‘Aint No Sunshine When She’s Gone

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Nearly 10 years later, and this child is still baffling doctors and giving her parents grey hair!  We’ve been in the hospital for a week now with a pretty sick girl who has largely left doctors mystified as to the source of her pain.  We were admitted for suspected appendicitis – chronic lower right abdominal pain.  But, as the days an symptoms have unfolded, batteries of tests have been administered and specialists have been consulted, they’ve identified other culprits as factors in her pain.  It wasn’t until day 5 that they found growth of not one, not two, but THREE different strains of E.coli bacteria in her system!  Additionally, a partial intestinal blockage is believed to be trapping feces and retaining infection in her body and causing inflammation.  Her pain has ranged from moderate/constant, to fever pitch acute pain.  But in a week now, she hasn’t had a moment pain-free!

We thought we were on the right course treating with a cocktail of mega doses of broad spectrum antibiotics, anti-parasitic meds, anti-inflammatories, probiotics and laxatives. We’d even begun to discuss with the doctor the possibility of moving to oral meds and going home if she improved enough.

Then Sunday night she nose-dived!  A new symptom of nearly incessant vomiting throughout the night and into the morning left her absolutely wrecked with pain.  Doctors became concerned this might be evidence of a complete intestinal block requiring emergency surgery and began prepping her for yet another CT scan (we’ve had mega doses of radiation CT’s/X-rays and ultrasounds this week!!).  The anti-nausea meds couldn’t touch it and she was dry heaving for hours!  For a child already suffering from stomach pain, this was agonizing!

The culmination of pain, stomach spasms, depletion from not eating for days and exhaustion from not sleeping sent Evie into (what we now believe was) a full blown anxiety/panic attack – but at the moment, no one knew what was going on.  She very quickly became disoriented and couldn’t communicate clearly. Was just panting “Mommy, I can’t breathe….do something….Im scared….help me“.  The nurses began swarming into the room taking vitals and trying to assess what was going on.  But she couldn’t communicate.  Gasping, hyperventilating, eyes darting around the room, cold shaky extremities, writhing in pain, tears streaming down her face….it was agonizing to watch and traumatically, all Evies sisters were in the room for the episode!  Its amazing how quickly your mind can go to a dark place.  I was flooded with memories of another hospital room with nurses frantically trying to gage what was going on!  Sometimes “God be near” is the all you can breathe as you look into the eyes of your suffering child!

Evie was put on oxygen and sedated.  Sad to watch, but honestly the best thing for her.  She’s languishing and just needed SLEEP!  The rest of the day, she seemed to decline with no energy to even stand.  Even after sleeping off the sedation, she couldn’t keep her eyes open.  Then being asked to drink a liter of contrast fluid before the CT was awful after nothing on her tummy for days and 16 hours of vomiting.

CT last night ruled out some of our biggest fears leading doctors to continue the current course of treatment….addressing the infection, controlling the nausea, and giving her time to heal.  The thought is that the infection triggered Irritable Bowel Syndrome and that colitis may have left ulcers which are not going to feel better immediately even if the infection is gone.  They are talking about this healing process taking weeks!

We are weary.  C was out of the country most of this week and Abi has just left for a month.  Evie’s spirits are down from just sheer exhaustion and being confined to a depressing hospital room.  Mommy guilt plagues me at times with the children at home being neglected – especially today on Izzy’s 11th birthday!!  Ive been home a total of 3 hours in the past week.  Thankful that the hospital is walking distance from our home so they can visit often!  Spending time yet again in Psalm 139 – Evie’s verse!  He knows the intricacies of her frame and has ordered her days and cares even more for her than I do!

~ Pray specifically that we can get out of the hospital soon!  We need marked improvement before we can switch to oral meds and take our girl home to heal.  As Eden and I (mommy) have been her constant companions, we’ve come down with a nasty hospital bug and have crummy tummies too (no not the same as Evie – but just generally miserable!)

~ Pray for wisdom for doctors if there is anything we are missing.  They hope to see a gradual trend toward less pain.  If not, the next thing they will do is a colonoscopy and have even talked about exploratory surgery which we are very uncomfortable doing here in Thailand!


6th Birthday Dollhouse Party

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

A long and time honored tradition culminated last week.  We celebrated the fifth and final little-girls-6th-birthday-housewarming-party of our family!  Turning 6 is a big deal around here.  30 years ago, my grandfather (who is now 97 and watching this tradition carried on to the next generation) started something special that left an indelible memory.  A beautiful Victorian Dollhouse was toiled over, constructed, adorned, painted and presented to me on my 6th birthday.  My mother jokes that the box they purchased with instructions suggested 40 hours for assembly.  Grandpa put in 80!!  Using Grandma’s earring studs to create tiny door knobs and and laboring in his tool shed to perfect and improve the design, his masterpiece exceeded the manufacturers labeled photograph and the structure has withstood now three-decades of play.  Each of my sisters received the same gift on their 6th birthday developing a little “neighborhood” in the playroom of my childhood home.

