Our Life As We Know It

Our Life As We Know It

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Bye Bye Yellow, Hello Pink

     Weird title, right?  Well, it is what we hear from Faith these days.  She refers to the soft, bright, and NEW skin we see on most of her finger!  What this means?  Healing. 

     Besides the tip (the injured/cauterized/stitched part), her finger is coming back to the sweet little finger we know.  It turns out the allergic reaction that happened for days and days basically burnt her entire finger, and the hard, dead, scabbed-over skin is coming off and bright new skin shines through! 

    The Raleigh doctor is extremely pleased and expects a full recovery!  We see him one more time on Wednesday, and then I think we are done!  Yay!  We might need to do a little physical therapy with an occupational therapist, but God has worked a wonder in healing my sweet 2 year old.

   Here are some ways I've seen God work.  If you don't believe in God or aren't so sure about who this Jesus guy is, I would love to tell you more about Him!

     1.  When the accident happened, a panic followed by immediate calm came over me.  Faith stopped crying pretty quickly and was able to show the EMS guys and the doctors at the hospital her finger.

     2.  My weak stomach was able to maintain the many hours spent looking at Faith's finger- during all of the appointments and different people needing to look at it.  Really, I am in awe that I was able to do that- I couldn't have done it on my own.

    3.  Her bandage "accidentally" came off on the Sunday a week later to reveal the blistering and swollen finger- otherwise it would have been until THURSDAY before we saw another doctor.

    4.  When nothing was making a difference (now we know we kept putting on the bacitracin which was causing the reaction), we were able to get a same-day appointment in Raleigh for the second opinion- which gave us enough time to organize childcare for Timmy and arrive early at the appointment. 

   5.  The Raleigh doctor immediately knew what was happening and told us to wash her finger off (an answer to prayer that he could come to an immediate diagnosis)

   6.  The church where we currently belong has met many of our physical needs (provided meals, helped with childcare) and prayed for us regularly.  It is amazing to see God's people ban together to intercede on our daughter's behalf! 

   7.  Jeff and my time in the Word has been sweet, peaceful, full of much needed correction, reminding us that God is the ultimate healer, that He has a plan in ALL OF THIS, that entrusting Faith to His care brings sweet relief, and that our strength in times of hardship comes directly from him.  We were able to interact with doctors in a gracious and loving way (the ER doctors looked at both of us at one point and said that). 

      So, when all is said and done, I know that the Lord has a perfect plan in all of this- I don't know it in the entirety, but I do know it has pushed Jeff and I to trust Yahweh with our beautiful child.  I've heard that parenting is a sanctifying process (meaning it makes us more like Jesus- meaning holy) and we've seen a glimpse of that in these last few weeks. 

    The joy of the Lord is our strength.

 A special clover!  Faith's newest favorite activity is picking flowers, clovers, and leaves to bring into Sunday school, Bible study, or the house!  

 You think an injured finger could stop this girl?  I didn't think so either!  

What happens what I say "Say CHEESE!!"  Silly faces!

Saturday, April 13, 2013

The Raleigh Appointment

     We called an office in Raleigh on Thursday morning and they set us up with a 3:45 appointment that day!  It was an answer to prayers- by our family and many of you!  So thank you for that! 

     When the hand specialist looked at her hand, he grimaced and asked to tell us the WHOLE story of who and what and when- everyone who had dealt with her hand- because it looked really bad.  He quickly told us she was having an allergic reaction to SOMETHING topically- since the rest of her body didn't seem to be reacting (like hives or rash from medicine given orally).  He was confident but seemed frustrated.... 

    We told him everything we remembered and how we had been following the instructions to the tee!  (is that the right word? spelling?  my brain is a bowl of mush)  He told us to go to the sink in the hallway and wash her finger with soap really well- take off any and all ointment that we've been putting on.  He seemed genuinely frustrated with the doctors who couldn't tell that she was having an allergy to something.  He told us to change the bandage daily and wash with soap and water and not put ANYTHING on it.   

    So Jeff and I went to the sink and washed her whole finger- twice, just to make sure.  He told us he wanted to see us on Tuesday and to transfer all of her care over to him.   So, at 1:30 on Tuesday we will be back- probably just Faith and me (Lindsey).

