We made it through the holidays. Thanksgiving brought some much needed laughter. Christmas reminded us of the joy we’ve been blessed with. Addy and Sydney were amazing in keeping me going, and they didn’t even realize it. We incorporated Norah into our days in so many beautiful ways. What strong and amazing daughters we have – all 3 of them.
However, the New Year has come with a lot of anxiety and a few steps back in my progress. I have feared leaving 2018 since around the time of Norah’s death, as 2018 was HER year; the only year in which she lived. And the year in which she died. I’ve been praying hard for God’s mercy and for some relief from the deep, dark struggles I’ve been facing, as grief comes in waves and this one came crashing down upon me.
Then today happened, and God showed His mercy. It was not in the way I expected, but clearly MY expectations in life are not always the plan. It sucks. A lot. So much. More than I can put in to words. (Did I mention it SUCKS?)
But, oh how we’re grateful for second chances and God’s mercy.
Tonight, I’m sitting here writing this next to Addy’s hospital bed, (as she sleeps comfortably and our adrenaline slows down), feeling an amazing amount of relief; feeling God’s mercy and Norah’s love and light surrounding us.
You see, today Addy had a major health scare. It all began with symptoms of a muscle strain earlier this week, and then progressed into fever, neck swelling and pain that Motrin was no longer helping, limited range of motion in her neck, nausea and vomiting when she woke up this morning… I feared she had meningitis so to the ER we went.
I knew something was of major concern when we were first escorted to the Critical Care section of the ER and two doctors and two nurses walked in before we could even sit down. I was reassured when they ruled out meningitis. Next up, a strep test (since she was exposed to me, who had strep last week.) Negative. Ok moving on to a neck ultrasound. And this is where things went haywire for all of us. A “consolidated” area was found in her neck, compressing her left internal jugular vein.
Some whispering and a lot of medical jargon began.
I felt like I was going to pass out.
Body language and verbal language I understood from my days as a provider.
A whirlwind of events.
My head was spinning. My heart aching more than before (didn’t know THAT was possible). My head throbbing. My stomach sick.
We waited for about 2 hours (or was it 2 days?) for all test results to come back. High white blood cells (infection – ok I can handle that), low sodium (dehydration – totally fixable, ok tell me more!), and then the news that I’ll forever be grateful for. The CT scan showed that the “consolidation” is NOT a mass. NOT a tumor! Thank you, God!!!!
Addy has an abscess within a lymph node along with cellulitis in the soft tissue of her neck. The swelling is causing compression on the jugular vein, but because she’s healthy the other jugular is compensating for blood flow until the swelling resolves.
Believe me when I tell you I could have kissed and hugged and danced with the doctors when we received this news. (Perhaps I’ll do that at some point during our stay here… “Code whacky mom, room 633.” Hey, I’ve been called worse.)
So, we’re camped out here at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh until Monday, as she receives IV antibiotics and the close watch of an amazing team of nurses, and a top-notch ENT and Surgical team. Everyone is hopeful that surgical intervention will not be necessary, but if it is we know that it’s just a small blip in this “adventure” (is that what “they” call this?).
Regardless, we’re grateful for positive news, for parental intuition, for access to a fantastic hospital, for the extraordinary health care providers who were assigned to us today, for an amazing pediatrician who showed up in her ER room and had the docs calling his cell phone with updates, (this medical team cared for me, too, with empathy, and tissues, and water, and gentleness, and whatever I needed during my bit of an emotional breakdown – ok, I actually cried a few thousand more tears), a Resident physician who had the wherewithal to suggest the ultrasound (I gave him kudos in person and will write a letter to his bosses to give him more kudos), our amazing school community, all of our prayer warriors who had prayer chains going and candles lit and healing vibes sent our way, the most amazing bosses and co-workers anyone could ask for, an incredibly supportive group of family and friends, my husband – my rock/the best daddy in the world, and GOD’S MERCY.