Blog Post #41 – Riley Friday! (Aidan Hurley)

Aidan Hurley

Happy Riley Friday, Rileython Eve! We cannot wait for you to hear what we have planned for tomorrow’s event! For the conclusion of Riley Friday, WHJE’s own Aidan Hurley shares his experience with Riley!

“My name is Aidan Hurley and I would like to share a few anecdotes regarding Riley Children’s Hospital:

I was born sick. I was diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis (CF) shortly after I entered the arms of my family. CF is a genetic disorder that causes an overproduction throughout the body. It primarily affects the respiratory, digestive, and reproductive systems. My parents weren’t really sure what was occurring when they first got my diagnosis. They did all of their research at home and learned of the average life expectancy at the time; it was around 30 years old. My dad didn’t feel threatened by it. He had faith in modern medicine and he believed in Riley. When I was a few months old, there was a period of time where I didn’t have a bowel movement. My abdomen started to become distended and they thought I was gonna burst. I looked pale. I was battling for my life. I was rushed to Riley Children’s Hospital in Indianapolis for emergency surgery. My small intestine had gotten twisted and a part of it died. I had to get an ileostomy. After some time in surgery, my primary care doctor, Dr. Weist came down to the waiting room to get my parents. She said to them, “He doesn’t have a pulse”. I had flatlined. My mom asked morbidly, “Is he going to make it?”. It was surreal for both her and my dad. They were riding in the elevator and Dr. Weist had her arm around my mother’s shoulder. They barely knew each other at that point yet she embraced her anyway. All of a sudden they were standing at the end of a hospital bed, six or so doctors and surgeons surrounded me accompanied by the monotone beep of the vital signs monitor ringing in everyone’s ears. My veins had collapsed and I looked blue. My dad thought to himself, “I lost my sister when she was 16, am I gonna lose my child at three months?”. He looked at the clock and time had stopped. He felt that his soul had levitated from his body and felt as if he were watching everything from above. He couldn’t breathe and neither could I. The respiratory therapist was standing over me, pumping oxygen into my body with a bag. He was not much older than my parents at the time. The RT was sweating, pumping air into my lungs for over an hour, fiercely intent on giving my life an actual chance. He never gave up. No one in that room gave up on me. Then all of the sudden, I came back.

When I was fifteen, I was admitted to Riley. Once they found out the state of my condition, I couldn’t leave. I felt that I had been compromised. The secret was out and I was trapped. But what I didn’t realize was that they wanted to care for me. Grab ahold of me before I hurt myself. Get me better. They wanted to see me succeed. Riley is like a real car guy––they always wanted me out on the road but knew when I was in need of a tune-up. They were always mindful of the sputter in my breath or when my body was beginning to break down. Every kid they help is their pride and joy. 

In the first hospitalization of my memory, I had to get a peripherally inserted central catheter

(PICC line). It was an IV-like tube that was inserted into a vein from my arm, reaching my heart to administer medicines more effectively. I was only eight years old and too young to really understand what the procedure would entail. All of a sudden my family was asked to leave the room while other doctors and nurses replaced them. It reminded me of something out of a television drama. The doctors all had masks and I knew it was serious because that was them suiting up for a mission. I was scared. They put a blue tarp around most of my body as I gave them my arm as the other dangled off the end of the bed, shaking, and alone. Until Jane, my favorite nurse offered to accompany my hand. I happily obliged, how could I not? She was the nicest lady I had ever met. She was sweet and reminded me of the smell of honey. I remember looking up at her; her hair was long and dark, which highlighted fair skin. She seemed tall, mighty, and strong because she was there for me when I needed someone at most. She told me if I ever felt the operation hurt, I could squeeze her hand as hard as I could. Throughout the whole procedure, the doctors were focused on my body, and Jane was focused on me. I could feel her warmth through her glove which stopped me from shivering, stopped me from shaking. The only thing she cared about at that moment was the scared little boy holding her hand. I didn’t want to squeeze her hand because I didn’t want to show her I was in pain or that I was scared––I wanted to show her that I could be a man.”


For more inspiring Riley stories, and to hear from some of the amazing caretakers like Jane, make sure to tune in TOMORROW, February 27th all day only on 91.3 WHJE or! WHJE is FTK!