Tuesday, January 30, 2018
A year after my husband was born he had a little brother. His name was Robert but everyone called him Robbie.
Robbie was a normal healthy baby. He progressed like all babies do. His mother was busy with two babies.
When he was just beginning to walk Robbie got sick. Thinking he had the flu Mom put him to bed and treated him as she would treat any of her children in the same situation.
His fever shot so high and she could not get it down. Robbie's parents took him to the hospital.
He was diagnosed with spinal meningitis.
It was a severe case. Because of the high fever his brain was damaged. Back then medical people did not have the wonder drugs or equipment available to us today.
The doctors said he might live for another 2 months. They recommended that Robbie be placed in a home where his needs would be met. That way the family would not be needlessly disrupted.
My mother-in-law informed them that if he was going to die he would die at home where people loved him.
The docoters told her that he needed specialized care. For instance he needed to have a feeding tube inserted in order to feed him. Mom was not trained to do that.
That did not stop Mom. She made them show heer how to insert the tube. She made them show her everything she needed to know to be able to care for him for whatever time he had left. Then she took him home.
Mom took care of Robbie giving him those things only a mother can give.
He was paralized from the neck down. He could not use his arms or legs but he could turn his head a bit.
In the summer Mom would make a soft place for him to lie on the floor. He would watch nieces and nephews play and it made him happy.
Every year cardinals nested in a little tree right outside the living room window. Robie loved to watch them. It seemed as if they performed just for him.
I have pictures of him on a lounge chair safely surrounded by blankets and pillows so he could see what was going on around him.
As you can tell Robbie lived longer than 2 months. I have no doubt that was due to him being in a loving environment.
Mom told me that as she began to see signs of puberty she began to worry for him. She knew that one of his sisters would take care of him if something happened to her but she did want them to have that burden. She told me that she prayed he would die before her.
Robbie died in the night when he was 13 years old. My husband said they knew when the woke up the next morning because their parents were not home.
I believe he had as good a life as possible under the circumstances of his condition. He was loved and tenderly cared for. Without his mother's love and care I have no doubt he would have indeed died within 2 months.
Robbie died before I met my husband. I know a lot about him from listening to family stories. Also Mom seemed to feel comfortable talking to me about him.
All the children in the family feel as if Robbie was a baby forever. And that is how they will think of him.