   We were are thankful that someone finally could diagnose her with SOMETHING!  Her finger looks terrible still today, but in comparing pictures it is definitely shrinking in swelling.  Faith is happy most of the day and it doesn't seem to mind it too much.  Oh, the doctor also said she seems to have feeling- he gently squeezed it and she seemed to react.  So back to giving her Ibuprofen...

   Overall, we are happy.  Happy that we were challenged to seek a second opinion in a bigger city (thanks brother-in-law Mikey) and that we decided to make that appointment.

   I am starting to feel angry and frustrated that no one here seemed to know what was happening.  I keep thinking that if we hadn't seen him, we still would have been putting on the ointment she seems to be allergic to!  But we didn't know.  And I do trust that the Lord had His perfect hand in it.  Who knows?  Maybe this will help us know not to give Faith medicated ointment in the future in a situation that could have worse side effects?  I know the Lord works in ways that I don't always understand.  So, no matter what, we have grown spiritually. 

   Things I am learning in all of this: That God is the ultimate healer.  That God is sovereign over all of this.  That my quick tongue can really hurt those close to me and that I am glad Jeff is full of grace and understanding!  That peace only comes from turning this over to Christ...yes, moment by moment, with each new situation, with each emotion that rises to the surface, with each question that springs across my mind, with doubts about my decisions. 

   Keep praying.  Pray that this is the correct diagnosis and that her finger really is healing.  Pray for peace in our house, in my mind, in the depths of my mommy heart, in Faith's anxiety.  She talks often about doctors, hospitals, bandages, medicine, doctors some more, her finger, bandages again.... you get the picture.  I think she is trying to figure out what has happened to her these past two weeks, but isn't able to verbalize her feelings.  Pray that God would surround her with comfort and that even though she can't tell us how she feels, that he would comfort her in any anxiety and that Jeff and I would have special insight into her emotional and spiritual needs. 

   Thank you again for all you do!  We are amazed at the support we've received!  Special thanks to the Pahls and the Hazeltons for the meals this week!  So so yummy and such a ministry to us! 

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

The Good News and The Bad News

I didn’t want to ask THE question.  You know, the one that every time I even think about it my heart stops and my stomach drops.  The question that asks if my daughter will lose her finger. 

Dr. Zeri (the hand specialist) gave us good news and bad news.  I classified it them into the two categories.  You can do the same.  Here is what he said…

1. There looks to be plenty of blood flow all the way up her finger.
2. He has never seen a finger look like this before.
3. He doesn’t know why her finger is doing what it is doing
4. He doesn’t know if she can feel anything (suspicions are no)
5. He hadn’t considered amputation, but again, time will tell
6. He is pleasantly surprised about the difference in her  finger from Monday til today
7. There is nothing they can do now… either it will heal on its own, or it will not… and then the dreaded thing happens.  But I’m not going to go there just yet.

On the upside, Faith is happy, playing, so brave at the offices, and a joy to be around.  She was so happy when the nurse allowed her to pick a color of bandage.  

Jeff and I are struggling.  We’ve both cried today, and expressed how sorry we feel for our sweet innocent little girl.  We wish we could do something to help ease her anxiety and any fears that she is too young to express.   We are on edge, anxious, and fearful of the unknown.  (I know, none of those are characteristics of Christ-followers…)

One prayer of mine, a plea really, is that the loss of feeling in her finger is God’s way of answering my prayer to take her pain away… and that the feeling will return in time after the skin has healed.  I know God is the Great Physician, and He can do things like that.  Would you pray with us?  


Monday, April 8, 2013

A Special Visit

Faith loves playing outside.  We have a perfect-sized fenced in yard for a two year old.  After dinner yesterday, as Jeff was pulling her coat over her left hand, the bandage pulled off... and he saw her finger.  He immediately called me to look at it.

I've learned how valuable it is to keep a calm tone in my voice, so although my stomach dropped and adrenaline dumped into my system, my voice stayed calm since Faith was panicking.  "Jeff, please go get my phone and the blue folder with the Children's ER number in it."  Something was very wrong with her finger.

I was told by a nurse to call the on-call Orthopaedic Surgeon from the office we've been going to.  The doctor said the blisters filled with fluid (eww, sorry to gross you out) were a normal condition, but to come in tomorrow for the nurses to change her bandage properly.

Faith and I were waiting in the back waiting room when we happened to see Dr. Powell walk by.  He glanced at us, glanced away, glanced back and smiled and asked how we were doing.  I explained that she had the blisters and her finger didn't look right, and he said "Let me look at it- since you are here.  We'll change your appointment to a full-out visit rather than a nurse visit."

