“The ICU was quieter than I’d expected.
“A thawing Saturday afternoon shone mutely through the third-floor windows. My husband and I walked slowly down the wide corridors, keeping pace with my mother-in-law’s footsteps that faltered behind her walker. We were on our way to see her younger sister.
Her sister, Rosemary, was born with the Rh (rhesus) hemolytic disease factor in 1934. An Rh factor problem occurs when the mother’s Rh factor is negative and the baby’s is positive, as inherited from the father.
The good news is that an Rh factor problem is preventable and treatable—now. But in the early 1930s, this wasn’t the case.
Rosemary has lived her entire life with the brain of a six-, maybe an eight-month old.
It’s interesting, looking at someone who has grown into old age, but has remained unmarked by the world.
Your hair still turns white, but you have few lines.
Your face appears unscathed by trauma or care.
Even on a breathing tube, you seem docile and comfortable, and passive. I contrasted Rosemary’s tranquil demeanor with the faces of other ICU patients I’d visited who were fighting for their lives.
My mother-in-law’s sister doesn’t know her.”
My story of Rosemary and the Rh factor will be published in the Journal of Crisis Prevention, Crisis Prevention Institute, projected for March 2017.
I’m super happy about this. The visit with Rosemary affected me profoundly; this essay came out of me, spiraled around, and turned itself (and me) inside out a bit. I am grateful to be able to share this in such an esteemed journal as the JCP.
This will be my second article to be published in our journal. It’s no easy feat to be accepted!
My previous one, based off an interview with Emilie O’Connor, a Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) coach, is about building positive relationships in a diverse school environment. It is reprinted here. (This journal was previously named the Journal of Safe Management of Disruptive and Assaultive Behavior.)