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We are a family of fifteen: eight already with Jesus and seven in desperate need of Him. This is the story God is writing in our lives. Proverbs 16:9

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Life This Side

On January 12, our Andrew turned 11 years old. It feels like the first 10 years were the climb up the clinking hill part of his life and now we enter the free fall. Stay tuned for a post about him very soon. 
On Christmas Eve, I awoke with Isaac staring at me from the side of my bed. He was pale and upset. One look, and I immediately thought of his asthma. I ran him downstairs and Micah prepared a breathing treatment. He has never looked this way without having some breathing difficulty so I assumed he was somehow struggling. His lungs sounded clear and I heard no wheezing. I began the treatment anyway. After a couple of minutes, his lips started turning blue--- and he complained that his tummy hurt. He was lethargic. Even the soles of his feet were pale. Clearly, asthma wasn't the culprit. 
I had no idea what was wrong with him. The paleness and lethargy was so pronounced, I told to Micah call 911.

The ambulance arrived and assessed our boy. His vitals were OK overall but his demeanor was not improving. We decided it was best to have him looked over. On the way to the hospital I suggested to our EMS escort that maybe his blood sugar was low. Sure enough, it was indeed. He gave him glucose and when we arrived, he drank juice and returned to his normal, energetic self. 

For some reason, on this particular morning, Isaac's blood sugar lagged well below normal. After a good visit with his Pediatrician, we are confident this was a one-time episode. Isaac had fallen asleep early the night before and had slept in that morning. His body should have regulated his blood sugar better, but this time, it didn't. This is definitely something we will be more mindful of for him in the future. 

On another note, his "asthma" (although they are still hesitant to officially diagnose) seems to be under control. When he saw the doc, he had had a cold for over a week and an ear infection. Even given his upper respiratory ick, his lungs were completely clear. The doc was pleased at his progress. It was just last year that he got ill and ended up in the hospital with pneumonia. Praise God!

Not too much time passing and another child, another concern. This past Saturday, Eliana woke up with swollen, bloodshot eyes. She looked really sick--- and had been sharing Isaac's cold (sharing is good, right?--- not always). I took her to an urgent care center in the afternoon. She was diagnosed with a sinus infection and conjunctivitis. I brought her home and started medication. She also felt a little warm, so I gave her ibuprofen. She was very tired having missed her nap so she quickly fell asleep on the couch. She had been very still for about half an hour when she woke up abruptly. I remember saying out loud, "I think she is having a seizure". Some of the details are a blur. Somehow, Micah loaded all the kids up in the van, I gathered her in my arms, and we again headed to the ER. On the way there, she had two more seizures. 

Those minutes have made an impression on my soul that will not be erased. They settle among others that have altered the fabric of my soul. Suffice it to say, I thought she was going to die in my arms. I was speaking aloud--- words to calm her, asking her to take breaths, trying to get the pulse oximeter to read something other than *panic*, prayers for God to intervene. I sang to her. The ride was so long. There was a person that had pulled out in front of Micah that surely thought he was just impatient and decide to go slowly to make a point. From now on, I will consider the hurried driver a bit more graciously--- you never know what may be going on that might make them move with more urgency. 

We finally made it to the ER. I ran her inside and tried to say something that would give them the information they needed to help. We were seen by the doc in less than a minute. Her temperature was well over 104. The nurse gave her acetaminophen in suppository form. It helped very quickly. I fed her a popsicle. At some point, Micah and the other children came back to see her. 

For a good while, she and I sat on the bed. The nurse brought her a sticker sheet with a winter scene complete with snowflakes (how appropriate). The doctor came back in the room and began going over information regarding febrile seizures. I heard about half of what she said. 

The doc left and Eliana's nurse entered. I felt like I had been pummeled by a stream of relentless waves. The adrenaline subsiding, I felt sick to my stomach. I kept closing my eyes trying to reabsorb tears and act like I was somewhat succeeding in assimilating the information I had been given. The nurse stopped, put her arm around me, and gave me a safe space to cry. Since Eliana had stabilized, we went back home. 

In the days afterward, she remained very sick. Her fever continued to spike, sometimes going from completely normal to almost 102 in just 10 minutes. With the seizure episodes, I have been very careful, watching her temperature. With her eyes swollen and a crazy shade of bright red we made two more trips to the doctor. He finally narrowed down her diagnosis. Sinusitis was not the whole story.

There were groups of symptoms that would move us toward a more clear diagnosis. He began looking for signs of Kawasaki Disease and a type of Adenovirus, giving me instruction on how to differentiate between the two. One is more rare and threatening than the other. It has been frightening for her to have been so sick without knowing exactly what we are treating, whether what I have been doing was helpful, and if she is in real danger or simply following the course of a virus. After watching her all week, it seems as though she has had an Adenovirus. After days and days of high fevers, she is getting better. Her eyes are less red and swollen. She still isn't at her best, but she is definitely better than she was. 

Fever Finally Broken

Today, I have learned a little more about Isaac and Eliana. I have also learned about Andrew, Elijah, and Isabella in the ways they have responded to their siblings. I know a little more of the ills of life. But ultimately, I know that I may not always know. There are mysteries here that will also be my companions. There are best guesses and at a given moment, they may be wrong and may be right. It makes me uncomfortable, sometimes to the point of discouragement. I don't like it, especially when it comes to my little ones. 

In the moments where the veil is thin between this world and the next, the only thing that remains clear is that Hope still remains outside of us--- outside of our understanding--- outside of our frailties--- outside of our limitations--- and enters in to those spaces that threaten to undo us. I need the One who has conquered death to continue in life. True hope does not deny hard things but sees them as they are. Suffering is real. Sometimes it feels like it may consume. But of all that I am sure and more that I am not, it does not win. I say this with confidence because it absolutely does not depend on me. The ultimate suffering and the thing most feared is death. Jesus made the end of all things ---not death---but life--- where seizures and illness do not exist for those He loves "for we will be like Him, because we will see Him as He is."  Since that day is not today, keep reminding me. I so often forget. I am completely serious. And I will keep reminding you.

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