Thursday, January 28, 2010

We Remember Wednesday / Thankful Thursday

January 27, 1999

A little baby girl was asleep in her room down the hall.  At about 1:00 am, a horrific scream sent chills up her Mommy and Daddy's spine and sent them running down the hall, falling over each other as they went.  Her Mommy picked her up and tried to calm the screaming child, but the 6 month old, 15 pound baby writhed in her arms and would not be comforted.  She just wimpered and squirmed.  After 30 minutes, she finally fell asleep.  It must have been a tummy ache, her parents surmised, and they laid her back in her bed.

Not long after, the sound of retching sent them back down the hall.  Their little girl lay on her side, projecting vomit across the room through the bed slats, her eyes closed.  Yes, they thought.  A stomach virus.  Mommy stays up the rest of the night while she vomits and then falls into a deep sleep.

Early the next morning, Mommy places her on pillows in the middle of a queen-sized bed so she could see her baby while getting dressed.  They have a doctor appointment right after lunch.  Mommy calls Gran and Papa - please come to our house.  If one child has a virus, so will the other soon.  Papa says he will bring Gran to meet us at the doctor's office at 1:00 pm in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Mommy looks at her baby girl.  She is sitting very still. Mommy thinks to herself, her eyes look blank.  Mommy doesn't think she can see anymore.  And mommy prays.

The doctor agrees.  Stomach virus.  But her arms keep shaking, mommy says.  The doctor says it's because she's dehydrated and to keep giving her sips of water.  Mommy lets the doctor know that the day before she had rolled off the bed but hadn't hit her head.  Mommy had even called the doctor's office but the office said since she showed on marks on her head, she had probably slid and was fine.  The doctor sends them home with tummy medicine.

At 5:30 that evening, Mommy goes to teach a music lesson at church.  The saxophonist kept playing a favorite song:  I wouldn't take nothin' for my journey now/ I've got to make to heaven some how/  Through the devil tempts me and he tries to turn me around. 

Mommy likes this song.  The lady singer of this song had once prayed for Gran and God strengthened Gran so that she could pray for mommy when she was a little girl and was hurt.  God healed mommy, but that's another story. 

The song continues:  He's offered everything that's got a name/ all the wealth I"d want and world fame/  If I could, still I wouldn't take nothing for my journey now.

Soon Mommy comes home where Daddy and brother are playing on the computer and Gran is watching baby girl.  Mommy goes to have brother a bath and is not long in the room before Daddy and Gran burst into the room.  Gran is handing the baby girl to Mommy and Daddy is handing Mommy the phone.  She has had a seizure, Gran says.

Mommy calls the doctor.  God directs the call and a Christian nurse listens to the problem.  The nurse calls the doctor - and starts praying for this baby girl he doesn't even know.  The doctor says to give some medicine and wait 5 minutes and call back.  Baby girl is not better.  They leave for the emergency room.  Gran and brother stay home.  They begin to pray and call others to pray.

That prayer becomes the shield of protection for Mommy, Daddy and the baby girl.

At the hospital, the nurses call the police.  This baby girl must have been abused.  But God is working.  Their doctor finds out and tells the hospital to make the police go home.  This baby is not abused, she is very sick.  The police go home and no one tells Mommy and Daddy they were even there.   It takes over an hour to get into an exam room.

Then it happens.  The tiny baby girl, laying on a gurney, has a grand mal seizure.  This is a very bad siezure.  All the muscles in her body contract at once.  She is jerking, her head pulled to the right.  Mommy tells Daddy to get the nurse but Daddy can't move.  His baby girl is jerking uncontrollably and he can't help her.  Mommy runs to the door and yells for the nurses.  Here they come!  They move Mommy and Daddy to the side of the room.  The siezure finally stops. 

The doctor tells Mommy and Daddy, we are going to do some tests.  First, they lay baby girl on her side and roll her into a ball.  Baby girl doesn't cry or fight them.  She is so tired.  The doctor sticks a long needle into her back to remove spinal fluid for testing.   Then they take baby girl to a room for a CT scan.

Soon, they bring baby girl back.  Mommy and Daddy weren't able to go with her and are so glad to hold her again.  She is very still.  The doctor comes back and takes baby girl for another test in the CT scan room.   This time Mommy is allowed to go with her.  Daddy stays and prays. 

Mommy lays her precious pink baby girl on a long table.  They nurses tell Mommy to go sit in a chair in the corner.   They put her baby's head in box to keep her from moving.  Then a needle is put into baby girl's hand and she is slid into a long white tube for a test.  But the needle slips out of the vein in her hand.  It's called and infusion - all the fluid went into her hand instead of in her blood and her hand is now very big and it must hurt because baby girl is crying.  They let Mommy quieten her down and start the test again.  Mommy is told to go back and sit down.

Mommy is sitting in her chair, watching baby girl and singing:  I wouldn't take nothin for my journey now/  I've got to make it to heaven somehow. . .

