Out of the Woods


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Nine days in, I think we’ve finally turned a corner {picture me knocking on the wood cabinet next to my desk}. Izzy has had a nasty virus {it’s going around} that rendered him unable to keep anything in his little tumbee {as we like to call his stomach}. He survived a brutal trip to the ER… I say brutal, because nurses had such a difficult time finding his teeny veins, it took multiple tries to get his I.V. in and to get a needle in for drawing blood. And oh, how painful it was for him. We all had to hold him down and watch him cry with the most heart-wrenching look on his face that seemed to say, “Mom, Dad! What are you letting them do to me? Why are you just standing there? And why are you helping?”

Oh, sweet boy. I’m so sorry.

The only comfort I could find in the situation was knowing this would help him. With sunken-in eyes and sluggish behavior, I knew we did the right thing. He had become dehydrated. His blood pressure and white blood cell count were low, as well. The good news was that this indicated only a virus was present, which would just have to run its course. After a long while of fluid replenishment, they sent us home with explicit instruction to focus on getting him to drink small amounts, but frequently, and not worry so much about getting him to eat, as that was what was causing his dehydration… because his tumbee just wasn’t settled enough to handle much and would eliminate the food instead. We sort of knew this, but watching him shrink to skin and bones and seeing his ribs and spine pop out so obviously had us nervously pushing as many morsels on him as we felt we could get away with.

Not that we had to push it, actually, because almost every day, he was famished… devouring anything we did give him. It got to the point where he would see a commercial on television {like the one for TGIFridays that shows plates of nachos} and pointing to it, would look at me and say, “Mama, can I have those? Is that sick food? Can I please have those, mama?”


Well, we got back from the hospital at 11pm a couple of nights ago and thought maybe that would be the end of it. We would give him lots of fluid and hold back on the solids for a day or two. We thought we’d turned the corner as of 24 hours later. But we thought wrong. He threw up almost exactly one day later… at 11 o’clock the next night, more than 24 hours since the last time he had thrown up. So yesterday, it was even more fluid and even less food. It’s so hard to trust doctors when your instincts tell you to feed him… it’s only natural to feed your children, right? Especially when, all day long, they’re saying “Mama, I’m hungry”… how could you tell me not to? I guess I forgot what it was like when I was that young and sick this way.

Anyway, here we are, more than 24 hours since the last time he threw up. If he does not throw up anymore at this point {which I think will be the case}, his bout with this stomach virus will have only been one week. And I will be one relieved mama.

I had written several posts back how I’m finding that, in the midst of my grieving, it feels like everything we go through or face is ten times bigger than what it would seem under normal circumstances. This illness has been no exception. Isaac was sick just like this {for six days} a year ago. But during that bout, I never once feared for him the way I have this time. This might seem silly to most… it’s not as though he was at death’s door.

Not that dehydration is any laughing matter, because I know it’s not… but I found myself feeling what was probably unnecessary fear and worry about his well-being, even for his life. Again, this might seem like an irrational fear. But I have to imagine that it might be common for parents who have lost a child to have irrational fear of losing another… at least at first.

I remember while watching the film Lincoln with Daniel Day-Lewis {during our pregnancy with Anysia} that I cried during the scene in which Lincoln curls up next to his sleeping son in front of the fireplace after another of his sons had died. I thought about how painful it must have been and how much more intense the Lincolns’ sense of protection must have grown for their other children as a result of losing one. Among all the scenes in such an excellent film, that was the one that resonated with me the most… my favorite scene, I think.

Even though we had not yet lost Anysia when we watched it, I still recognized in me an elevated sense of protection over Isaac. Perhaps this is the reason it’s more difficult than usual to watch him go through anything painful or trying.

Irrational fears aside, I was very worried about him.

That said, my fears and worry are dispelling as confidence that this is behind us keeps growing. I think we are coming out of the woods. And I am grateful for God’s protection on him, as well as the medical help we have available to us.

Even more thankful am I for my two troopers for boys.

First, there’s Mr. B., a gem of a husband to have at such a time as this. I remember, growing up, that my mom always used to jokingly tell her daughters, “If there is only one question you need to ask your prospective husband before saying yes to a proposal, make it this one…”

Do you clean up throw-up?

Being one of five children in a household where, often, all seven of us were sick throwing up {or at least all five kids}, I could understand why my mom would always admonish us this way.

Well, I don’t recall ever asking Mr. B. this question prior to his proposal. And it would be more than twelve years into our marriage that I would learn the answer to this question I never asked. But I am happy to say, the answer is YES! He is a dear man who is not bothered at all by the task of helping clean up such an unpleasant mess. Thank you, God. Just one of many reasons I find this man so dear. Thank you, Mr. B.

And then there’s little {and I mean little, especially now} Izzy, who’s been through the wringer, but still maintained {for the most part} the sweetest disposition… though, at times, more whiney than usual. He was especially precious at the hospital. I wish I had thought to bring my camera with me {but of course I didn’t}. I sat in a chair at the foot of his E.R. bed and delighted in his sweet, docile behavior there in such a strange, unfamiliar environment. He looked so tiny sitting there in that big bed, but adorable as could be in his snug-fitting jammies that showed just how skinny he’d become. He was gazing all around with such wonder in his eyes at all the machines and gadgets that filled the room. And after the nurse brought him the cutest-ever, soft-as-could-be, floppy stuffed dog, he snuggled it endearingly and melted my heart.

It was a scene that made for what would have been the sweetest photos, and it pained me to know my camera was at home, just inches from the door we exited from to leave for the hospital. I think I even looked right at it as we walked out, but Izzy was on my mind, and thinking to bring my camera was not.

Anyway, my boys have made my job as a mama quite easy, I must say. So I cherish them today, thankful they are in my life and thankful that they are the kind of boys they are. Certainly, I don’t deserve to have it so easy. Since I’m writing out my gratitude about them here today, I thought I’d use the opportunity to also post some treasured photos {I’ve been wanting to post anyway} that I took last November… right around the time that we watched the movie Lincoln, actually. If you are reading and you are one who received our holiday newsletter, you may recall seeing one of these photos. Izzy had crawled up into our bed for story-time as is usual. When I came in to join them, as I always do, I felt a desire to photograph them instead of reading with them. There was something about that moment that I knew I had to capture, and I’m so glad I did.

Story-time is one of our favorite parts of our day. I don’t know how much longer he’ll want us to read to him, and even if it’s for a while yet, he changes so much every day that I want to freeze what story-time looks like right now, which is this… These two are buddies. These two are my joy.

Here are the rest of the story-time pics…