C took on the baton and purposed to create the same special memory for each of our girls on their 6th birthday.  Abi, Britain, Izzy Evie and now Gigi each have dollhouses that hopefully they’ll get to pass on to their daughters some day!  We could have a whole little “village” if all the big sister dollhouses weren’t packed up in a POD back in the USA!!  🙁

I told her she can stop growing now!  6 years old is old enough!  Have loved every minute of your little-girlhood my Gigi!  Your spunk and sass and sweetness.  I love that chocolate still works to bribe you to take a nap with me and that you still love to sneak down in the middle of the night sometimes to snuggle.  I love your obsession with hairbows and high-heels and lime drinks and bubble tea.  Our coffee mornings when all the big kids are at school and the way your hand fits just right in mine when we walk to pick them up!  Your crazy mess of curls and the Fancy Nancy quote you say to me every day that keeps me wrapped around your little finger…..”I adore you….really, I do!”
I adore you too my girl.  Happy 6th birthday to our little hot mess!

This sweet little dollhouse cake brought to us by Cupcakelicious U!  Yum, yum, yum!!  What a masterpiece of its own.  Delicious lemon cake and cream cheese frosting under all that fondant amazingness!  And the best part – they deliver!  Bangkok friends – check them out for your next event!!

Man Up! Coming of Age

Monday, May 22, 2017

Nearly 2 years ago, we promised Tristan a “wilderness adventure” for his 13th birthday.  This wild-at-heart-man-child of ours is most at home away from home.  This apartment in Bangkok just isnt a natural habitat to his free spirit and we’ve longed to be able to set him loose and see him push his limits and rise to a challenge!  That opportunity came in the form of a mountain trecking endeavor with his dad and a team of men that we work with. The team was going to lead a training in Nepal which made it easy to tack on an extra week to summit the Annapurna in the Himalayan mountains!

We’re talking big-boy adventure here!  Similar to the Everest base camp climb!  ROCK (climbers magazine) names the Annapurna the “deadliest mountain in the world“!  Even tho no one is allowed further than the base camp anymore, the climb to ABC was no small feat!!  Tristan left a kid and returned a man….because there aint’ no way his momma could have done it and he has earned a badge of honor, the respect of everyone else on the trail, bragging rights and a great sense of accomplishment!

The rugged terrain took their trecking party of 7 up the 4,130 meters of the Annapurna mountain to the base camp, which is now the highest point which climbers are allowed to summit – because it is so dangerous beyond that point and there have been too many deaths!  I restrained the urge to google too much information about the treck until I knew they were safely down, but when I did, I came across crazy stories that would have left me with an acute case of insomnia had I known!  The guys passed “memorials” on the way honoring climbers who didnt make it back down.

Every day, from the crack of dawn, they hiked for hours through blazing heat, rain and then snow to make it to their destination.  Nights were spent in tea houses which were un-heated, but provided water for showering and a hot meal.  Daily hurdles included rope bridges to cross, creeks to wade through, altitude sickness, headaches, oxygen deprivation, rocks to climb, cold to press through and mental stamina and true grit!

We didn’t hear from the guys the entire trip aside from a spotty attempted phone call and a couple of text letting his momma know he hadn’t fallen off the mountain.  C tells me that Tristan was, by far, the youngest guy on the trail!  And can I just say its a good thing his momma wasn’t there!!  I for sure would have gotten in the way of him summiting.  The guys tell us that the last day, they had to get up at 4am to begin the final hike in order to summit at sunrise.  Tristan at this point had an especially acute case of altitude sickness and was not doing well at all.  They guys all pushed and prodded, encouraged and antagonized, whatever necessary to keep him putting one foot in front of the other.  Apparently he was delirious and kept asking C if he could “just lay down in the snow and sleep for a minute?”

Oh my momma heart!!!  Had I been there you can bet that 1) who am I kidding, I would have died the first day and never gotten that far, and 2) I would have been the weakest link in the chain that pulled him up those last miles!  Tristan persevered and conquered the Annapurna trail!!

The summit has a helicopter that rescues climbers 4-5 times a day who just pass out and cant make it any further.  Im pretty sure Tristan was on the brink of a fast track out of there, but he continued on and made the descent with the guys and bought his Tshirt to wear with pride!

Annapurna checked off the bucket list!!  Such a cool father-son adventure!  And, we’ve told him that he’s now obligated to do it again with Eden in 13 years…..because Im pretty sure C is gonna be too old by that point to attempt it again with son #2!  So insanely proud of these guys!!