Here comes a doctor.  He asks if she is the Mommy.  Yes, she says.  He begins, your baby girl has one of three things:  meningitis/encephalitis, herpes on the brain or she has had a stroke.   Mommy can't breathe.  How could this happen?  Simple, the doctor says.  Someone with an infection can push a basket through a grocery story.   A baby sits in the same basket later and licks the hand rest.  An infection goes to her brain and she is now sick.  And a stroke?  Shaken baby syndrome.

That's why the nurses had called the police.  But Mommy and Daddy don't know that for months. 

Baby girl and Mommy go back to the little room with Daddy and wait for the doctors.  Here he comes.  Very serious.  With a nurse.  He says, your baby girl has had a stroke.  They won't know how serious it is til more tests are run.  Baby girl is going to the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit.  She will be there a long, long time.

Pastor Rick arrives.  He had been out of town and as soon as his plane had landed, his wife called him and told him, go to St. John's Hospital.  Baby girl is very sick.  Mommy and Daddy are so glad to see Pastor Rick.  He prays with them.  They all cry.  What will happen to this baby? 

Pastor Rick must go home.  And so must Daddy.  He wans to be with brother when he wakes up in the morning and tell him their baby girl is sick but the doctors, and God, are taking care of her.  Mommy watches Daddy leave from baby girl's ICU window.  It's raining.  And cold.  And mommy has never felt so alone.

The night drags on.  And on.  Early in the morning baby girls doctor arrives and takes Mommy to see the tests.  She tells mommy that the doctor who saw the stroke wasn't supposed to be in the hospital last night.  He as there for another patient.  He was working on another computer.  He had turned around to ask a question of someone and saw the stroke.  The other doctors had not seen it.  They had missed it.  But God sent this man and used him to save baby girl.

Upstairs, the doctors tell Mommy that she cannot be in the room with baby girl today.  She must sit in the waiting room.  Once an hour, she can go to the window and look at her.  A special machine has been hooked to baby girl.  It records all of her seizures.  It video tapes her while they are happening too.  If Mommy and Daddy are in the room during the first day of the tests, the doctors won't know if baby girl is responding to their voice or if she is having seizures.

Mommy and Daddy's arms hurt.  They just want to hold their baby.  Papa is home with Gran and brother.  Grandma and Grandpa are making plans to come.  Aunt and Uncle are praying and come and visit Mommy.  Auntie comes and stays awhile too.  Daddy's heart is breaking for his baby girl.

The next day, the doctors let Mommy and Daddy in the room with baby girl but they cannot hold her and must limit how much they touch her.  Baby girl lays in a big metal crib.  She is so tiny.  Mommy counts 38 wires off of her baby girl's body - 36 of them on her head!  There's a needle in her tiny arm to give her food.  The doctor's have given her a big, big dose of medicine and she sleeps.

The third day, Mommy and Daddy can hold baby girl.  A new doctor, one who just studies the brains of little children comes in the room.  He is the best doctor, baby girl's regular doctor says.  You can trust him.  This new doctor is G. Steve Miller.  He tell them, this baby girl has had a massive mid-cerebral arterial stroke.  She will not walk.  She will not talk.  She will not develop past the age of 18 months.  He says they have stopped the seizues for now but will need medicine for a long time.

Daddy asks when he can take his baby girl home.  The doctor says not for months.  Baby girl will be in PICU for a very long time and then in the hospital for weeks longer in a regular room.  Mommy can't breathe again.  Baby girl's doctor makes the brain doctor leave.  She shuts the door and throws the curtain shut. When she turns around she is crying.  She holds Daddy and they cry together.  Mommy is standing by the bed starring at her baby girl.  Baby girl's doctor says, okay we can do this.  This means we will see each other alot.  We are going to make it through this.

Papa, Gran and brother are in they waiting room.  THey had take Chris to buy new cowboy boots and to the boat show.  He loves his Papa and Gran.  He feels safe with them.  But brother is sad he cannot see his baby sister.   Some friends are in the waiting room too.  Mommy and Daddy go tell them what the doctor said.  They all pray together.  Gran and Papa are staying the night with baby girl.  Mommy and Daddy take brother home.

Brother and Daddy go play games.  They love to play together and although Daddy is crying for his baby girl inside, his son needs him right now.

Mommy goes her baby girl's room.  She closes the door behind her.  Then she walks to the crib where baby girl slept just a few nights ago and picks up her blanket.  Then her baby doll.  Then every doll she can hold.  She cannot hold her baby girl and her arms need to hold something.  Her knees buckle and she falls to the floor sobbing.  For the first time she can cry.  Alone.  And she begs God, please heal my baby girl!  She lays there for a long time as peace wraps her in a blanket.  Then she goes downstairs to be mommy to her big boy.

The next day the nurses say that big brother can see baby girl if he can be at the hospital very soon.  Aunt and Uncle grab him up, put clothes on him and drive fast to the hospital.  The nurses take all the wires off of baby girl and let Mommy put some clothes on her - and the cowgirl boots brother had picked for her.  He is glad to see her.  She is still sleeping.  He slips his little arm through the metal hospital slats and pats her.  It's okay, sister.  I'm here, he tells her.  He is a good big brother.

