Sunday, July 20, 2014

The Vacation Series - Part 2

What happened next in our series of unfortunate events is actually quite difficult for me to relive, but I've written about as many details as I could while I sobbed here at the computer and Annie stroked my arm and begged me not to cry.  Forgive the particularly sloppy writing.

"Your body temperature is 100.7 degrees fahrenheit," the thermometer said aloud when I scanned Annie's forehead. The slight fever didn't worry me very much, though I did wonder if Sam was ill not from his shots but from something contagious the few days before we left.  I had brought some ibuprofen with me as a precautionary measure but I couldn't give it to my little sicky until Paul came back with the car and the puke bowl inside.  Ibuprofen always makes Annie throw up.  I situated her in bed and put on cartoons while we waited.  I sat on the bed beside her and watched some YouTube videos with my headphones on.  About a minute into my video I saw movement out of the corner of my eye.  I turned to see Annie's hands flailing in the air while the rest of her body seized and shook. I ripped off my headphones and ran to her side, screaming her name and instantly sobbing.  As irrational as it may seem, that pessimistic voice in my head kept repeating, "You're going to lose her. You're going to lose her."  Her eyes starred up at the ceiling, devoid of the spark that usually fills them, and I held her and cried as I grasped for my phone with one hand.  Alone and with no car, I dialed 911 and begged the dispatcher for help.  She sent an ambulance and stayed with me on the line.

The seizure ended and left Annie's body absolutely lifeless.  Her eyes stayed opened, still dead and staring off at nothing. She didn't answer to her name or my insistent cries, nor did she respond to my touch as I stroked her sweaty hair and told her to stay with me.  The dispatcher reassured me that her body was behaving as she would expect after such an episode, but I still checked her breathing every few seconds.

When the paramedics arrived I felt relieved and safe as they carried her out tenderly and placed an IV. Pale and limp, she screamed out at the initial poke but didn't even twitch.  I laid her bear beside her and called Paul who was finally out of church, and shortly after we arrived Paul did too.  Annie began to respond to me again and I felt overwhelming love and relief when I noticed the light return to body. I held her and cried some more as they poked and pricked and examined her over the next nine and a half hours.  She bore it bravely, and milked as many popsicles out of the nurses she could.  Paul and my dad gave her a priesthood blessing then my parents took Sam so we could focus on Annie.  Later, Paul let me leave for dinner so I could regroup.  Late that evening they discharged her without any answers, and we took her back to the hotel to rest.  Sam spent the night at my grandmother's house so Annie didn't have to face another night of pretending to sleep through his cries.  It didn't take her long to pass out from exhaustion.  I, on the other hand, laid in bed, staring at her, terrified she'd disappear like a pixie if I closed my eyes.  But eventually, I fell asleep on my tear soaked pillow.

The next day was quiet and uneventful.  Annie seemed perfectly normal.  Her mood was cheery, her temperature was normal, and if it weren't for the bruises up her arms, you wouldn't have guessed she'd spent the day before in the hospital.  Part of me hoped the rest of the week would go smoothly now, but the other part knew it would not.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

The Vacation Series - Part 1

I looked at Paul then at the ginormous pile of luggage behind the couch.  Sam cried at my feet because for the third day in a row he sported a fever and refused to eat anything other than breast milk.  Annie began to sob uncontrollably because the Dramamine we gave her finally kicked in and she was instantly sleepy.  "I have a bad feeling, " I said aloud.  "I'm afraid that something bad is coming."  This is a pretty typical emotion for me.  I'm rarely caught off guard with a big trial I wasn't warned about.  Unfortunately, I often dismiss these warnings as the overgrown pessimism that has settled into my life.

We packed the kids into the car anyway because the feeling didn't instruct me to stay home though my self-preservation instinct was screaming run for the hills.  Once crammed like sardines into The Professor (our car's name) we got onto I80 and headed east toward Southern Illinois.  The land of my people.  I often think back on the last time we made this trek.  It was a turning point for me and my little family, and really bonded us in an unimaginable way.  This gave me hope for another great bonding experience because, after the big postpartum depression battle I've fought for the last year, I've been feeling a little disconnected from my children, husband, and about everyone else for that matter.  But the drive overnight was filled with crying-- so much crying-- that only a few hours into this trip I was ready to open the car door fling myself onto the highway at 80 miles an hour.  After surviving the grizzly night by spending a little time in my parents van for a much needed nap, I took a turn at the wheel and nearly knocked out Kansas.  During this time Annie had a bout of car sickness and puked in her little bowl. . . which she promptly spilled all over her lap.  I was prepared for such a moment with a jug of puke-rinsing water.  After the puke clean-up it was difficult to get Annie to eat or drink anything.  She was afraid of a repeat episode although I assured her she just needed a little more Dramamine.  And thanks to the good ol' motion sick meds she did not throw up again.

We arrived in Southern Illinois late in the evening and tried to immediately put our grumpy children and our tired butts to bed.  If you remember I haven't slept in at least four days due to sick Sam and now the all night car ride, so my brain and body were both screaming, "Girl, get me some sleep!"  However, the hotel room was modestly sized and the only spot we could find for the crib was right next to our bed.  I snuggled and nursed my tired baby while Paul read and snuggled the three year old.  Soon Sam was ready to be put down, but being able to reach out and touch his daddy and see his mommy's "sleeping" silhouette beside him angered the small lad.  He did not want to be put down and he would not have it.  He cried off and on all night long, and after a few cat naps and lots of tears I gave up on the whole idea of sleep and just pulled him out of his bed around 5:30.  Annie was awake too, so I got them both a little snack.

I sobbed my way through getting ready and yelled at everything in my path.  My blow dryer got an earful about how tired I was.  My flat iron listened to my rants about going straight home.  And Paul, dear sweet Paul, laid in bed dozing like the sleep wizard he is.  I stood for a long moment at the foot of his bed, staring at the plethora of pillows heaped beside him.  How easy it would have been to hold one over his face while screaming, "SO YOU LIKE SLEEP, DO YA? WELL HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT ETERNAL SLEEP?!?!?!"  I knew right then I was losing my mind and nigh unto delirious.  So I packed up my hysterically exhausted demon spawn in the car and abandoned the sleeping devil at the hotel.  I drove to my grandmothers house and burst through the doors like the wicked witch of the west.  I looked at their smiling, rested faces and began crying again while I demanded to stay there so I had a room to escape to while my son fell asleep.  I could not calm down foreseeing a weeks worth of nights like the previous.  I cried all morning and contemplated going right back home.  Paul keep calling my phone and I ignored him for a couple hours until it was almost time for church.  When that wonderful man heard how delusional I'd become he insisted I take a nap.  Annie, who was equally inconsolable, and I stayed at the hotel together and napped while everyone else went to church.  Three and a half blissful hours later we awoke.  I was feeling a bit better, but Annie was running a fever.
Brochure in the lobby of our hotel.... Pretty much summed up the majority of this vacation.