Branden West’s parents were concerned about his survival even before he was born. Cheri West, his mom, had gone for a prenatal checkup when physicians informed her that her newborn boy had several issues that would make life tough for him due to his specific requirements.
After he was delivered, the family learned that their son’s illness was not as severe as they had previously assumed. Branden was born with Pfeiffer syndrome, which caused his face and skull to be distorted.
Doctors estimated that the baby boy would only live for 18 months after birth.
Knowing he wouldn’t survive long, his parents chose to put him in hospice care to make the last few months of his life as comfortable as possible. Brendan first met Michele Eddings while in hospice care.
Eddings recalls the day she learned she would have to admit a young child to hospice care. She expressed that the day she went to admit him, she was anticipating it to be a really serious, painful, emotional encounter. After all, these parents were entrusting their young child to the care of Hospice.
But the small child she encountered was cheerful and looked to be in a great mood, something she had not anticipated. Brendan’s respiratory system was one of the problems he had.
She recalls a tough night when the young kid was struggling to breathe and she wasn’t sure whether he’d make it through the night. She recalled begging God to simply take him or make him better because it was just too painful for him, his family, and everyone involved in his care, Eddings said.
Branden, thankfully, lived and recovered. Braden was the first patient she’d ever had the pleasure of ‘discharging’ from Hospice Care, Eddings recounts warmly.
When Branden turned 18 in 2020, Eddings had the special pleasure of witnessing him get his graduation from Apollo High School. She saw him go on stage to get his graduation, a moment no one expected him to survive to see.
Eddings was overjoyed to see her former patient doing so well in life, and she even shot and altered photos of him to commemorate his graduation from high school.
What a lovely tale of people supporting and encouraging one another. This anecdote made me laugh out loud.