Sunday, August 30, 2015

Just Keep Swimming…

The adventures continue over here at the Clark House.  My dearest friend always tells me, “Go big or go home,” and Lord knows, I’d hate to let her down.

Naturally, Easton is the one to stir the pot the most but allow me to just try to paint a picture of the last three weeks here!

 It all started one fine Saturday at Crossfit when I thought I would just try to throw a 72 pound kettle bell onto my shoulder to see if I could.  Sadly, it did not go as well as planned and landed on my foot!  I ran out of the building crying and threw a small tantrum in front of the building before regaining my composure and completing a 45 min WOD on it.  So very smart.  Later in the day, I took my blue and throbbing foot in for an X-ray to find out that the bone right next to my big toe was cracked.  That’s right, cracked not broke because as I like to say, I’m #unbreakable.  This put quite a damper on my style as I had to wear this awesome boot (that was most definitely made for walking and working out and dancing and shopping) but really hurt my squatting abilities!  Basically, it was just a major pain in my butt. 

About a week later, the wind blew in Goodrich and knocked our power out.  For more than 2 days.  We were incredibly lucky to be one of only twenty five houses in the area to lose power.  Naturally, Matt had purchased $300 worth of groceries only hours earlier.  I don’t know about you but I do not like to put away my groceries when I buy them but loading them into coolers and then to my parents house and then back to my house- was extremely fun.  Oh, and we live with Easton who is petrified of almost everything and no lights was no fun for this little guy!  We finally did borrow a generator and Matt may or may not have burned a permanent scar into the side of his leg!

The power comes back on at 12:30AM on August 16.  At approximately 12:45AM, Easton wakes up crying and holding his head with the worst headache ever and a fever.  Awesome.  We give him some Motrin and don’t think much of it.  The next morning he is not right.  Super lethargic, 104 temp, and just not coming out of it.  Matt had plans for the day so I sent him on his way but just started to get a bad feeling about Easton.  He always gets “really” sick when he gets sick but I just didn’t like what I was seeing.  Eventually around dinner time, I asked Matt to come home and bring me some Pedialite because I didn’t even think I could put him in my car.  The temps continued to spike through the night but I had to switch focus quickly because at 7am the next morning, Carter was having Oral Surgery where they were using IV sedation while extracting four teeth and clipping his tongue tie.  Matt was supposed to go with me because I hate seeing my kids under sedation but when your other kid has to steal every ones thunder and be 104.3 the morning of surgery- you gotta go alone!  Carter ended up doing great, just took awhile for the Anesthesia to wear off because he is so little and probably felt the need to freak me out just a little bit.

I spent the rest of that morning and into the afternoon taking care of both boys with the help of my assistant Paige, who was wearing a Doc McStuffins lab coat.  By 4:00, Carter was great and acting normal but Easton spiked a temp of 104.7 and was complaining of neck pain.  I don’t really do ER unless its for Paige to get stitches.  I hate ER.  I’ve actually always managed to get my kids a direct admit from the Pediatrician every time we have had an admission but not this time.  My normal Pediatrician was not in so when I called about his fever and symptoms- the backup refused to even see him and sent us straight to ER.  Once we were back in  the room, it became clear pretty quickly that he was not going to go home.  Of course, I was not prepared and brought nothing that would get us through a FIVE day stay.  The initial concern was Meningitis which meant he had to have a spinal tap.  Not fun.  So sad and scary for him and us.  Nobody wants to see their child in pain yet I knew that he wasn’t just “sick.”  He is my Easton and I know my Easton.  He wasn’t OK. 

I want to stop and say something that I find interesting.  On August 1, my friend Kim had her baby earlier than expected and way smaller than expected.  Sweet Sloan had to be admitted to the NICU for a week.  I talk a lot about the NICU.  When someone I know has a baby there, I call all my nurse friends to keep watch.  I hang out with NICU nurses all the time.  I love the NICU.  What I didn’t realize…Is I don’t actually “do” the NICU.  I used to take E on his birthdays.  I used to go visit the first few months after he was born.  As time went on- I quit.  I don’t like it there.  The air is thick.  I can’t breathe near the hand washing station and it makes my heart beat too fast.  I am so grateful to that NICU but I cannot go there.  And, then I had to.  When your best friend has a baby in the hospital- you have to go.  Its not really something you can wiggle out of.  Its mandatory.  Like, make or break your friendship kind of stuff.  So, I went.  I had more anxiety than I knew what to do with- but I  did it.  Four times.  The reason I bring this up is because I truly believe God prepares you for hard things.  I had no way of knowing that I was going to see my Miracle Baby back in a hospital bed on too many drugs not knowing what was wrong with him in just two short weeks.  Sloan forced me to get back in the environment that terrifies me.  She helped prepare me for the 2nd floor at Hurley.  Again.  

