Updates: My Sister-in-Law And Teenagers

She's off all medications now. She's waking up easier and answering commands. They're also starting to give her food, resulting in an increase in her energy levels. I think the plan is to get her stabilized so she can be transferred to a hospital her insurance covers. (She's at Kaiser right now and isn't a Kaiser patient, it was just the closest hospital when they transported her.) Gotta love our healthcare system. All of her head CTs have been normal, and her blood pressure is still good. Her white blood cell count is back up, too. Pretty sure she's still intubated as her CO2 levels were still not where they wanted them.

Through all of this, I've watched how my kids have responded. It's been amazing. My son was fighting a cold and couldn't go to the hospital with us. He was never fond of going to the hospital, even when his dad was there, understandably. But, when he found out he wouldn't be able to go see his aunt, tears started pouring down his cheeks. He wanted to be there for his cousin. He was texting me to find out how she was doing--his cousin.

My daughter, oh my god. She was unreal. No way did I think she'd want to go into the ICU to see her aunt. The adults were coming out ghost-white. My daughter shadowed me throughout the morning and afternoon, until I felt a tug at my shirt. "I want you to take me in." She was sure. We went through the protocol we went through with my husband. Hand cleaner. Face mask. Except Bob was always awake and coherent when she saw him. He was never intubated. He never had 7 IVs.

She stood next to me, but she looked straight ahead at her aunt. No tears. Just love. No fear. Just love. We stood and watched the nurse adjust the cooling pads. Then, we walked out, quietly. She's so stoic. I'm not sure my niece, her best friend, would have been brave enough to go in to see her mother if my daughter hadn't gone in first.

It was another hour or more before my niece was ready to go in. Again, we cleaned our hands. Again, the mask. I asked how much she wanted to know before we got to her room. I told her what would be similar to when we would go see Uncle, what would be different. The tears fell, just a few. Then we looked at the machines. I explained where to find her heart rate and blood pressure. We talked about how good they looked compared to earlier. We watched the nurse give her oral medication through the tubes. We looked at the machines working to help her breathe and keep her cool. I touched my sister-in-law's arm, smoothed her hair, told her that her daughter was there.

These kids are so young to be standing in hospital rooms at their parents' bedsides, but they do it, and they are amazing. Since that day, my daughter has stayed at her cousin's side, camped out with her at the hospital, just like her cousin stayed with her when her father was sick. My son has stayed with me, by my side, making sure I'm okay, but also asking after his cousin.

Anyone who thinks that teenagers aren't caring, empathic, strong beings is sadly mistaken.