It was one of those experiences that seem to define you as a parent. One of those long, perspiration and prayer filled moments that other seasoned parents watch you go through and smile, saying something like “ahh, NOW you know what parenting involves.”. One that you would rather fast-forward through, but at the same time can’t help but realize God wants to use this to help you grow.
I was knee-deep in a youth group graduation party, when our Childrens’ Pastor came downstairs. “Your wife is taking your daughter to the ER, and you need to go. I don’t know what’s wrong.” It was a blur from there until arriving at the ER before they even got there. Waiting to see what could be wrong. Finally they pulled up, and Sarah handed me Ruby. A faint smile as she recognized me, and no blood. But it was around 7pm, and this one year old that usually bounced off the walls was laying heavily across my arms.
She continued to lay, on the edge of consciousness, as Doctors examined her. Poking and prodding, listening and asking questions, she disregarded them as if a gentle breeze. The list of tests was seemingly endless. Urine samples (who knew a little girl could pee on the nurse that far away?), cotton swabs, blood samples, CT Scan, Spinal Tap, and an EEG. The first tears rolled as they began the IV. Her bottom lip pouted out as if to catch every tear that traced her cheeks. In the midst of her cries, she looked up at me as if to ask “Why are you letting them do this?” As drops of blood stained the sheet beneath her, I asked myself the same thing. Her temperature had spiked to near 103 since arriving. I kissed her sweat-covered forehead with all the love I could convey, whispering it would be alright.
As every test came back healthy, we were glad she was fine in that regard, but confusion continued to mount. What was this?
Over the next couple days, she returned to us. Her temperature stayed down for longer periods. She grew restless, wanting to be held at first, and then wanting to walk a bit. We were stored neatly in a closet used as a room for infants in the pediatric hall. It was no small miracle that the tube emerging from her arm held to the tape that seemed just as painful as the needle itself. My wife volunteered (read “required”) herself to stay with Ruby each night, sacrificing comfort to provide loving presence. Time passed with prayers, walks down a short hallway, and visits with love. It’s hard to imagine someone enduring this in the midst of tornado damage, as some have done recently in other areas. We remain thankful for all we have.
About 3 days later, they’d tested everything possible. Still no idea. They determined it had been a virus of some sort, and that she had sufficiently fought it off. We could go home. A quick lunch, and then we laid all 3 girls down for the first “family nap time” in quite a while.
Waking slowly, we noticed our 2nd born had grown a fever during her nap. At least this time, we could skip the hospital involvement…