What a Christmas

Life, and the challenges thrown at us, seem to keep ratcheting up lately. I sit here trying to pull my thoughts together, and find that I am somewhere between dizzy and numb.

Christmas Eve was wonderful, with Genevieve offering to spend the night since her children went ahead of her to the Philippines two weeks ago. What a blessing to be able to do all the things a busy elf needs to do without worrying about neglecting Abbie!

Christmas stars still twinkled (along with the outside lights we forgot to turn off) as we tried to put Abbie in her jogging stroller to take her into the living room, the Christmas tree and her waiting brothers. She was having none of it. We quickly changed plans and just carried her to the couch.

I warned the boys, now all old enough to have just asked for money from Santa, that they would be spending most of the morning as Abbie’s helpers, since she outnumbered them in presents ten to one. She loved digging into her stocking to find gloves with little faces on the fingers, a scarf and matching hat and a new toothbrush. And, she eagerly opened her presents. All the while however, her heart rate was hovering at 170…very, very high.

Before we could get to all of her yuletide bounty, the princess fell asleep. Her heart rate didn’t drop below 150, though. I was beginning to get troubled, recalling the screaming I’d elicited the day before just putting in a feeding tube — something she normally doesn’t even notice, let alone complain about.

By 5pm, having tried everything to get her comfortable and bring her heart rate down, we were on the phone with the on-call pediatrician, nodding as he advised us to go to the ER. I was thinking UTI, or something in her belly…actually, I was hoping that was the problem since that is on the “easy” end of the spectrum.

Nope. The urine culture came back clean. She didn’t complain as the doc examined her belly. Her fever wasn’t breaking through the meds we’d given her for pain. She didn’t even really look “sick”. Just that darn heart rate, which could just be a sign of pain. But, since we’d ruled out her midsection, folks started looking south, towards the Great Pink Hinterlands of Abbie’s legs.

“There’s a possibility, given the weakness of her bones and the weight of the casts that she may have fractured her femurs higher up.”

Oh, please….God, no, not that.

Ray ran into Dr. D., one of our orthopedic surgeons, in the hallway. Having been at the hospital until midnight on Christmas Eve, he was just finishing up another long day. Note to self: Thank the Lord I am not a surgeon, and be grateful to those who are!

Calm, Rational, I-could-be-a-doctor-by-now Mom asked, “If there are more fractures, what are the options?”

“Back into a spica (body) cast” was the answer I anticipated and got.

Dr. D. exited, right along with Rational Mom. Broken, Scared, Overwhelmed Mom sat back down and resumed pleading. “Please God, I know somehow we will make it through whatever comes, but please….not this again!”

The Xray tech made her second visit to Abbie to get a better picture of the femurs. And then we waited…

Thankfully, they had a TV on the wall of the room we were in. Amazingly, Abbie was watching it. “Home Alone” was on, and she was getting quite a kick out of “Crazy Kevin” and his antics. Her concentration, vision, and smiles gave my flagging spirit some reinforcement as the waiting continued.

The doc walked in with the only Christmas present I wanted: no new fractures! At this point it was kind of a puzzle, with the clearest answer being that her chest, which looked sort of junky on Xray, was brewing an infection. The doctor mused about admitting her and starting IV antibiotics. I gently countered with, “Isn’t there something else we can do?”

Something else won out: a shot of Rocephin in each thigh, and Gtube antibiotics and we were on our way. Home. What a blessing!

My parents arrived on 12/26 to find us rather strung out, but hanging in there. We were excited to spend time together, but didn’t really plan on doing it all by candlelight. Around 7:30 our whole island lost power. The pioneer lifestyle is fun for boys, but not for fragile little girls…or actually, not for their mommies.

Radio reports said it would be 12 hours at least, so we settled in for the night. I do not make a good pulse-oximeter, but with Abbie having something going on in her chest, it wasn’t as if I could just tuck her in and kiss her goodnight. I absolutely HATE the beep-beep-beep of an alarming pulse-ox, but I sure missed it last night. I had to trust my ears and eyes all night. By morning, when the power came back on, I was officially ready for the looney bin. Sleep deprivation creates insanity as quickly as raising teenagers does!

But, I’m rested now and Abbie is much, much better. This evening my mom and I were putting her to bed and talking about her cousin, Cooper. His 6th birthday is coming up in January. I told Abbie, “That Cooper, he keeps trying to catch you…he’s going to be six…but then, WHAM, you have another birthday and get really far ahead of him again.”

She grinned the biggest grin my mom has ever gotten to see. What a gift! As I type she is smiling in her dreams…sometimes she even laughs. I pray that one day soon she can find the same joy and freedom in her waking hours.

I want to balance what feels like a “whah, whah, whah” update with an amazing thing that happened this week. Ray called and told me to open my email because he’d forwarded something to me. His voice sounded strange, so I got nervous.

Once I read the forwarded email, my voice got funny, too. Tears will do that do you. A group of folks who work for him wrote : We decided that we wanted to do something for you for Christmas in a little different way…….we have purchased a gift card for Tiffany at the Kahala Spa. It waits for her at the Boutique. It will get her their special Kala Ko”iko”I LomiLomi

Can you believe that???

As scary as it gets, God’s assurance is greater. As hard as it gets, God’s power is stronger. As sad as it gets, God’s promises are sweeter. And, as lonely as it can feel, God’s love is unfailing.

The surprising thing remains…for here and now, He does all of this through people. I know I will die with a look of astonishment still on my face, and my first word to my Creator will be “Wow!”

4 thoughts on “What a Christmas

  1. What a wonderful gift! I hope you enjoy your spa day – you certainly deserve it. I continue to pray for Abby and for your family!

  2. To our princess Abbie on New Year's Eve 2008:
    The Lord Who formed you with His loving Hands,
    has taken you to distant lands.
    We'll never know 'til we're all there with Him,
    what incredible places you've been in.
    The One Who's held you so very close, the One Who loves you oh, the most.
    He's shining on you every night & day, He never leaves you or moves one inch away.
    Your mom, she too, is loved by Him, He's held her up thru thick & thin.
    Together you will finish this race, & the joy will radiate from each beautiful face.
    Your crowns of suffering, endurance & trust,
    You'll both cast them down as you only can & must.
    And then you'll rise, completely whole,
    Forever in heaven, all along, your goal!!
    May 2009 burst forth with the most bountiful, beautiful blessings only God Himself can imagine for you, precious Abbie, SS Tiffany, & your dear family!!! How we LOVE u!
    xoxooxoxo in Him,
    K, W &kittens; 8
    JEREM 29:11!!!!!

  3. I was so sorry to hear that you had such a hard Christmas day. You have been in my thoughts and prayers daily. I hope and pray that the next update will bring good news.

    I’m praying that this year will bring amazing progress in Abbie’s life, that she will begin to walk and talk and run and play. For we know nothing is impossible with God!

    Love ya,

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