Friday, June 26, 2015

Life is never dull

On Father's Day last Sunday we headed for the vacation we'd been looking forward to for months! Family camp. That may not have sounded that exciting at one point in life but with four young children it's pretty much the best thing ever. It's exactly what it sounds like, regular summer camp that you do with your kids. The deal is that they have super energetic college aged counselors that are also fired up about Jesus and serving your family. There are kids programs in the mornings with speakers for the adult to hear. Because there was some concern that Walker might not be able to hang the whole time with the group sessions in the morning, he had his own counselor, who was PRECIOUS. 

Walker didn't pass his swim test and was very upset about having to wear floaties so his counselor put some on too. I love this place and these people.

 The morning sessions the kids had bible study and then did some of the camp things, different things each day. Hayes got to ride one day.

He went swimming. This actually is him smiling, despite how it looks.

Harris went down the slide. He apparently slowed down quite a bit at the end.

You know who took these pics? Not me! A camp photographer becuase they have thought of everything. I could not find pics of Caroline but I'm sure they're in there somewhere. The food is good and they remind the parents before each meal not to lift a finger. They cut your children's food, get straws, refills, whatever. It could not be more pleasant. And while your kids are having fun you are hearing a speaker. Ours talked about biblical truth and was in Ecclesiastes. So good! We had a date night complete with a sunset boat ride.

Date night is when things took a turn. When I picked up the big kids I saw Harris fighting back tears, sitting down next to his counselor. I couldn't imagine what the problem was and his counselor told me he jumped off the high dive and then said his head hurt. He and Caroline had been doing that for two days straight so I didn't think much of it. 

He sat down on a bench while I rounded up the other kids' things and we got ready to walk to our cabin. He asked me to carry him. I thought that was weird but probably just because we'd been going non stop for two days and it was two hours past his bedtime, so I did. Then when he got too heavy I asked him to walk. He did but he was staggering and veering to the left. After a few steps he just fell down. 

Ok. Deep breaths. I got the other kids sent to the cabin with Tom and took Harris to the camp nurse. She thought we needed to go see the RN across the street so we drove there. That's where he started vomiting. They drove us to the ER, where he was at that point unable to stand up to be weighed. They immediately started doing blood work and cat scans. The first showed nothing so they did another one, with contrast this time. Still nothing. At this point, he's having difficulty moving anything on his left side. His eyes are twitching rapidly and trying to fix to the left. His head is cocked at a weird angle and he can't really move it. The ER in Tyler is out of ideas and wants to fly him to San Antonio so "the neurosurgeon can get an MRI and see what needs to be done."

 What?! Neurosurgeon?!

This is about two am. So, an ambulance came to get us. During the ambulance ride to the airport, I asked if they had any idea what was going on. They both shook their heads. One said he'd never seen anything like it. Then I asked if they thought he'd be okay. One stayed completely silent and the other said, "I sure hope so."

That's not what I wanted to hear. With that, we boarded the tiniest plane I've ever seen to go to San Antonio.

This is an Internet photo. I was NOT taking pics at this point.

This was my view except a very sick looking Harris was strapped to the bed while two paramedics discussed how they'd never seen nystagmus (that's the eye movement) to that degree before. 

I couldn't see Harris' eyes during the flight and the airplane was so loud it was difficult to talk to the paramedics. He was sleeping but vomiting occasionally. They kept checking to see if his pupils were reacting to light. I couldn't tell if they were and in some way I didn't want to know the answer. I was wrestling with God, trying to decide if I'd still think He was good if He took my child. While that was going on, I remembered a story Walker's precious counselor told me just that morning. His family is battling something serious and he was telling me how he chose to repeat truths about God to himself, even if they felt empty. They were still true and still powerful. Just writing this takes me back to that airplane, when I really didn't know what the outcome was going to be. That was terrifying but I also had a supernatural peace. Not an assurance that things would be okay but a peace that was present outside of circumstances. God was near.

So we landed in San Antonio and boarded another ambulance to the hospital. Up until this point, I'd been with Harris the whole time. This ambulance driver told me to ride in the front. I must have looked as disturbed by this as I felt because one of the paramedics from the flight immediately told me, "Don't worry mom. I'll take good care of him." 

Bless that person.

At the hospital, there was a crew of people to receive him. There were several dr's examining him and nurses verifying his history. At this point, things started turning around. The dr in Tyler had spoken with the dr's here and they were expecting a very different patient. A much sicker patient.

He no longer had nystagmus. He could turn his head somewhat and was starting to be able to move the extremities in his left side. He had turned a corner.

It was a completely different scenario than what I'd been told. There was no need for an MRI. They moved him to a quiet room in the trauma ER with a TV and brought him some dvd's. He was able to eat, as there was no longer a concern that he was going into surgery. About 7 am, they got him up to walk and it was still pretty disturbing. While he was able to move his feet and legs, when he walked, his feet were flexed and knees were straight and he just veered left until he fell. He looked like a marionette puppet in the hands of an inexperienced operator. 

We just stayed in this room, waiting for a bed to open up, and he rested and ate two platefuls of pancakes. The next time someone asked him to walk, he nailed it. He walked straight with his arms at his sides, touched his nose with alternating fingers and giggled at the absurdity of these requests. My boy was back!

He did not get any medicine at any point in this ordeal besides zofran for nausea. That's nothing magical because that's what I took for nausea when pregnant. He had 7 straight hours of getting worse and all of a sudden took a u-turn and got better. 

This is the diagnosis on his discharge paperwork.

Yes, that says dizziness. After all that....dizziness?!
One trauma dr said his diagnosis was a concussion. However, the ENT's disagree with that and it's not written down on anything we have. He has follow up visits with a neurologist and ENT and no one seems to agree on what happened. No one diagnosis fits all of his symptoms.

So, I don't really know. Here's what I DO know. We have got some amazing friends. People sat with me at the hospital, babysat kids, brought food, prayed in the middle of the night, and the list goes on.

God is faithful. Harris was not scared. I was not scared either, even as I wrestled with some heavy questions. I know that doesn't make sense but that's how it happened. I will be unpacking this experience for quite some time so maybe I'll learn some more things along the way. 

Praise God Harris is fine! He just needs some naps and is getting spoiled beyond belief right now.

 God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble.
Psalm 46:1

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