Thursday, May 31, 2012

When Illness Hits the Home

 We have always been a relatively healthy family. By that I mean we occassionaly get the common cold but seldom get the flu or any other kind of illness....until this year. It started with Alan. He had the whole deal, then Jeremie came down with an abnormally high fever and body aches which only lasted 24 hours, then Kaylynn got the high fever and body aches and intense belly pain which lasted less than 24 hours, then Kalli got it, and this is where it gets yucky so if you prefer not to read about puke, fevers, children, and hospitals then you should stop now. This is all part of me sharing my story through motherhood, and this was one of those moments that made time stand still, and an experience I will never forget.

Kalli (who is 4) started throwing up Thursday morning. She threw up nearly every 5 minutes until about 6:00pm. Her fever stayed steady at 103.7 (which was frightening to me because I have never had a child spike a fever that high). She was diligent with sipping water, broth, and even some pedialyte (which I don't typically use) all during this spell. She stopped throwing up at about 6:00 and went to bed. She slept all the way through the night, woke up the next morning without a fever and feeling much better. She wanted to eat. I gave her a little bit of toast and a bit of banana. An hour later, her fever spiked high again, and she started throwing up. I need to insert some history here....we have never had an illness in our house last over 24 hours so even though I am a mama of 4, (and she is my third) I didn't know what to do. So I called the doctor. The response I got was as long as she is still drinking (and peeing occassionaly) in between vomiting spells then she is still hydrated and should be fine. Okay, I can handle that. So, we kept pushing the sips of liquid, and she kept throwing up. Her fever stayed consistently high all day long, and she started to pass from sleep to awake to sleep more often. Her lips were cracking and bleeding. So I called the doctor again. This time, she asked me if Kalli's mouth was still moist. Yes, her mouth was still moist. Okay, she is still hydrated and doing just fine. How about this, if she throws up again, bring her in. By this time, all that was coming out of Kalli was green stomach bile.  She didn't throw up again. She went to bed, slept all the way through the night. When she woke up, she was feeling better (this was Saturday morning). She wanted to eat. I gave her one cracker and a little chicken broth. She sipped and nibbled (and did not finish either one).

An hour later, she started screaming in agony and was doubled over in pain, clutching her stomach. I responded as any mother would respond and just held her while she screamed. Then she instantly stopped screaming, looked at me and smiled, then closed her eyes and was fast asleep. So I rocked and she slept. Then she woke, looked up, tried to grab at something that was not in the air, then looked at me and started screaming again, "It hurts, take the pain away!" Then with HUGE eyes of fear, she screams, "MOMMY, where are you? MOMMY why did you leave? I NEED you!" Imagine my heart being ripped right out of my chest as I am holding my darling 4 year old, and she has no idea that I am cradling her. Alan comes rushing in from the other room, I start to cry. He takes her, calms her. She hears his voice, and I go upstairs and cry. Everything inside of me says, "take her to the emergency room." I get ready while Alan tries to get her to sip a little more. She screams in pain again, clutching her stomach, and then it happens again. Only this time, it is daddy holding her. She doesn't know he is there, she screams for him. He holds her, and I look in his eyes and see the same fear that I feel. I get my shoes on; she is still in pajamas and has no shoes. I buckle her into her booster seat, and we drive the 5 minutes to the hospital. The emergency room doc confirms that she needs fluids, but they also need to take labs. They bring in fluid, they bring in an IV. She gets hysterical again and starts screaming right in my face. "Where is my mommy?! Why did you take my mommy away from me?!" I cry, hold her tight, and say, "Mommy is here, mommy is here." She closes her eyes and says, "Jesus make me feel better." Then she goes to sleep. When she wakes up, she knows me, she has questions. "Will that be in my arm forever mommy?" "Can I go home now?" The pediatric doctor comes in with her labs results. She is severely dehydrated, sugar is low, potassium is low, calcium is low, and she needs to stay overnight. The transfer us from the ER room to a standard hospital room where she gets to control the bed and the TV. We watch a Disney movie while we wait for daddy and the other kids to come visit. They bring us our tooth brushes, jammies, changes of clothes, books, coloring books, and crayons. When they leave, we go to sleep. She says, "Mommy stay right next to me please." So I lay next to her in the tiny hospital bed and try to sleep but simply cannot. The nurses come in a check on her throughout the night. They check vitals and change her IV bag. In the morning, she is not better. She cannot walk; she cannot eat. The doctor says we will have to stay another day. Grandma comes to visit with books, movies, and games. The doctor returns in the afternoon, and says Kalli is better. But she still won't eat. Grandma brings yogurt from home, and Kalli eats it which gives us the go ahead to go home. After 9 bags of fluid, and a little food that stayed in her belly, they let us go home. She was on the mend.

Now, over a month later, no one would even guess that she was so sick. Children recover so well, but I have to say that I have not. I can still hear her screams; I can still see her pale, frail body lying next to me. I can still remember what it felt like to carry her to the bathroom because she could not walk.  These are the times when my mothering is stretched, and I wonder where the strength is going to come from. Then it's just there, and I do what is natural, and we get through it. But now it is only a memory, and I hold her a little closer and give thanks for good health.


A freind across the feild. said...

Lord I ask that you reassure Charity. Mommyhood is an intense joy, and fear. To have a sick child and cannot comfort is heartening. I pray you give her the strength and reassurance to know she did everything right, and Kallie is just as perfect as before. Amen.

Johnson Family said...

Thank you "friend across the field."

Tracy said...

Motherhood is not for the weak. We all feel helpless at times but that is when we lean on God for strength. You are an amazing mother who inspires me all the time with you words and actions.