Grandma and Grandpa have come.  They have been helping Papa and Gran.  Taking care of Chris and the house.  The decision is made that they will take big brother home with them for a few days.  He does not want to go and cries for his Mommy and Daddy as they put him in the car.  Mommy and Daddy say they love him and he will have fun and then wave good-bye.  They turn to go back in the hospital and cry.

After only 5 days in the PICU, the doctors say that baby girl can go into a regular room.  God is so good!  And two days later, Mommy and Daddy take her home.  Only our God can make that happen!

The brain doctor doesn't give much hope for baby girl and her life.  But she does talk.  And later she walks.  And she goes to school.  And her seizures stop after several years.  And Daddy and Mommy and Big Brother;   Papa and Gran and Grandma and Grandpa;  Nana and Papa J;  Aunt and Uncle and Auntie and New Uncle keep praising God!

And everyone believed  John 11:4, "Jesus said, "This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God's glory so that God's Son may be glorified through it."

Mommy, Daddy and Baby Girl and Big Brother give God the glory!  He is marvelous!  His hand is strong and mighty!  Baby girl still has some struggles.  She still has some surgeries to go through.  She still must find adaptions to accomplish little tasks.  But God is so faithful.

What caused the stroke?  The doctors do not know for certain.  Most think that when baby girl rolled off the bed, her neck jerked and her aortic artery in her neck was torn.  Because of a cold medicine she was taking at the same time, the tear formed a clot which went to her brain.  The think this because of the timing after the stroke.  The CT technician should have scanned her neck two more inches to know for certain.  But the cause doesn't really matter anymore.  God's hand in the outcome is the important thing!

Mommy says, Thank you Father God for this baby girl.  Thank you for her beautiful life.  Thank you for the beautiful young lady everyone sees.  Her eyes shine your love!

Eleven years - only the beginning of what God is going to do in her life!

Baby Girl Skiing at Durango Mtn. Resort

Four-wheeling in the San Juan National Forest

(why write in the third person?  So mommy can write and not cry!"  I love you, Sis and I write this to remind you:  God is faithful!  He has never left you.  The pain, the problems - God sees them all and He will redeem them in His time!  And one day, you will tie your shoes with both hands and beat your brother in a race.  I promise!)

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

A New Era

Tonight marks the second time Ashley has cooked dinner for us.  I mean cooked - by herself!  The first meal she fixed was grilled steaks and tonight we had chicken fajitas.  Both meals were wonderful.   This follows on the heels of her superb brownies she made at Christmas.

Watch out world!  We have a great cook on our hands!

Who says you need two hands?  She amazes me what she can do with just one arm.  Don't think it's hard?  Try it yourself.  Tomorrow am, tuck your left arm in your shirt.  Now, put your pants on, wash your face, brush your teeth, put in your contacts, make your bed, tie your shoes.  Hemiplegics do it every day!  Wow.

And what is her favorite new saying, "I survived a stroke - what's your excuse?'

What is your excuse?  What is keeping you from doing more?  Doing what you love?  Doing something different, trying something new?

Friday, January 22, 2010

New Pictures

And the snow continues. . .

Chris and Ashley are standing in a "tunnel" we have dug to reach the roof scraper.  They are standing on packed snow of several inches!  Over two feet has fallen at our house in the past week.

Sherman is not impressed!  But he follows through the tunnels as we shovel.  In this pic, he's sitting in the garage thinking, "they are crazy!"

The kids are out shaking the trees to keep the limbs from breaking do to the weight of the snow.  Ashley got caught in the avalanche!

My Snow Angels!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Thankful Thursday - January Snows

Yes, it's beautiful!  It's just wet enough to build stuff with yet still so fluffy.  And it keeps coming and coming and coming. . .

The snow sticks like fluffy cotton balls to the pine tree.

Playing in the Snow.

Shovel what?

The snow came out for Tuesday afternoon and we played outside.  The kids fell off the porch backwards into the snow banks, dug a snow tunnel and made a path for Sherman from the front door to the backyard and around the trees for him to play.  The next snow fall filled the path and the only trace of it was the deer tracks left by our neighbors.  They liked having snow only 4" inches deep to walk through instead of 15"! 
See the water well top behind Chris?  The snow is now covering it.  And we still have at least 2 more days of this storm!  Yeah!  Hope I can get out to get eggs, milk and bread!

It is very humrous to me to hear people complain about our snow.  First, they live in Coloardo, what do they expect?  Second, it provides moisture to the ground, rivers and lakes and helps prevent those nasty little forest fires.  Third, it is a reminder of God's grace and provision.

The snow covers the dirt, brown grass left by the fall.  As it melts, we will see little sprigs for green grass pushing through the snow.  A new birth! 

Much like God's grace covers our sin;  erases it!  And as He melts and molds our heart, a new creation springs forth!

The snow is also God's provision and reminds us that it's not always easy.  Sometimes it's down-right inconvenient!  But every bump on the path has a purpose, providing us the character we need for the next steps He calls us to walk.

So don't miss the beauty of the path!  Enjoy the course! 

Have a wonderful Thursday!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Defining Excellence

Excellence - doing my best in what I offer God in obedience and in sacrifice - Kim Beach

Excellence - doing ordinary things in an extraordinary manner - Kevin Dolbee

What is your excellence?