Monday, November 27, 2017

Surviving Our First Night In The Hospital

As I tossed and turned, trying to sleep in a recliner next to Grace's hospital bed, I couldn't help but think to myself how lucky we were to have made it six years without an overnight stay in the hospital. Between the beeping of the machines, the vital checks with the nurses and a chair that was definitely not designed for sleeping, I was definitely glad our first visit only lasted one night.

The week before Thanksgiving, Grace managed to pick up the same cold the rest of us had all week. But Grace has always had the uncanny ability to just sleep when she was sick. And usually a few days of extra sleep during the day was enough to get her healthy again.

So, when Wednesday rolled around, and Grace was sound asleep at lunch, we decided to keep her home from school that afternoon. She took a four-hour nap that day. Since she only goes for a few hours in the afternoon, we also kept her home on Thursday afternoon, hoping the extra rest would help. By Thursday evening, she had a pretty good fever, but some Tylenol brought it down, and we thought she was feeling a little better.

It just so happened that on Friday, she had a routine doctor's appointment. While we were there, her fever spiked, and after blood work and x-rays, they discovered Grace had pneumonia, which happens to be very common in INAD kids, due to low muscle tone and other respiratory issues. We were quickly sent on our way to St. John's Children's Hospital in Springfield, with no real indication of how long we would be there.

There aren't many times that Grace cries anymore, so when she whined quite a bit during her blood work and x-rays, I knew she didn't feel good. My mind raced with all the possible scenarios, even wondering if we would have Grace with us through the holidays. Although pneumonia is very treatable, kids with INAD have a very hard time getting over it, and a routine doctor's visit quickly turned scary for us.

Fortunately, Grace responded to another dose of Tylenol, and by the time we got to the hospital, she even had some smiles for us. The nurses were fantastic, and after a round of antibiotics, we got settled in for the night.

Before calling it a night, I stopped by the nurse's desk for a question, quietly noticing many parents, just like us, trying to find a way to rest in the hospital room. There were patients of all ages, from babies to teenagers, and lots and lots of worried parents, hoping and praying for their little ones to feel better.

My mind wandered to those parents who have been in the hospital for days, weeks, even months with their children. The strength that must take seems almost unfathomable, though those parents I know would tell you they are just doing what needs to be done to help their child. I'm fortunate to know some pretty amazing parents, who have been strong and courageous in the face of life's hardest circumstances.

Grace had a great night, and we were discharged the very next afternoon, much to our delight. She still had to take medicine all week long, but everyone got more rest at home. And Charlotte, who spent the night with my parents, had a big, sloppy kiss for me the moment I walked in the door.
Kyle and I can't say enough good things about Grace's doctor for getting us to the hospital, and the hospital staff for taking such good care of us when we were there. 

All things considered, it was a pretty amazing stay for our first overnight hospital trip. If you've never had to try and sleep in a hospital bed next to your child overnight, count all your blessings at least twice, and remember how lucky you are to have healthy children, even if they make you want to pull your hair out sometimes.

Although we were lucky to make it six years without a hospital visit, Kyle and I know it's very likely we will be looking to have more overnight trips to the hospital in the future. There will be times that we won't be so lucky to only stay one night. But we are grateful to have each other and wonderful families to help out when we need it.

I can't say it's exactly how I wanted to spend my weekend, but it could have been much worse. We had a chance to share Grace's story with some pretty wonderful medical staff, and we know they will be there to take care of us the next time as well. After all, it's just another adventure on our Grace-Filled Journey.

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