After meeting the Daugherty’s, I let their lives take over my own. I still went to school, went to my club meetings, photographed for the school newspaper and had a beer or two along the way. The Daugherty’s brought love and laughter into my life, but what I soon learned was they also brought a new form of anxiety, a type I wasn’t too familiar with.
I have a bad habit of letting my phone die. I forget to charge it, it has a bad battery, I play on it too much while waiting in food lines, whatever the excuse that day, my phone dies often.
It died once and my grandfather was rushed to the hospital for a blood clot.
I didn’t like it dying. It freaked me out, and I realized how important it was that my phone was charged. I soon began paying a bit more attention to when it’s at a low charge.
In June of 2018, I didn’t plug my phone into the charger correctly, and it died overnight. I woke up to my mother calling my roommate to say my father had a heart attack and was in the hospital.
I learned my lesson. Cell phones aren’t meant to lose charge.
After meeting the Daugherty’s, I would be on the verge of a panic attack if my phone didn’t get the necessary charge. I received a call twice that Christian was being rushed to the ER, and I would cry a few tears, say a few prayers and hop into my car with my equipment.
Once I got to the ER, Christian’s face lit up! He was so excited to see me and begged me to play Candy Land with him! I snapped a few photos, and played three games with him and his Uncle David. After the oncologist confirmed there was no bleeding from his brain, a huge sigh of relief was unanimous throughout the entire room. Three days later we would all be back at Riley to meet with Christian’s oncologist, Dr. Alex Lion.
Brad and Amanda prepped me the night before for what we would talk about at the hospital. I nodded my head, but knew I didn’t fully understand the extent of emotions I would feel the next day. Giving hugs, we all went to bed (and me on their couch as has become common the night before Riley trips).
I cannot describe how painful April 30th was. I know I have only known the Daugherty’s for three months, but I now pray for every single family who ever has to see the purple Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) form. This was the single worst signature I have ever seen in my life, and watching two of the strongest people I know shed tears, was simply debilitating. Christian insisted on cuddling Amanda; Amanda ran out of the room; Brad signed the form; and Christian tried to make me laugh. I smiled just for him.
I cried as I took photos, I sniffled through the videos and I hugged every pulmonary team member, cried into Amanda and Brad’s shoulders and shivered as I prayed with those left in the room after. I called my mom on my way laughing with tears running down my face.
Why? Because the DNR paper was pink and my phone was losing it’s charge.