And good thing we did.  When he saw her finger, he excused himself and about 2 minutes later brought a colleague in for a second opinion.  Her finger was double/triple the size it should have been and they concurred that it was out of their area of expertise.  They called over to the plastic surgeon (who is also a hand specialist) and got us an appointment in a few hours.  They thought she might be having an allergic reaction to the bandage or dermabond or something, but she needed to be seen. 

So we went at 3pm, and he was great.  He drained her blisters (ew again) and cleaned the wound.  He rebandaged her finger (the best wrapper yet!) and gave me the supplies to change it every day.  I was glad about this, because, Faith is 2 and it gets dirty!  Even though we take excellent care of it, she is still two.

We have another appointment on Wednesday (two days) so hopefully the swelling will have gone down and she will FINALLY be on the road to recovery.   He doesn't know if it is an allergic reaction, but he is sure it isn't infected.  He said her finger should heal well and that people might never know a difference unless they compare her fingers side by side!  I am trying not to give into vanity, but I know kids get teased about anything, so I am fearful of elementary school meanness towards a finger that is misshapen. 

Faith at the Hand Specialist's office!
Pray for my little sweet girl.  Pray for Jeff and I to continue to talk about our feelings (things like this put strain on a marriage) so pray that we would express frustrations in a loving manner, be quick to forgive, be slow to anger, and would show an abundance of grace toward each other!  Thank you!
Oh, and I realized when I got home I had spent the whole day in jeans that had poop on the leg from a diaper change gone wrong this morning.  Sigh...

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

"Doctor All Done?"

    She had no idea where we were going this morning.  She was a carefree two year old... until we parked the car and walked into the building- the same building where, two days ago, began her second journey to the ER.  She had no good feelings associated with this office. 

   We saw a new hand specialist today, and he was great!  He blew up a glove and gave Faith this silly balloon.  She smiled.  She then proceeded to panic when he asked if he could look at her finger.  I have never seen her cling to me so desperately and tell me she wanted to go home.  So so sad for this Mommy.

    I can't even remember this doctor's name, but he let Faith help unwrap her hand- which she did while whimpering- but she still helped.  I guess two-year-olds like to feel in control too.  It was a great move- really helped her anxiety.  I was super thankful for him.

    So, he put a new bandage on, told me she was on the path to healing, and to come back in a week!  They will change the bandage then.  I can tell her finger will be shorter forever and probably won't look normal, but we are calling her finger special.  Because it is- a special finger!  Unique only to her!  So if you see her, ask her about her special finger. 

   I am so relieved.  I know this is NOT about me, but I can't help share my feelings.  :)  Those of you who know me would agree.  So, I was trembling in fear as we walked into the office- I just KNEW we would have to go to the ER again and put Faith through torture again.  I almost needed to take my inhaler because I could feel anxiety creeping up on me.  I have been trying to be brave for so many days.  But today, my fears were in vain- everything was good.  I praise God that Dr. Powell went ahead and stitched her up the other day.  Even if he doesn't believe in God (he shrugged me off when I told him I prayed for him before we first met), I know God was with him.  God does that.  I've seen and experienced that in many instances in my life. 

   So, thank you again for your love and support.  I will continue to update you on sweet Faith's journey of healing.  Thank you for all of the calls, texts, and Facebook messages.  We feel very very supported and encouraged.  We love you all! Below are some pictures from today! 

 Waiting for a new bandage- watching Curious George as a distraction!

Playing with the abiscus (is that the right word?)

Playing on a chair in the Orthopaedic Surgery office... 
looks like something I could fall off of, break my leg, and check myself in....  

 Ice cream as a treat for being so so so brave!!!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Yucky Medicine

       "Pink!" she cried.  "Pink, Mama!" Faith was telling me that she wanted to take the pink medicine (bubble gum flavored tylenol) instead of this yucky clear medicine (an intense antibiotic).   As a Mama, I felt two strong emotions at the same time- sheer determination mixed with empathy and weakness.  I KNOW Faith needs to take her yucky antibiotics to fight off any infection.  I was sad that it tasted so bad and I was forcing her to swallow it.  It is hard to swallow bitter medicine- I have a hard time too.  Two year olds just don't have the mental capacity to say "the temporary bitterness I taste is worth not getting an infection".  So, I hold her down, squirt the medicine in, and praise her when she swallows it. It is all I know to do.  Oh, and I give her three jelly beans to take the taste out of her mouth.

