An anniversary I didn’t want to remember…
“Would you be willing to do a video for the anniversary tomorrow?”
As his words echoed through my ears, my heart beat was recognized as the echo I was hearing. I’m not sure what, if anything, Mike said after those words, because I wasn’t present in the moment anymore. I was replaying everything about what this day held 1 year ago…and I didn’t want to remember.
I remember the smell of the hospital as we walked in. The freshly, Clorox-mopped floors and the sun gleaming through the small blocks of white concrete at the top of the steps. I remember passing the nurses station and thinking, “Why are there so many people just sitting here when there are sick children right inside these doors?.” I remember walking through the wooden, glass-paned door, feeling hopeful, excited to see how our precious Frantzky had done through the night. However, those feelings vanished quickly. It was in that moment when anticipation and emotions clashed with reality and the next 6 hours were as if I had stepped into a nightmare and wasn’t able to wake up.
As we walked through the door, we saw Frantzky over in a dark corner all by himself. No one around him, no one checking on him, no one anywhere. There were 3 to 4 other children on the other side of the room and only one of them was being cared for by a nurse.
As we approached Frantzky’s bed, we could see he was struggling to breathe. We then noticed his IV wasn’t working and realized it was the same IV that had been started in the ER the night before. Rhonda and I looked at each other in complete confusion and began to heap LoLo (Frantzky’s Grandma) with questions. “How long has his IV not been working? Why did no one change his IV? What nurse worked with him throughout the night?” She looked at us with tear-filled eyes and said no one would help him.
I tried to tell the medical staff that his IV wasn’t working. I tried to tell them his fever was getting worse. I tried to get someone to come and check on him but no one would come. As anger began to take over for Rhonda and I, we demanded to see his nurse.
Finally, after 30 minutes or more, the nurse came and we began asking her all the same questions. She blankly stared into the corner of the room and the bothered look on her face allowed us to instantly understand what we were facing. She responded with what we knew to be blatant lies, “No fever all night, no notes of IV needing to be changed.” The list of lies continued. We knew at this moment we had to get Frantzky out of this hospital and somewhere with people who would help him.
We demanded to see the doctor and were quickly denied. We were told we needed to be patient, calm, and to stop demanding answers. Rhonda went into overdrive to contact HERO (a wonderful ambulance company here in Haiti) and started explaining the neglect and lack of care Frantzky had received. She informed them that we needed to get him moved to another hospital as quickly as possible. Rhonda went down to find two of the orthopedic doctors we know very well at this hospital to see if they would be able to help us. I sat with Frantzky at his bed, held his hand and tried to comfort him as much as I could. I prayed and I begged because at this point I wasn’t sure what else to do.
When the orthopedic doctors arrived, they were appalled at what they saw. How could a Pediatric floor at this hospital allow this neglect and lack of care to happen. They began to work on Frantzky and tried to insert an Intraosseous infusion (type of IV directly in the shin bone). As they were working on him, HERO arrived and we began the dismissal and transfer to another hospital.
As the hours continued on and the clock ticked away, Frantzky became more dehydrated. He was more distressed in his breathing, more fragile. I remember thinking so many things during all this time but the most unexplainable moment was when the doctor finally walked in and asked for us to come sign the transfer papers. I followed him out to the nurses stations, the same place all the nurses still sat, waiting for something to do. Then the doctor proceeded to say, “I will need you to sign, verifying Frantzky was HIV Positive.”
“Excuse me, what?”
Frantzky wasn’t HIV positive and at this very moment I began to realize he had been placed in the dark corner, neglected and avoided because of a false statement placed in his chart. This precious child was fighting for every breath he was taking because no one wanted to touch him due to three letters placed in his file…HIV.
Our car followed the ambulance through the dusty, smog-filled roads of Port Au Prince as we made our way to another hospital. Rhonda rode in the ambulance with Frantzky and was messaging me constantly to keep me informed of his status. My body felt numb and my heart felt broken. How could we have let this happen to him? Why did we leave him the night before, why did we not stay? I had so many questions and so much blame I was placing on myself but I knew I just needed to pray. Pray for Frantzky to be saved, to be made whole, to feel love like he had never felt before.
We arrived at the new hospital and their staff immediately went to work. They worked so hard to get the proper equipment and the appropriate medication. They worked so hard to do everything they could but it wasn’t enough. The doctors asked us to step outside the door so they could try one more thing but as the doctor opened the door, I could tell by their faces, it didn’t work.
Frantzky was gone.
I went into the room and held his hand, I repeated over and over again how much I loved him and how sorry I was that I didn’t do more. Rhonda came in and they allowed her to pick him up and she held him.
This wasn’t how we thought it would end. We thought he just had a cold that had gotten into his chest. We thought a couple of days of rest and medication in the hospital and he would be back home. But I had to realize at this moment, Frantzky wasn’t coming back home. Frantzky was home with his Heavenly Father. I realized at this moment, my prayers from earlier had been answered and he was now whole, he was saved, and safely in the arms of our Savior. Frantzky experiencing a love that he never experienced before. He had fulfilled his purpose here on this earth and Jesus was ready for him to be home, running, laughing, smiling and embodying the perfection of God’s creation.
There hasn’t been a day in the last year that I haven’t thought about him, missed him, cried inside because of the void of him not being here. Today I am reminded how special LIFE was because I knew him. His grasp would bend a nail in two, his spirit would melt any bad day away and his smile would light up the world. My LIFE was better because I shared it with Frantzky.
I have had to work through a lot of healing over this last year. Forgiving myself, forgiving the nurses and doctor at the first hospital and coming to terms with LIFE without Frantzky. I have shared his story with so many people and I love that his LIFE is now and will forever change the world. So today I will remember him, I will celebrate the LIFE of Frantzky, as hard as it might be, I will because it is what he deserves. Everyone needs to remember Frantzky and how this tiny little boy changed the world.
Frantzky will always be remembered and forever be a KING.