Sorry I have not been very active on here this week. We did some spring cleaning and are preparing for a very special guest and event this weekend.
So while I don’t have any ‘day in the life of” writing to share today, here is a story from a couple of week’s ago. We are very spiritual people, although I wouldn’t say we are religious. Whenever the opportunity comes up to share the grace of God, I feel called to share it. Maybe someone reading it needs a reminder that there is a bigger picture and a master plan. Maybe someone needs to know that we are loved. We certainly felt all of those things as we reflected on the day. Most of all, we are just continually humbled by God’s grace and mercy…we know He loves us because we see His hand in our children’s lives over and over again.
It took me some time to process the day…sometimes it’s hard to let go of the “could haves” and “what ifs” and get to the unending praise. Here is how we found out that Otter is very reactive to scorpions, and why she will never get to walk barefoot on our patio again. Thank goodness we have some grass for her to enjoy.
Otter’s Scorpion Story
Sunday, March 2, 2014
Sunday morning: usually involves craziness as we get ready to go to church. In addition to the usual crazy, we were getting ready to host a class reunion for our Fall 2012 Class later that day. Daddy Bruss and Otter were outside, moving furniture, and getting ready to clean the coolers. A scorpion was under one of the cooler, and Otter unwittingly stepped on it when the cooler was moved.
Daddy Bruss came in calling my name. The fact that he was saying “Krystyna” over and over again instead of calling me Mommy tipped me off that something was wrong. I met them in the kitchen and we put her foot over the sink to rinse it off. We made a baking powder paste on her foot, and held her there with some ice. She wanted to nurse, so we did that, too.
We texted our amazing chiropractor to check in with him. He does this “thing” where he can check in with us remotely…he suggested a baking soda paste…checked off the “we did the right thing” box and thought we were going to be in the clear with this sting incident.
She calmed down – we calmed down. Ten minutes later, we got her off the counter and we went on with getting ready. Kids dressed, food packed, it was my turn to get in the shower…and Otter starts crying inconsolably. She said her “peepee” hurt – I thought maybe she was feeling a little numbness from the sting. Then along with crying she starts to spit…this was not looking like the after-effects of the other children’s scorpion stings.
We called poison control and found out that if she was spitting and her symptoms were intensifying, we should go straight the hospital emergency room. We loaded everyone up in the car, I quickly rinsed my face, and I hope I brushed my teeth!
As we were pulling out of our community, a caravan of bikers – hundreds of them, blocked us. They were not going to let us pass – they were exercising their right of way. I started banging on the windows, and Bruss rolled down his window to tell them we needed to pass – we were on the way to the E/R. They were blocking traffic for fully two miles. They took up one whole lane, and another lane was blocked by construction barriers – not a lot of room to maneuver when you are in a rush to get to the hospital.
Meanwhile, Otter is still screaming & spitting…cue the vomiting…. and I am beside myself. I am begging Bruss to honk the horn and roll down the windows so we can tell these people to move over. I don’t know how we got to the hospital in one piece – it was a lot of crazy driving.
Once we finally get past the bikers and the traffic blocks, the hospital E/R entrance we are familiar with is gone! Due to construction, everything is re-routed there, too. We finally get to the door. I jumped out with Otter and ran into the E/R.
I quickly tell the desk person that a scorpion stung our daughter, and that poison control sent us to the E/R. She takes one look at Otter and puts a call in to take us straight back – and straight back we go. Within a few minutes, we have a doctor there with three nurses and a respiratory therapist. He tells us the course of treatment, gets our consent, and starts the process.
Somewhere in here Bruss grabs my phone and calls his sister, Cindy, to see if she can come take care of our older children so they don’t have to be in the E/R with us. She is available, and comes over to watch the kiddos.
As part of the consent, I tell them I will only consent to them trying to put an IV in Otter if they will find their best person to do it. I tell them, “I know I sound like a crazy mother – I am telling you her veins are tricky. They look good, but they blow the minute you put pressure on them.” They give me their pat answer…and proceed to blow two veins in her foot that they thought “looked good”. I contain my, “I told you so!”
Now they really believe me and call up to the pediatric unit to have someone come down. The charge nurse arrives, and she blows one in the crook of her left arm that looked good. One of the other nurses who has been holding her arm points out a vein up by her shoulder that looks good and strong.
Up to this point, I had been singing her Twinkle Little Star in Spanish. I can tell the nurse is freaking out a little, and I want to pray but I don’t want to stop singing, so I start singing the Lord’s Prayer so Otter can hear my voice and I can still say a prayer.
The pediatric nurse is nervous about it, and the other nurses chime in and encourage her to try anyway. “A vein is a vein,” they say, and lo and behold, it goes in.
Praise God – we have a line in and they can start the medication, known as “anti-scorp”.
