Day 18: A 24 Pass

24 hours ago my small suitcase was packed and ready by the door. It had been an intense morning that blurred with a sleepless night. Today I am sitting on my bed again, excited to share good news and some silver linings I’ve found during a stormy week.

On Thursday night at around midnight William broke into a fever. Just when things seemed easier, a storm came on the horizon.
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This meant that the drug that causes extreme reactions would be back and the night would be restless. We had scattered breaks of sleep over the next four hours. At 4:00am I walked the dim halls and got a drink of water to take a break from the crying. Four other doors were cracked. Peeking in, I could see exhausted mothers comforting crying children. I was thankful I let the room; I realized others were in the storm too.

Bright and early on Friday the action started. So many people were in our room from 5:00 am until 9:00 am that even my shower was interrupted half-way through. One poor nurse was shocked and slightly embarrassed at the sight of me in a towel.
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She soon regained her composure and informed me that our day was about to get busy.

William was squeezed into the CT and MRI schedule but it required no food. (Ultimately until 4:00pm.) We were wheeled down by a lovely man with a positive outlook and got ready for William’s close-up.
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Several men in the halls said, ‘It’s Superman!” My exhausted hero loved it.
The CT scan meant that William had to be strapped to the ‘papoose’ and tied down. I had to hold him while he tearfully looked at me and cried, “Mom! No!” My emotional hard-shell cracked a bit under the exhaustion.
The staff were quick, loving and effective. Results were in quickly and no infection was located. Soon afterward the recreational therapists came in for some playtime. Will was thrilled to get out of the crib and to play with someone other than me!
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At noon the cavalry arrived in the form of my mother in law. After a quick hello and a briefing from the doctors, she settled in for a 24 hour shift and I bolted out the door, leaving a raging storm behind me. For 24 hours, I could go HOME.

As I drove home I wondered what awaited me. While I am fighting with William, my Hero is not only working but trying to maintain a household and raise a three year old that has been through his share of challenges. So often when one child is in crisis, the situation for the other children becomes strained. MANY parents I know feel guilty about this right alongside me. The siblings can really struggle, which we’ve seen firsthand. Amazing friends have stepped in to pick up Firstborn from school and have adopted him into their families for a few hours each week. With different people around, relatives in and out of the house, a totally inconsistent routine, a brother missing and taxed parents, I had to idea what this season would bring. Usually he becomes very introverted, refuses to speak and lashes out. He had made incredible progress in the two months prior to the diagnosis. Mothers know the feeling of wanting to shelter their children from such things. The best we can do is pray and wrap our arms around our beloved babies.

I was desperate to sleep but two handsome men waited for me at home. I got back just in time to pick up my little cowboy from school. This is when the clouds broke and the silver linings started to show.
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My firstborn has a great smile, but when he is surprised to see me his smile is STUNNING.
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Over the next 4 hours I learned that my introvert who often refuses to speak is now speaking clearly and in sentences. We played, went on a family walk and braved the fall chill at the park.
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Rather than lash out and totally regress as in the past, I see bright silver linings. He has excellent reports at school, has new skills emerging and is overcoming some obstacles. My baby gave me cuddles and hugs along with a healthy dose of, “Dad is MUCH cooler.”

At home there were even more of silver linings. I had uninterrupted showers (and dried my hair, Ladies!) I saw a fridge full of great meals provided by people who love us, and y’all can really rustle up some grub! I was able to put my so to bed for the third time in three weeks. I didn’t have to worry about dishes, laundry or messes… I simply enjoyed time with the men I love. I had a night of sleep and true REST. I heard my Hero’s voice reading the Word of God to me and praying over us. We reminded each other of God’s promises for us and encouraged each other.

As we packed up and drove the increasingly familiar road between our home and the UNC timeshare, I really noticed the beautiful fall leaves. It’s gorgeous! When we came up to the hospital today it was as a family. The journey was restful.
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When we pulled up to the hospital, he exclaimed, “There Wiyam!” For a moment the whole family was in our little hospital room and simply happy to feel the presence of the ones we love. Hunkering down during a storm with loved ones IS a silver lining.

Now in this familiar room I find that William is feeling better, has rested and is smiling again.
The silver linings can’t come without storms.
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It has been good to enjoy a 24 hour storm shelter. Now it is back to shining in the storm.
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