     My mom came in late last night- I called her crying yesterday as we left the Orthopaedic office to head to the ER.  I didn't know what they were going to do, but I knew it would be hours long.  Because I have two children, my heart is torn.  I know I need to be with Faith, but I felt bad for leaving Timmy with multiple people.  I am sure sure sure that he didn't mind and that he probably thought it was so fun.  Still, I would rather keep consistency in his life- so I called my mom.  No shame in needing your mommy at 29 years of age, right?   She has this calming presence and I know everything will be okay when she is around.

      ...FOR EXAMPLE... I noticed a bit of blood on Faith's finger around mid-morning.  My heart stopped and I was about to call the doctor to see if we needed to come back.  I was whispering "please no, please no, please no" all the while I was racking my brain to remember where I put my phone.  My mom looked at it and said simply "It looks like dark blood- it isn't pouring out like it was... she probably bumped it.  Let's just wait and see if it gets worse."  The whole concept of "wait and see" didn't register as an option.  I was ready to pack up and go.  Good thing Mom was here.  Turned out it was a good thing to wait.  Nothing has changed on her bandage, so Mom was wise. 

    Will you pray specifically that Faith will rest today?  Pray that she doesn't bump her hand.  Pray that she stays calm.  Pray that she gets a little used to taking the yucky medicine.  Pray that it doesn't upset her tummy too much.  Thank you!! 

   THANK YOU FOR ALL THE CALLS, TEXTS, AND HELP!  I am overwhelmed right now, but will respond when I can! 

Monday, April 1, 2013

Back to the ER


     Being the rule-follower that I am, I called the plastic surgeon at 8:01am.  I was told that because this group was not on call on Saturday, they wouldn't/couldn't see her.   Weird, right?  So they gave me a number of an orthopaedic surgeon practice.  I called the Children's ER just to confirm this would be the right thing to do, and they said yes. 

     Well, the computer system was down when the doctors and nurses came to work this morning, so they weren't seeing new patients....  ...  ...  what is a mom supposed to do?  Call the ER again.  Email my pediatrician, Dr. Morgan, who was away on a trip.  Email the two doctors from my church.  Ask people to start praying. 

     A few minutes after sending the emails, Dr. Morgan writes us that she called on our behalf and got us in to the Orthopaedic office.  Yay!  I was so so thankful.  We arrive around 1:30 and they get us a 2 o'clock appointment!  Things were looking up!

     And then... and then... as they removed the bandages to look at her finger, blood started pouring out again.  The doctor quickly called the ER to tell them we were on our way.  It was too much for them to handle at the office. 

    You know, one good thing about the many many hours that Residents clock... there is continuity in the ER.  So, we got to see Dr. Martin again today and that made Faith feel much better- to see a familiar face. It was a big deal to this Mama, I will tell you that!   He was exhausted from clocking so many hours, but I can see God's goodness in it!  (I know, I am selfish and ego-centric) 

    The hand specialist on call came in (he looked like a line-backer for real), was very good at explaining what he was doing while he was doing it, and made a call to go ahead and sew her finger shut.  I don't really know why they didn't do this from the beginning- I can only guess that they were trying to intervene in small stages.  Kinda like labor.  :)

   There were times Saturday and today that I wanted to yell- yell in frustration, yell in anger, yell in defeat.  I had a big cry on Saturday night, which was cleansing (women might understand that- haha).   I've felt burdened with guilt, sad with regret, and disbelief that so much happened in an instance.  I've hurt for my daughter, asked God to give me the pain and take it from her.  I've disciplined Faith when she was being naughty and not listening in the ER room.  I've given her chocolate, jelly beans, juice, crackers, ice... basically anything she asked for. 

    So, all that to say, it was a whirlwind of a day.  She has good pain medicine, antibiotics (because a of lot people have touched the wound over the past few days), and an appointment for Wednesday back at the Orthopaedic office. 

   Continue to pray for us!  We need it!  Pray that the stitches would stop the bleeding, that the pain would be minimal, the healing fast, and the abundance of grace as we interact with multiple medical groups!  Pray that this works, because if it doesn't, we will have to do full out surgery.  Pray that the Lord raises the finances to cover this- we have excellent insurance, so we are thankful for that.