Friday, May 11, 2018

You Don't Have to Be So Strong

Good Morning,

Whew.  I feel beaten up and beaten down.  Maybe sideways, too?  Any way you can put it.  Since it's been a little while, let me just catch you up first.

The kiddos are now 17 months old. They are all walking and talking.  The girls definitely have more words than their brother, especially Ava, who will go to the bottom of the stairs and say "night night" when she's ready for bed.  Millie's favorite word is "woof woof" when she sees any sort of dog, especially Ellie.  Isabelle is working on saying her name (and mine).  See video below.  Luke's favorite word is E-I-E-I-OOOO from the classic Old McDonald had a farm.  Clara's favorite word is "HI," whenever she walks into a room.

Clara w/ Uncle Thomas


The climber of the family, Luke


Operation:  Hold Them over Dinner  (minus Ava who was running around being crazy). 

This week has been one of the hardest on our family.  

Last week, I had a bit of a cancer scare.  My thyroid is "lumpy" apparently and after some major tears, ultrasound, blood tests, and LOTS of anxiety/fighting the urge to Google everything, I got the all clear from the doctor.  We'll continue to follow my dear 'ole lumpy thyroid, but everything looks fine as of now.  

Then, ALL of the kids got ear infections.  I mean every. single. one.  First Millie.  So, off to the doctor, find someone to watch my other four kids, get meds, come home.  Then two days later, Clara started with the whining, pulling ears, etc.  So Clara goes off to the doctor, find someone to watch four kids, get meds, come home.  Then, two days later, Ava started acting cranky.  So, change my plans, take her to the doctor, find someone to watch four kids, get meds, come home.  Then, a day later, both Izzy and Luke spike fevers.  So, given that it's a Saturday, my husband packs up those two and takes them to urgent care while I stay with the other three.

Yep, those two have ear infections, too.  Except Luke threw up on the way home.  We chalked it up to him getting so worked up at the doctor.  But, once he got home from urgent care, Luke started acting odd.  Losing focus, hand twitches, strange head tilts.  Scary stuff.  Michael and I agreed he needed help--and fast.   Granted, it's now 8:00 on a Saturday night.  I called a good friend who lives nearby.  She changed out of her pjs into her work clothes and came rolling into our home so Michael and I could take Luke to the hospital.

Luke was continuing to vomit, lose control of his bowels--all, of course, while clinging to his mama.  At this point, I start to panic.  What is going on?!  Someone needs to fix my baby--and NOW.

We get to UVA Hospital and realize it's some sort of seizure--potentially caused by his high fever (and maybe ear infection).  They give him some medicine to stop the seizure, which is effective, and then Luke falls asleep.

And then, we sit.  Michael and I wonder:  will he wake up?  What kind of brain damage (if any) will he have?  Will he be able to walk?  Talk?  Use the muscles in his face?  Of course, Dr. Google is NOT your friend in these settings, believe me.

I crawl into the ER bed with my son and just wash him with my tears.  Covered in macaroni and cheese vomit along with baby tinkle, I couldn't care less.  I wanted my son to be ok.  I wanted my son to be his sweet little boy self.  I wanted this to be a bad dream.

We were moved to a room to stay overnight for observation.  I sent Michael home to get some rest and take care of the girls (I wasn't going to sleep anyways).  The kind nurses found some scrub pants for me and I found a sweater in my car to wear until I could get home.

So, I waited.  I waited and hoped my little boy would open his eyes and smile at the sight of my face.  I waited for him to snuggle his warm, soft cheek next to mine.  I waited.  I sang.  I told stories.  And I waited.

Around 3:30 am, he woke up.  He was understandably disoriented, but he was himself.  We snuggled and laughed.  He was bored, so I  took him on a walking tour of UVA Grounds at 4 am.  By the way, when you have 25-pound baby, you should really use a stroller.  My biceps are STILL sore today.

Unfortunately, when I first I got up to pick him up, I immediately felt dizzy.  Then I remembered, "Oh shoot, I didn't eat today."  I missed breakfast because I was getting the kids dressed for Touch A Truck.  I missed lunch because I was running late to work and I missed dinner because I was taking care of Luke. 

Luckily, Luke's nurse came in and noticed I looked dizzy.  I remember she said, " problem.  You're in the right place.  Tell me what's up."  I did and she said, "Ok...squat down.. Don't move and don't touch the baby."  She brought me an Uncrustable peanut butter sandwich and some apple juice.  I was good as new.  God bless those nurses.  We celebrate them today and every day.

The next morning, doctors did a final EEG to make sure Luke didn't have any remnant seizure activity--he didn't.  We were free to take him home.  Relief doesn't begin to describe the feelings I felt (well, except maybe exhaustion.  I felt that, too).  So, we went home to our four ear-infected girls and prayed for a better night ahead.

It was about that time that my body started to ache.  I chalked it up to exhaustion and kept on truckin.  I woke up Monday morning (after not much sleep again, of course), and I knew I was sick.  Body aches, chills, ear aches, etc.

I had to give a speech for work in Virginia Beach later in the day on Monday, so I thought I'd stop by urgent care in Richmond and get some medicine and be on my way.

Well, after two hours of waiting in urgent care, I still hadn't been seen.  When I asked the front desk attendant what was going on, he simply told me, "You should never come to urgent care when you have another commitment later in the day."  Oh ok, great customer service slogan.  You should see if you can sell that baby.  Great message.

So, I left in tears, armed with crusty old purse cough drops and Advil.  I powered through and then went to urgent care in VA Beach.  Yep, double each infection and a sinus infection with a fever of 102.  Awesomesauce.  

I go to my hotel, which I had hoped would be a little vacation for me.  Instead, I crawled in the bed with my work clothes on.  I was shivering so much I pulled the covers over my head and blew warm air into them, hoping to warm myself enough to stop shivering.

I ordered soup as takeout and prayed for daylight.  It came and I felt a bit better, but by no means my old self.  I still went to work on Tuesday (yes, I'm stubborn) but stayed in bed most of the day Wednesday.  I'm feeling much more like myself now, but as I said in the beginning, I feel beaten down--and beaten up.

It was on Wednesday as I was in my room resting that I heard God say something to me.  And this is something I think everyone needs to hear.  

You don't have to be so strong.

That's what He said.  You don't have to be so strong.  Let others help you.  Let others care for you.  Let people bring a meal.  Let people take a day off of work to help you.  Let your husband see you cry.  Let your family know that you're scared.  Just let people in.
I don't have to be so strong.  God can hold me up and so can my community.  So, thank you to our community.  This has been one of the hardest weeks and so many of you have held me up.  God bless you and may I be able to hold you up when you have a tough week.


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