Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Love and Health This Thanksgiving

With Thanksgiving only days away, I feel it only appropriate for my first post to be about the people that mean the most to me in this world. My Family.

I have been lucky to grow up only miles away from my entire family - including grandparents, aunts, uncles, and many close cousins. While most family get togethers for others generally only consist of parents and siblings, in our family, family get togethers are always an event (to say the least). My family tends to find every reason possible to have a big get together. Whether it be Birthdays, Mother's Day, Father's Day, Labor Day, Christmas, or Thanksgiving - you can find us all together, enjoying each others company (well, most of the time) and eating!

This past weekend, my momma's side of the family all got together to celebrate my sweet cousin James' 2nd birthday. Our family all being together at James' house made me reflect on how truly thankful I am for my family.

 Two years ago, on Thanksgiving 2008, our family holiday fun was shaken by the sickness of my little cousin, Samuel. (Samuel was 5 at the time) In our family, there are five older cousins who are all college age - Katie, Reed, Haley, me, and Garen - and Samuel (7) and James (2). So, as you can imagine, Samuel is always the life of the party. That Thanksgiving, Samuel wasn't able to come to our normal Thanksgiving feast. He had been in and out of the emergency room at East Tennessee Children's Hospital that morning and the day before with what the doctors thought was the croup. Needless to say, Thanksgiving wasn't quite the same without Samuel. No running and laughing and playing for all of us old kids. After the meal was over, my mom and the old cousins went over to visit Samuel at his house. We also were going to visit James, our then 10-day-old cousin! When we got to Samuel's we visited with Aunt Jill and James upstairs before we went downstairs to see Uncle John and Samuel. (They were doing their best to prevent baby James from getting sick by keeping the boys in different rooms) Samuel was downstairs sitting on the couch playing video games. While the fact that he wasn't jumping all over the room was sign enough that he wasn't feeling well, the volume of his breathing was even more alarming. Samuel's breathing sounded like a small machine. Shortly after we left Samuel's house, mom got a call from Aunt Jill asking her to go with Uncle John to take Samuel back to the emergency room. Samuel kept saying "hard to breathe, hard to breathe."

Haley, Reed, and I headed home to moms and stayed in touch with mom via text to stay updated on Samuel's condition. The only word we were getting was to "pray" and "pray hard." Later that evening, mom called to let us know that Samuel was being rushed into emergency surgery and that the doctors had instructed Aunt Jill to get to the hospital as quickly as possible. Samuel had been diagnosed with bacterial tracheaitis and an otolaryngologist had been called in to perform emergency surgery to clear the infection from Samuel's airway. Basically, Samuel's airway was closing at an alarming rate and it was taking every muscle in his little body to help him breathe. Momma and Uncle John asked the doctor if they could wait until Aunt Jill got to the hospital to take Samuel into surgery, but the doctors said there was no time and that they needed to get to surgery as quickly as possible.

Luckily, only 20 minutes after the surgery began, the doctor came from the operating room to inform Aunt Jill and Uncle John that the surgery was a success. He had been able to secure an airway for Samuel through a ventilator, a tube that would be his lifeline for the foreseeable future. After two days, we learned that Samuel's infection was a form of common staph and that Samuel's condition was a fluke, the perfect storm, extremely bad luck. Luckily, the staph wasn't drug-resistant. Over the next few days, our family prayed as hard as we could that our little Samuel would recover as we bound together to care for baby James while Aunt Jill and Uncle John were in Knoxville with Samuel.
In just eight days, Samuel went from a kid who couldn't wait to wrestle with his cousins on Thanksgiving to a critically ill PICU patient to a proud big brother who walked on his own from the hospital room to go home. Samuel had fully recovered and in a few days was back to normal.

One year later, with the scare of Samuel's sickness heavy on our hearts, our family was excited to have a Thanksgiving with our entire family back together and healthy. Around 7:00am on Thanksgiving 2009, from my bedroom I heard my mom in a frantic voice talking on the phone to someone saying, "we will just have to cancel Thanksgiving." Being a stickler for tradition and family, I immediately got up to see what was going on. My mom was on the phone with my Aunt Theresa discussing the plans for the day. Aunt Jill had just called and she was on her way to Children's Hospital with James, with what they thought was the croup. The spectrum of emotions that  overcame our family that day as we feared a repeat of the year before is unexplainable. Luckily this time, James recovered rather quickly and while James was not able to attend our Thanksgiving feast, the day was able to go on without much of a hitch (and with Samuel back to normal, too!).

As I look towards Thanksgiving 2010, I am thankful for the blessing of living so close to my family and the tight-knit relationships our family is able to have. I am thankful for East Tennessee Children's Hospital and their care for Samuel and James. And I am thankful that the Lord has continued to watch over our family.

This Thanksgiving, I pray for love and health for my family, and for yours, too!
Happy Thanksgiving and God Bless!

 Me, Aunt Jill, James and Samuel at Homecoming 2010
Samuel and I - Homecoming 2010

1 comment:

  1. i love this micah!! i am so happy to know that there was a happy ending to this story!! god is so great!