Code Blue

I remember one night two years ago up at Primary Children’s Hospital. I had spent the day in a dark hospital room while Hayes slept on and off with intermittent showings of Baby Einstein’s on the TV. I played peek a boo with Hayes and then watched as he drifted off to sleep. It was usually when he fell asleep that I began to notice that I was starving. It was about 7:30 and I vividly remember asking the nurse to keep an eye on him while I ran to grab food at the cafeteria.

It was my break for the day so I usually “enjoyed” myself by getting a Coke Zero from the soda machine and even splurged on some cafeteria sushi. You know, the real fancy sushi with the plastic green grass? Yep, I was a high roller sometimes.

On this night, I had just made my purchase and was walking slowly up the stairs to the 4th floor when my phone rang. The caller I.D. said “Primary Children’s Oncology”…I assumed it was an automated call from the oncology clinic so I denied the call and kept making my way up. All of a sudden, over the loud speaker I heard, “Will the parent of Hayes Tate please immediately make their way to his room.” I had NEVER heard this before, for any parent let alone myself. I was in a panic and ran the last set of stairs two at a time. I used my keycard to get into the unit and ran towards Hayes room.

Doctors and nurses were overflowing out his door with anxious looks on their faces. I pushed my way in and Hayes lay right where I had just played peek a boo with him 20 minutes before but now his eyes were closed and blood poured from his nose. How did this happen so quickly?!? I held his hands and nuzzled into his face with my wet cheek pressed into his. He didn’t respond. I whispered “My sweet baby boy…” over and over again as tears streamed. I listened to the doctors as they explained to me that Hayes had been unresponsive and they had called a “Code Blue”.

The next step was for Hayes to have a CT scan to rule out a brain bleed. The blessing came within an hour and the news that Hayes did not have a brain bleed but rather low platelets and an extreme loss of blood was actually a relief. Hayes had scary situations all of the time, daily and sometimes hourly, so this roller coaster of heart break was all too familiar. The blood loss and platelet transfusion were just the teeniest of bumps in the road.

We were back in his hospital room and I sat rocking him in the green pleather chair. As I held him, I cried that night at what could have been. To be honest, it still takes me right to the edge of tears. The irony is that the “what if” has already happened, but it is just a reminder that I lived that fear.

As I held him, the hum of CNN played on the TV. My mind focused and I realized what the political panel was debating. They were arguing the presidential candidates. Who would be the most honest? Who had said what in their past? Who would cut taxes?…..I wanted to throw up, I was so angry. Here these 5 people were, passionately arguing over something that really, in the grand scheme of things didn’t matter, and I had almost lost my baby boy the hour earlier.

The cancer unit is this other world. You have to go through two sets of double doors and every room is pressurized to insure that no germs can get in. It is truly the most locked down area of the hospital because these little bodies are so vulnerable and susceptible to sickness. Because of this, it is incredibly isolating and lonely. You really don’t know what the weather is outside let alone the political climate. So listening to the news that night completely disgusted me. That people were worrying about things that didn’t matter just killed me inside. How was childhood cancer not the subject of their disgust?!

It probably isn’t completely logical. I understand that childhood cancer isn’t everyone’s agenda, but during that 331 day fight, it was all I knew. It was all I could wrap my passion around. I lived the world of childhood cancer. Still, to this day, I have a hard time empathizing with political and social issues and debates. For me, none of that stuff matters. My fight is childhood cancer. It will be until there is a change. This is my forever fight, my forever “Code Blue”.

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11 thoughts on “Code Blue

  1. Brittany says:

    😭😭😭😭 this honestly breaks my heart. As I read this my heart so bad for you. You are an amazing individual, and a very vivid writer. I felt like I was there with you. Truly breaks my heart what you and your family lived through. The silver lining… at least you truly have a purpose now. Keep trying to gain attention to childhood cancer. I truly admire you.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Jennie Gamlen says:

    Oh my gosh Savanna! I cried out loud when I read your post today. I know I’m going to probably be a teary mess when I get Steve’s book finally, but this post was powerful. Working in a hospital, I know what code blues are like. I can hear the loud siren dinging in my head that they play overhead when we have a patient that codes. It is absolute chaos. So to think of chaos around your Hayesey, it just kills me.
    I used to only have eyes for animals. I was an avid animal advocate, adopting the most pitiful little Chihuahuas from animal control. Maricopa County, where I live, has the largest shelter population in the country, second to Los Angeles County. They euthanize about 40,000 dogs and cats each year. Saving animals was my passion. Now I have babies. I never really thought I would want kids, but I met my husband 9 years ago and it just seemed right. Now children are my passion. And still even now, childhood cancer awareness is my passion too. Only because of Hayes and Steve and you. I too was like the person walking down the hallway, asking someone, when did all these little kids get so sick? And the voice on the other end would say, they’ve always been there, we just never realized it. Nobody knows about it! And it’s devastating!! 😭 That was one thing you said that I’ll never forget, as you guys first walked into Primary Children’s. The other thing you said Savanna, that I’ll never forget was something along the line of “Oh Hayesey, I’m so sorry I couldn’t save you!” That quote has sparked a fire in my being that is so profound nobody could ever understand. So with that, I move forward, vowing to remind everyone of the fight these little warriors fight! I spread the HayesTough message everywhere I get a chance. I wish I could have held Hayes in my arms for a moment. I would have given him a big kiss on the cheek and told him I love him and I’m going to help other kids in this world just like him!! 💚💚💚 All because of him and his mom and his dad. 😘 Enough of my rant. Stop reading this and go enjoy your amazing Spanish vacation!!! XOXO!

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  3. Trisha Fullmer says:

    I hate hearing Code Blue up there. Hate it. I don’t even want to hear the room number sometimes cause it could be someone I know. I panic. The adrenaline sets in.
    Then you go home and hope nothing like that happens at home.
    Then it almost does.
    I can’t even write down what happened to us the other day.
    I hate this cancer world.
    I agree about things that don’t matter as much- my baby is suffering and other lives go on as though the worst thing out there is a staying home with sick kids.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. rachelnorcal says:

    Tears here, too… with you, for you, for your sweet fighter boy, for all the other kids & families faced with these realities, fears, heartbreak..
    It may mean I’m uninformed about certain issues, current events, etc., but I stopped watching the news a long time ago.. my own personal choice for my own mental health. I see headlines here & there online & talk to people about things that are important to them.. but I just don’t have the room in my brain or heart for 98% of what makes up mainstream news. I don’t blame you one little bit!!
    Keep sharing, keeping fighting, keep raising awareness… You have a strong (tough!) army supporting you. Love you! ❤️

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  5. Marisa says:

    I remember that night so vividly too. We were both in the hospital with our boys – both had out of control nose bleeds – yet we were worlds apart. I was so close, but couldn’t hug you. Sweet Hayes. I sure miss him. Love you – thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Jessica Aldrich says:

    I recently started following you and your husband and your sweet baby boys story. I am so sorry. My son Michael passed away, I hate writing that. He passed away March 30th 2017, he had AML and MDS. He was sick for 5 months, I know that feeling you were talking about. This time last year was the start of all the agonizing torture that my son went through after his bone marrow transplant, the nose bleeds were so scary and also the vomiting of blood. It makes me sick to think of. I want you to know that I think you are doing an incredible job with your other children and husband. I know that Hayes is very proud of his mama. He is always with you💙💙💙

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