|Ga Ga (my mom, left) and LeAnne at the medical conference in California. This picture was taken by the hotel pool before all the chaos began.|
Attending the forum were medical professionals, parents, patients, and medical supply vendors. The first day was dedicated to speeches from various doctors on topics related to digestive disorders and tube feeding. The medical supply sales reps. even set up tables displaying all the latest products to make life with tube feeding easier. It was an opportunity to meet like minded people, share experiences, and learn all the latest in "the tube feeding world."
When the conference ended for the day, there was still a little day light left to do some shopping in an open-air mall. It was a sunny treat because with all the rain in Oregon, open-air malls are not very popular. After our wallets were empty and our feet were tired, we ended the day with dinner in the hotel restaurant.
All in all, it had been a very educational and relaxing day. I was looking forward to going back to the hotel room and putting on that fluffy white robe that I had seen hanging in the closet. I was especially excited to have the opportunity to sleep all night long with no tubes beeping, no crying, and no need to stick an NG tube down someones nose. I know it doesn't sound like most people's idea of a vacation, but to me it sounded heavenly...LOTS of sleep with NO interruptions.
As I unlocked the door and entered the hotel room, the bright red light blinking in the darkness foretold the end to our relaxing stay in the sun. With great hesitation I picked up the receiver (keep in mind that this was in the days before cell phones) to listen to the waiting message. It was my sister. She was at the hospital with Christopher and needed me to call her IMMEDIATELY! They were waiting to get my permission to take Christopher in for surgery!
My brain started spinning at warp speed. How had this happened? I had been in California for less than 24 hours. How could things possibly have gone so wrong in such a short period of time? What happened to all my contingency plans and preparation? This wasn't supposed to happen!
I didn't even have to say a word. My mom could tell from my obvious reaction that something was very wrong. I dialed my sister, and steadied myself for the bad news. I could hear the relief in her voice when she realized it was me on the other end of the line.
In a frantic and concerned voice she told me what had happened. She had wanted to surprise me with a special gift, a professional photo of all three boys (an amazingly sweet idea). It seemed so simple. Shelli and her husband (his name is Mike too...gets real confusing at family get-togethers!) had taken the boys to get their picture taken, but once they arrived Christopher became quite fussy. One check of his diaper, and she knew the reason why. He was still suffering with severe diarrhea. No problem, she changed the diaper.
Michael and Ryan were being quite cooperative as they were "earning" an ice cream cone once the picture taking was over, so the first few shots were great. There was nothing but big smiles all around, except for Christopher. He was fussing, crying, and squirming. His pictures weren't too happy, but Shelli was determined to get a good picture of all three of them. She got out her bag of mom tricks, but nothing worked. She tried squeaky toys and even sugar on his pacifier, but things just continued to go down hill.
When they got all six kids back out to the car, they could "smell" that Christopher had another bad diaper. Shelli said that his skin felt really hot, but she thought it was from all the crying. If only that had been the case, because when she lifted up his shirt she saw the red infection spreading from his feeding tube and around to his back. The thermometer confirmed his fever, so Uncle Mike raced the kid filled car to the emergency room.
The emergency room doctor took one look at Christopher's swollen and red abdomen and called in the surgeons. Unfortunately, Christopher's normal surgeon was not on call that night and either was his GI specialist. This was shockingly bad news for me as I tried to figure out what to do. I told Shelli that I would call the doctors who were on call that night and get back to her.
The GI doctor I spoke with told me that he had heard about Christopher, but that he couldn't help me because Christopher's case was too complicated. I'm thinking to myself at this point, okay...but what do I do now? The infection isn't going away and I need to find someone to help us. My next call was to the surgeon who turned out to be a little more helpful. He had examined Christopher and decided to load him up with antibiotics. He had decided to take the "hope it goes away because it's a Saturday and the regular guy will be back on Monday" approach. I liked the sound of NO surgery, but was this really the right thing to do?
Christopher was admitted to the hospital. Now the decision for Mike and Shelli was...who will stay at the hospital, and who will go home with the FIVE kids? It was decided that Shelli would pull hospital duty, and Mike would take the troops back to the house.
|Auntie and Uncle Mike dancing at their daughter's wedding.|
So much for a great nights sleep. There weren't any crying babies or beeping feeding tubes, but there was absolutely NO way I could sleep now. I called Mike who was on that business trip in Texas. He cut the business trip short, and made arrangements to fly home the next day. We would meet up at the hospital.
I hung my head in defeat and despair. I was so far away and feeling even more useless than normal! It might be sunny in California, but it was raining inside my soul.
Special Note: I know I have said it before, but I want to thank Mike and Shelli for all they did. I know it was a HUGE sacrifice, but I really appreciate that you were there for us when we really needed it! THANK YOU!!!
If you have never accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, you can pray like this: