When Life Changes. Part 1

September 18, 2019
12 mins

It's not like you wake up one morning and think, "today is going to be the day my life changes forever."

Tonight Emery grabbed my neck and held on tight. Tonight I patted Emery's butt at her request while I sang, and she drifted off to sleep. Tonight I was thankful as I breathed in her smell, touched her soft skin, and enjoyed watching her sleep. Tonight was the complete opposite of the memories I have had all day.

Last year my best friend  Kaitlin and I were walking back into our 3rd ER visit with Emery.
Earlier during the day, I had the chance to talk to our home doctor, and after I told her that the swelling had moved a little further up her leg she wanted us to go in for more tests.

Same ER as the second visit.
Same ER doctor.
Same ER nurse.

I almost felt like I was crazy. Thank God for Kaitlin. She was my rock and fought with me during this entire event. I went in with a mission this time.


The doctor and nurse both remembered us. They also tried to tell me that they have already run all the tests they could...I kindly told them to start running them again.

The team was great and they ran blood, which I have to note still looked fine. Nothing was indicating an infection. She didn't have a temperature... NOTHING! I just couldn't understand how her knee was warm, and that it was starting to travel up her leg. Again, in my nonprofessional MOM opinion, it was some sort of infection. I told the story of my friend and her son, and at that point, he wanted to talk to his colleague since this was our 3rd ER visit.

They both ended coming into the room to take a look at Emery and informed us they started talking with two different children's hospitals to know what else they could do at this time to get answers. They did all the tests, but one PEDs orthopedic surgeon wanted to see her the next day at 7 am two hours away. At this point, it was super late, and we started talking about other tests that could be done to give us a better answer on what was going on. Driving on zero sleep didn't seem like a good idea.

and so the talk of pulling joint fluid began.

Our ER doc informed us this test would at least rule out infection, which would be the worst-case scenario. Once we said yes I can't even describe to you how fast they started moving, the information and paperwork they make you sign, and try to explain the drug they would put Emery on to do the procedure.

They left the room for a moment, and I didn't know if I was making the right decision for her. I couldn't call Ben because he was in India with NO SERVICE, and I swear I was about to have a full-on meltdown after they explained how the medication would work. It scared me so bad. I mean you can ask your best friend what you should do, make her call her husband to ask him, but it comes down to trusting and believing God had us here for a reason, and this seemed like the best next step. I also needed answers.

The doctor could tell I had no idea what I wanted to do, and thankfully Kaitlin asked him if he was a dad, and if he felt comfortable doing it on Emery. Pulling joint fluid is a pretty regular thing at the ER, or at least that's what they said to us. So they prepped the biggest needle I have ever seen, gave Emery the drug, and I think it is safe to say the next part was the HARDEST part of the entire month of events.

I stared into the eyes of my daughter and it didn't even look like her. It was like her whole eye went black and I could see into her soul, and she was there but not. I honestly feel like this is how a parent of an overdosed child feels. It's the worst thing in the entire world. My world stopped. I filled with the deepest fear I have ever felt, and at that moment the "what if I lose her" came over me. In my heart, I begged God to let me keep her. Out loud I was telling her how brave and strong she was. I soaked in every feature. I touched her face. I encouraged her. Deep down I wanted her to be done. I wanted her off this drug. You guys, we finally got joint fluid after the fourth try!!!!

And not long after Emery started to come down from her high. A nurse stays with her for I can't remember how long because they have to closely monitor her heart, and breathing. The up and down of emotions hit me during that procedure. I have never begged so hard to trade spots. I didn't want her to ever have to feel pain again. The doctor said the joint fluid looked like normal joint fluid, and we would know in about an hour if anything shows up. If anything, her knee would feel better draining some fluid out.

The waiting game begins.

Emery was so freaking hilarious once she was on the tail end of the drug. She was also exhausted because it was late. We were all exhausted from the rollercoaster ride of a week and night. A good half an hour later our doctor checked in and said the preliminary results were in, and they showed some signs of infection. We would have to wait for the full results to know 100% what was going on. So we waited, and what came next didn't shock me, and shocked me all at once.

The doc sat down and informed us after reviewing the tests and talking with a PED's orthopedic surgeon they wanted to do emergency surgery, and they were calling LIFE FLIGHT. He also apologized for not catching it, and in the 8 years he has been in the ER has never seen a situation like ours. A septic joint with no other signs. He said he would be praying for us.  At that moment I can't describe to you the feelings. I called my parents to let them know what was going on and I completely lost it for a whole minute, except you don't have time to lose it because now they have a million things they have to do to prep Emery to get ready for Life Flight. At that moment they have to ask you a bunch of questions if you want to ride with your child, and sign paperwork. You take your purse and nothing else because everything is calculated for weight in the helicopter.

The view was beautiful.

I just never expected it to be in this situation.
The city lights slowly disappeared as we headed to.... honestly, I had no idea where. I just watched the chest of my baby girl once the lights were gone. I had to see her breathing. Two of the flight guys were talking back and forth to each other, but you have no idea what is happening because they are on a completely different COM than you are. They did ask how I was doing and made some small talk for a moment, but I could barely make conversation. I sat there in pure exhaustion, and yet, complete peace. It was the craziest feeling ever.

3:14 am we arrived at the hospital.

We made our way into our room, met our nurses, and were informed the doctor was going to wait a few more hours before surgery. We needed to get her on the first round of antibiotics. We started the strongest antibiotics. Like this stuff is what they give people who have MRSA. They start treating septic joints with the bazooka of antibiotics because at this time they have no idea what type of infection they are dealing with.  I was going on the 24-hour mark of no sleep at this point and started dozing off when Emery woke up out of a dead sleep screaming.

Red Man's Syndrome.
Look it up. Or don't because it might make you want to rip off your skin.
There are two types of people in this world. The ones who don't get the syndrome and Emery. In a matter of minutes, Emery was covered in hives, itching like a crazy person, and her eyes were swollen shut. Thank goodness for Benadryl. By the time we got that under control, the nurse came back in for vital checks,  and blood draws for pre-surgery were started, it was almost time to head downstairs to meet our surgeon. In the little bit of time before we could go, I got a text.

HEY babe! Just made it back and got off the river a couple of hours ago...

The first time I had heard from my husband, Ben, in 14 days. It was the best feeling seeing his name on my screen, and the worst feeling. He had no idea what was going on, and how do you even begin to tell your spouse all the things when he is halfway around the world? You send a text back saying, "When will you have service to talk?" From what I got from his side of things.. he knew something was wrong.

I quickly explained the situation, and let him know we were headed into surgery. I didn't want to worry him, and that she would be fine. She is so strong.  It was the hardest text message I have had to send. We couldn't call because service in India was spotty, but we did get a video message to come through!! It was so nice being able to see his face, and him talking to Emery made everything feel so much better. Thank goodness for technology!!!!!

... and this is where we end for tonight. It is all my brain is allowing me to process and share. Emery just woke up from a dream and I had to go in to pat her butt. It is her favorite thing. I think I might steal her from her bed tonight and have her sleep in our bed. Lately, Parker has been climbing in bed with us in the wee hours of the morning. Not long ago I couldn't wait to get them out of my bed, and now I love the moments I get when they do. I know it won't be like this for long!!!


lacie jaye
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