain injury association Headway. That statistic might in part explain why we were offered option to suspend treatment and let our only child pass away—on her second day at the hospital.

But she recovered, and today her best friend brought our girl to the ICU to see where she had been and for staff to meet her anew. The thinking: The doctors, nurses, and other people working in the intensive care unit treat lots of desperately distressed patients and rarely enough have opportunity to see the fruits of their service and sacrifice.

The two arrived about mid-morning and helped someone else use the phone outside the ICU to gain admittance to see another patient. Our daughter and bestie followed. He would have been recognized immediately. She spent about 12 days on a ventilator and another in the trauma unit. He had been there every day, most or all visiting hours.

He asked if anyone remembered Molly Wilcox? One nurse asked: The girl in room” XXX? Mini-mayhem ensued. Based on initial prognosis, and even when transferred to the main hospital, recovery to any state considered normal was tenuous at best. Everyone knew she had suffered some brain damage. But here she was. Smiling. Talking. Walking.

Staffers smiled. One nurse cried. And everyone gathered for a photo with our daughter. Someone planned to make it a computer screensaver—and could even be all of them? I wasn’t there and report second-hand.

Unfortunately, I don’t have a copy of the portrait, so our illustration is something shot using Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra on March 6, 2023. Vitals for the Featured Image, which geometry was altered in post-production: f/1.7, ISO 640, 1/40 sec, 23mm (film equivalent); 1:22 p.m. PST.