Doctor is holding her shoulders and stabilizing her head, one nurse is holding her left arm, Bruss has his hand on her chest, another nurse is holding her hips and knees, I am at her right side making eye contact and talking to her, and then to my left is the respiratory tech with oxygen and the “vacuum” to keep her from choking on her saliva and vomit. Three rounds of medication go in…the saliva production is starting to slow down. She is still screaming bloody murder and insisting that she is done and wants to go home.
The doctor assures us that all the symptoms we are seeing are the effects of the venom: screaming, thrashing, spitting, vomiting, eyes shuddering and unable to focus. He points out how easy it would be to believe in demon possession when you see all these symptoms exhibited at one time.
We have to keep holding her as we wait for the timer to tell us that it is time for the next round of medication…she doesn’t like the cold feeling and gets amped up again when the fourth dose is started. That runs it’s course and her eyes settle down a little and she isn’t thrashing so much. The vomiting has stopped, although she is still spitting a bit.
We still have to calm her as we wait for time for the fifth round. The timer is up again, and the fifth dose is administered. By the time the fifth round is done, her eyes are able to focus again, the saliva and spitting are under control, and she is still asking to go home now.
We were able to let her up after that fifth dose. We asked that they tape up the IV line because it was clearly bothering her. Good thing they did because the first thing she did once unwrapped her from the swaddle in the sheet and her arms were free: she went straight for the IV line. My “mama quick” reactions blocked her hand and I tucked it under my left arm as I cradled her. She was still agitated and unwilling to sit still. We walked a couple of laps around the nurse’s station. After a few minutes, she had settled down enough to nurse.
Thank God for nursing – once she was settled it was exactly what we both needed to connect and feed our tired girl.
Within 5-10 minutes she was sound asleep. I heard her breathing start to sound labored, so we asked the nurse to check her. She called the doctor and came to listen herself. We were assured that it was probably just the congestion in her sinuses from the fluid and the crying. Doc came in and confirmed that. We were kept for about an hour after the last dose for observation.
Finally sleeping peacefully after an eventful morning.
As we are waiting, I start to get texts from students. I wonder how they found out we were in the hospital…when one spills the beans…they saw a post on Instagram and wonder if she is okay.
Instagram?? I take a look at my account. While the kiddos were in the waiting room with my phone, Puma took a picture of she and Charger, and posted a plea for prayers for our family since Otter was in the hospital. I was touched to the point of tears – what a blessing that our eldest daughter’s first instinct in a situation like this was to post a prayer request!
Otter woke up, they took one more listen, signed off on us going home, and took out the IV. We left not a moment to soon. As we were leaving, another patient who was being administered CPR was waiting to be wheeled into the room we had vacated.
We went home, where Cindy helped get the kiddos settled, took a take-out order, and went off to Rubio’s with the older three to pick up lunch. Bruss and I got ready for class and our reunion.
I taught the early-bird class, we held the class reunion…and then it was time to regroup and reflect on the day as a family. Somewhere in the events of the day Puma shared with me that she had been so scared; so she pulled the boys into a corner at the hospital waiting room and led them in prayer for Otter and the doctors taking care of her. Again, from the mouth of babes: pray – call on His name for all things.
We went around the room and each of us shared:
Me: Thanked the kiddos for their amazing teamwork and behavior. Thanked Puma for remembering to pray, Night Owl and Charger for behaving, Daddy Bruss for getting us to the hospital safely.
Puma: Aunt Cindy not being in yoga class that morning so that she could come take care of them.
Night Owl: Thankful Otter was okay now, and for our family
Charger: Was thankful for the doctors that took care of Otter
Daddy: The scientists who developed the medicine and the doctors and patients who tested it. He also thanked the kiddos for being amazing today.
God’s hand in all this:
- Otter was stung during the day – we “have heard” that the best staff at the hospital is the day shift.
- She was stung by a mature scorpion that measures it’s dose of venom. Baby scorpions give you all they’ve got since they do not know how to regulate their sting. Given Otter’s severe reaction, I cannot even begin to imagine how much worse it could have been.
- Finding a usable vein with only two people trying, and finding it within minutes when the second person tried to run the IV.
- A doctor with a newborn daughter who was moved to personally provide care the whole time Otter was being administered the medicine, instead of leaving a nurse or PA to take his place.
- Cindy was not in yoga class as she usually is on Sunday mornings and she was available to come down and help.
- Puma, Night Owl and Charger were visited by a therapy dog in the waiting room. Her name was Lexee, a Red Setter…looked so much like the dogs my Nana Mil used to have…hi, Nana <3…a reminder from heaven that God is always with us.
It was a scary day. It was a day that worked God’s blessings and grace in so many ways. As I read over the story again as we brace ourselves for another full and wonderful weekend, I am reminded of the lesson Puma taught me…just pray and receive the grace.
P.S. Big props to the E/R crew at the Chandler Regional Hospital that morning. I love that we received care in a Catholic hospital. IMO it never hurts to have the Holy Family on your side when you are receiving medical care.