Tuesday, November 13, 2007

The Longest Month Ever

October 2007. It seemed like it would be a great month. We had the new baby to show off to the St. George members of the family. I'd be running in the St. George marathon. Oh how quickly things can change!

Traven seemed to have picked up a cold towards the end of September. No big deal, right? His cough was horrible and not getting better. Then he wouldn't wake up to eat anymore. We took him into the doctor's office. They said they thought it was a virus and that he'd turn the corner either the next day or the day after that. This was on September 28th. On the 3rd we were back at the doctor's, and on the 4th Traven was in Mountain View hospital. He now had an IV, and was having episodes where he would stop breathing. Late Saturday night we finally received a diagnosis - pertussis, also known as whooping cough. Mountain View does not have the expertise for treating a newborn with such severe symptoms, so Traven was sent via Life Flight up to Primary Childrens hospital. What a humbling experience. We were completely powerless. The only thing to do was trust in God and the excellent caregivers at the hospital.

I also need to relate another part of this story before continuing. For several months, I had severe pain after eating. At first it was very sporadic, but it kept getting worse. Sometimes I would end up collapsed on the bathroom floor from the pain. I finally broke down and went to my doctor, who ordered an ultrasound to check my gall bladder. Sure enough, it was filled with stones. It turns out two of my sisters and my Mother had their gall bladders removed in the past. Due to the fact that my one sisters had actually exploded inside of her and caused blood poisoning, we felt mine should come out as soon as possible.

In the midst of this turmoil, my sister called from St. George to tell me my Mother's health was worsening and she was very concerned.

Did I mention that Alyssa also came down with whooping cough at the same time?

At one point, I was recovering from surgery, Traven was having episodes in excess of 30 times a day where he would stop breathing, Alyssa was miserable and couldn't quit coughing, and Lori was staying with Traven up at the hospital. It was one of the most terrifying experiences of my life. My wife was not at home, my baby was near death and my youngest daughter was really struggling.

I eventually recovered, although it's been 4 weeks now and I'm still not back where I was with running. Traven was in the hospital for 3 weeks. He is home now, but not all the way better. Alyssa is almost all better, and things are slowly coming back to normal.

Several things got me through this month of trial.

First off, I am grateful for a loving Heavenly Father, who gave me the faith and strength to hold things together at home while Lori was up in Salt Lake.

Secondly, my children were incredible. Kaylee, Braden, Jason and Alyssa each stepped up and helped keep the home fires burning. There was cleaning to be done, homework needing attention, football games and practices to take care of, etc. Somehow, we took care of everything.

Thirdly, our neighbors were wonderful. We had numerous meals brought into us. I can't tell you what a blessing that was. I'd get up around 6:00 am, get some work done, then get the kids off to school. I'd then be at work until about 3:00 pm, when I'd go home and pick up one or two of the kids and head up to Salt Lake to visit with Lori and check on Traven. We wouldn't get home until after 9:00 pm. I'd then get the kids to bed and do some more work. It'd be midnight before I was able to try to rest again. Having a meal brought in was simply wonderful.

Fourth, and certainly not last by any means, I'd have to mention Lori's family. Her mom took several shifts with Traven so Lori could leave and rest. Emily brought Lori lunch on several days. Glenn and Allison visited Lori and really helped us out with things back at home.

I saved one of the best for last - my wife Lori. I do not know how she did it. By my calculations, Traven was in the hospital 20 nights. I stayed overnight for two of those. Lori's Mom stayed over for one as well. That means Lori did 17 nights of caring for Traven. As you can imagine, these were not restful nights. Between Traven's episodes, plus the nurses checking on him every two hours, she pretty much went without quality sleep for two and a half weeks. I could not do it. It must be something special about a mother and her love for her children that gave her super human-like powers of endurance.