Sunday, March 27, 2011

That's What It's All About

Madeline, as she held her baby sister before church on her bed (decorated with beautiful tissue paper flowers she and Raleigh made earlier that morning):

"It's not about the flowers. It's about the relationship and the breeze."

You're right, Madeline!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Blood and Guts . . . Mercy (MRSA) Me!

"Ew," he said calmly, with a satisfied smile on his face. "I can see your guts."

I looked down at my left thigh, which his dad and Dallas were examining. I caught a glimpse of the painful, gaping hole in my thigh, overstuffed with bloody gauze.

Ew. I could see my guts. And I began feeling woozy. "I can't look!" I told him.

"Then don't look!" he answered, as he covered my eyes with a surgical mask. He kept it there so I wouldn't. And he kept me entertained with his playful concern.

A few moments later, when I struggled to get comfortable, he marched in with a stack of pillows and told me that he was going to put them all under my leg. Then he exclaimed, "You should be on Monsters Inside Me!" He couldn't get enough of it.

Thanks to T-Man, I survived yet another examination of my leg that week.

Monday, Valentine's Day, was the usual love-fest for our family: lots of fun lovey-dovey decorations, little Valentine's gifts, heart-shaped homemade pizza, a dance party. I do remember that I sat out towards the end of the dance party because my leg was bothering me.

The next day, a sore that I had on my upper inner thigh started to grow bigger and became increasingly painful. It had been there over the weekend, but it seemed like something that would go away. By Wednesday it was the size of a fried egg - the yolk part a dark reddish bluish purple, and the white part a deep red. It was excruciatingly painful to the touch, and I could hardly walk or sit. This was not the usual owie.

Then the fever came.

I talked with a P.A. friend of ours that morning, and he told me that it was a staph infection, and he prescribed an antibiotic. But now that I had a fever, it was looking more serious. My doctor got me right in, ready to lance it.

I had drawn around the infection with a sharpie marker to watch for spreading, and now the "fried egg" was spreading in a wide band halfway around my leg on both sides. But it was not ready to be lanced. The doctor wanted to give me one more day. He said that the P.A. had done the right thing in giving me the antibiotic.

Then he said in his Latvian accent, "I give you shot - it hurt really bad! You no cry, I give you lollipop." Well, it did hurt - but not bad; I didn't cry, and I didn't get a lollipop. Just a sore Rocephin-filled leg.

The next morning, this awesome lady came over:
She folded piles and piles of laundry for me. And played with Miss Choobs. And bought lunch for us. She basically kept my mind off of the impending doctor's visit, which we both had no idea would be as bad as it was.

At 12:45, I kissed everyone goodbye and hobbled off to the doctor while my mom babysat. The abscess was still growing, but little tiny pinpricks of pus-pockets had formed, which I thought were a good thing for lancing.

I lay on the operating table, and as the doctor painfully tore the bandage off my leg, he said. "Uh oh. This is not looking good. We need to cut it - TODAY!" After that it was a scramble to sign paperwork, prep me and the abscess, and to gather surgical instruments.

I love my doctor, but he thinks aloud. These were his thoughts: "This is MRSA, the drug-resistant staph. We need to cut it. It hurt really bad. I try to numb it, but the numbing not usually work." I didn't like those thoughts.

Especially when they became a reality. The next few hours were torturous as I gripped the nurse in agonizing pain and yelled when he jabbed the abscess with numbing injections (twice). How blessed I was that it mostly worked. Since he had to cut through about twelve layers of tissue, the numbing medication didn't work completely, and it took my breath away when he made the incision. "Don't breathe like that. You gonna pass out on me!" he nearly shouted.

It was intense. It was agonizing. The abscess drained, I developed another fever, I began blacking out, and I went into shock with two hours of teeth-chattering and shakes. I had chest pains, and they put me on a nebulizer. They told me that I probably had to go to the hospital for IV antibiotics. They gave me another shot in the leg.

And then this handsome man left work early to come be with me (and to bring Emery over so that I could feed her):
I love this guy.

I didn't have to go the hospital. I got to go home. I had the fever all night, and it broke in the morning.

That was the Thursday after Valentine's Day. On Friday I went in for another torturous appointment where the doctor changed the gauze in my open wound. No half-numbing this time - just tugging at and stuffing gauze into a very sensitive site. One side was healing, and the other side was spreading. There was more talk of a possible hospital admittance and another shot in the leg. And then it was the weekend.

And to be honest, I was absolutely freaked out to ever go back to the doctor's office again in my life for more torture and pain. I felt like a psycho.

That's when Saturday we ended up at T-Man's house, and he and his P.A. dad and Dallas were examining my leg yet again. Yes, it was still spreading. One side was not looking better. I was still in a lot of pain. It looked like this (but had spread out of the lines about an inch):
And for the first time, I was laughing through it all because of the hilarious antics of an almost seven-year-old who was mesmerized by my "guts." (And no one was shouting, "This gonna hurt really bad!") His dad educated us, and I have to say that knowledge really is power. We took his advice, and by Monday morning's visit . . .

The doctor said I was "out of the woods."

It's been a week and a half since then, and we've had countless dinners, phone calls, visits, kind words spoken to us, and lots and lots of prayers. I can finally walk and sit and drive again.

And looking back at our celebration of Valentine's Day . . .
I realize two things: I had no idea what I was in for that week.

And I really love my husband.

Love is not flowers and candy and decorations. Love is taking care of each other when it really counts.

So for me this past Valentine's Day, I felt an overwhelming sense of love from my family and friends.

And I'm so glad that it's over.

Dallas' Accidental Half-Marathon

"Where is Dallas?" we wondered aloud. "He sure has been gone a long time . . . ."

About two hours after he left the house to go running, he came inside, drenched in sweat and smiling. Turns out he was a little bit lost. Lost in that the only roads he knew in Peachtree City were the bigger highways.

13.3 miles of them.