Watching the team diagnose Easton was so interesting.  We were dealing with an Infectious Disease Doctor who was really on top of his game.  He checked for everything.  It was so frustrating to watch everything come back negative when clearly something, somewhere was positive.  It felt like so much time was passing and nothing was happening except the fevers were getting higher and harder to break.  Having a sick baby is so hard.  But, having a sick child is worse!  This was the first time Easton was old enough to fight back.  He didn’t want to be poked, or swabbed or “shotted.”  He was terrified and in pain and begging and pleading for people to “quit hurting me pretty please!  I’m a good boy!”  It was heartbreaking.  It was a desperate feeling for me because I had to allow people to do things to him and even help in most processes and he is not old enough to understand why I can’t save him.  It’s a very different experience to deal with a sick baby versus child.  I wish I didn’t know. 

Easton was admitted on Monday.  On Wednesday, a culture came back positive for Adnovirus.   He was already on three IV antibiotics and an Antiviral medication.  With this result- they stopped all antibiotics.  Matt looked and me as soon as we were told about the virus and said, “that’s not it.”  Yes, the culture was positive.  Yes, he had Adnovirus but as parents- we knew that wasn’t it.  The gut feeling said there was more.  In true Easton style, 30 minutes after stopping all Antibiotics, his ear ruptured a very disturbing substance.  It took about 5 minutes to culture that and re-start all antibiotics.  It was the missing link.  The pain in his neck was actually right below his ear… but still his neck.  He is a very dialed in four year old.  He never wavered from his stance on pain and complaints.He knew where the problem was the whole time.  It just took the rest of us awhile to find it… but he knew.  This rupture was exactly what we needed to be able to finally help him.  A CT scan was ordered that showed infection in the bone and the culture was positive for Staph.  Boom.  An answer.  That’s all we needed to get this boy better.  He was such a champ.  He was really weak and in a lot of pain most of the time but once that final fever broke- he was ready to play some basketball and he never looked back.  That was it.  Like nothing ever happened.  He’s not bitter,  or mad or even upset about it.  He just rolls with it and he is the strongest most tolerant human being alive.  This, I know for sure. 



Easton has had two staph infections, 5 stomach flus, infectious mononucleosis and a bone infection as well as countless ear infections in the last 5 months.  We had a full blood panel drawn by an Immunologist on Thursday and are just waiting on those results.  It’s a journey with this kid.  There are so many things in life I doubt.  I worry constantly about my ability to do certain things or decisions I make but there is one thing this last episode taught me… I can do Easton.  From day one, I promised him that if he survived, I would do anything for him.  Sometimes I get overwhelmed but I really do have him.  No matter where he takes us- I got him.  He was made for me. 

I also cannot fail to mention the incredible care we received.  No, its not because I am a Board Member.  Nobody even knows that.  From everyone in ER to all of his doctors, nurses and residents- we were blown away.  The nurses were so loving and patient and kind.  They helped me care for him when I wasn't sure I was doing ok and then they listened to me when I had a gut feeling or needed help.  The Child Life Specialists were like magicians.  They literally showed up every time something was about to go down and we needed help.  It was the best care I could have imagined.  I still do love Hurley.  Here is what happens though- they all take great care of you and then your child is better and you go home.  So…. you say, "Thanks??"  That word is not enough.  Its not enough for picking up my sick boy and caring him to his bed from the stretcher because he was too weak to walk- even though she had no idea what disease he had.  It is not enough for the nurses that helped me change his bed 12 times a day or held the bucket when I couldn't.  Or for the Dr. who got paged every time that fever spiked over 104 and came back in to re-examine him to try and find the missing link.  Or for the child life specialists' who have the best distract tactics in the world when scary things are coming.  Our hearts are overflowing with gratitude.  There really are no words.  

Oh, and Facebook.  Facebook is an entertaining social media outlet.  I enjoy seeing what people are up to.  However, when it comes to Easton there is a major following.  It started back in the NICU days when it seemed the easiest way to update.  I swear we feel the love and prayers from people near and far and they work.  The support system we have as a family is unlike anything I ever dreamed.  I personally read every single post and appreciate all calls, texts, visits and voicemails.  We need you and you never let us down.  Thank you, Team Easton!

As of today, we are all good again!  One week left of summer and we are waiting for the madness of new school schedules to kick in.  Paige has Dance Team and Cheerleading.  Carter has football and Easton has soccer.  As much as I like summer- I do love a little structure.  The Clarks are like a hot mess these days.  We need a routine to get our booties back in line.

One. Of . A. Kind.

Until next time, we will just keep swimming!

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