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When your heart lives outside of your body

22 May

20130522-111925.jpg{ My sweet boy }

It was 5 am on Sunday morning that Linden woke me up crying in his room. I found him shivering but he was burning up. He had a fever of 101.2 axillary. The rule of thumb is to add .5-1 degree to an armpit temperature so he was about 102. I applied some aloe vera gel (which is an antipyretic) to his body and used cool cloths to cool him down. He nursed and fell back asleep and his fever had cooled down. We don’t take fevers too seriously in our house because we know it is the bodies way of fighting an illness. I usually just try to lower it a bit and make him comfortable. When he woke for the day at 8:30 his temperature was 100.6 which is maybe 101. It was a good sign that it was decreasing. I gave him a bath and then we went downstairs and ate breakfast. He devoured his morning banana just like he does everyday. I could tell he didn’t feel very well, he had a little cough and a little clear snotty nose. We mostly snuggled reading books and watching Curious George. I even soaked some of his socks in apple cider vinegar and put those on his feet. Apple cider vinegar on the feet can help draw a fever down from the head. It worked well because just to the touch his skin was all over more heat balanced. He even got up and played in the living room for awhile.

At lunch time he barely ate a thing which is normal if you are sick, I suppose.  It is not like our Linden to NOT eat though. This kid is a garbage disposal when it comes to food. I took him upstairs to change him and noticed he had some diarrhea and it caused his tush to be a little bit red and blotchy. Steven had been outside all morning mowing the lawn and weed whacking so I though it would be a nice time to allow Linden to lay outside for some naked air time. I got a blanket and brought it out back. Linden was just wearing a t-shirt and was enjoying the partly cloudy day and the fresh air. He was being goofy and playful, felt cooler to the touch. He seemed much better!  Steven was just about finished picking up from his yard work when I decided to rub some coconut oil on Linden’s tush. I laid him down on the blanket and applied the oil and when I finished he started to sit up. Then he fell back down.

I thought he must have just lost his momentum, so I tried to grab his hands to help him up and his face changed. His eyes started rolling back into his head. His teeth were chattering. His body was limp and jerking all over the place. My heart dropped as I realized he was having a seizure. I knew in the back of my mind it was most likely a febrile seizure. I had one as a toddler and grew up with stories from my mother about that terrifying day. As I said above, we don’t take fevers all that seriously. The same is true with febrile seizures, I know they are just a way for the body to “reboot” and cool down. The difference is understanding those things on a logical, rational level and experiencing them first hand as your child is convulsing on the ground beneath you and utterly unresponsive.

I screamed to Steven, “call 911!” As I actually dialed it and handed him the phone. All I could do was watch him jerking around and cry. I cried out to the Lord for help, I cried to Linden to wake up, and I just plain cried! I looked around yelling, “where are they?!” It seemed like an eternity, but actually only took 2 minutes for the ambulance to be at our house and the EMT’s to be in our back yard. We actually live 7 blocks from the nearest E.R. I can see the hospital if I stand on the sidewalk in front of our home.

When the EMT’s arrived, I was actually upset that they weren’t doing more! I know they were doing their job and assessing the situation. But I was in full irrational Mama bear mode. I just wanted them to “fix” everything. One man took me aside to answer questions while the other checked Linden’s heart rate. They had me carry Linden to the ambulance and hold him while sitting on the stretcher to the E.R. They wheeled us into our room where we switched beds.

Steven followed behind in his car and met us in our room a few minutes later. When Steven got there I realized I was still cooking rice for Linden on the stove! He had to run back home and turn off the stove. The E.R. nurses took Linden’s temperature rectally when we arrived and it was 104.6! His fever had just skyrocketed out of nowhere! The beginning of the E.R. visit is such a blur but eventually Linden was weighed and given a dose of Tylenol. They pricked his foot twice (thank you nurse in training) to test his blood sugar and hooked him up to the heart monitor. All of this time he was still totally spaced out. He was awake but confused, angry, fussy and wouldn’t make direct eye contact. It is so sad to say your son’s name and not have him look at you! His eyes just glazed over and pointed down and off to the side. He got very angry when anyone tried to make him lie down. He just sat bolt up right stubbornly for a good hour before he started to doze off from the Tylenol.

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{ Here he is sitting up, fussy and dazed 😦  }

The rest of the time was a crazy hubbub of IV’s, blood work, urine bags, chest x-rays, and waiting, waiting, waiting.  The waiting was terrible. We arrived in the E.R. around 2:15 and were released around 10:30 in the evening. The last three hours were the hardest of the waiting game because by then Linden had turned the corner and was himself again. He had doses of Motrin and Tylenol along with fluid IV’s which did their job. Toddler’s are not easy to keep still in a hospital bed hooked up to wires and tubes. He kept saying, “done!?”  Around 9PM the nurse gave him an IV dose of antibiotics which took 30 minutes to pass into his system. When the Dr. returned, he told us he was sorry for the extra delay but that the urine sample he was waiting for had apparently been lost for a bit and when they found it later, it had been sent to the other hospital lab! If that hadn’t happened we could have left probably 3 hours sooner.

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{ Here he is more himself and using the remote as a phone. “Hehyo!” }

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{ Trying to entertain him and prevent him from pulling out his IV }

We stopped by the drug store on the way home to pick up some infant Motrin, which they recommended because it is longer acting. He had a a normal temperature but that was probably due to the meds so we did give him a dose before bed. In the morning his fever was gone. We had a follow up appointment with his pediatrician early that day where she went over the test results. Everything had come back normal. His white blood cell count was normal but the breakdown of his cells were very high in neutrophil cells which fight bacteria.  This confirmed that it definitely wasn’t a viral fever but looked as though his body was fighting off some sort of bacterial infection. The problem is, we still don’t know the cause. None of his tests have revealed an infection. We are still awaiting the results of one culture but that culture was to test for chicken pox which is viral anyway.

Linden is fine and dandy now. No more fever, still a little cough but 100% back to his crazy rambunctious self. I am not, however, back to my normal self. As a self proclaimed Type (B) Mama, I am generally laid back in my parenting approach. I don’t freak out about little things like my son playing in the dirt and eating food he dropped on the floor. We have a relatively casual “baby proof” home. I don’t use Purell or Clorox wipes around our house. I welcome the chance to build up my son’s immune system by not living in a super chemically sterile environment. I take fevers calmly and naturally. We don’t use meds unless it is a last resort. Generally speaking, I don’t freak out about “spilled milk” issues and use them to teach Linden discipline and independence. But these past few days, I have been super paranoid about all of these little things. If Linden stops for a minute or makes a weird movement, my heart is leaping out of my chest in worry. Sleeping through the night is no longer a joy, it ignites panic as I watch him on the monitor to ensure he is moving and not unconscious or having a seizure in his sleep while I am oblivious. I have become a helicopter mama these past few days.

On Saturday, the day before his seizure, I was JUST telling Steven how somedays being a mom is like watching your heart walk around outside of your body. So many things run through my mind that never would have before. A silly example I used was talking about how I had put a tin can of coconut milk into the recycle bin the other day. I had used the can opener and the jagged lid was really sharp and the bin was pretty full so the can kind of protruded towards the top of the bin. I placed it in, lid up and walked away. As I was going about my business, I had this vision of Linden opening the lid to the bin, which he has done before. He cut his hand on the can in my hypothetical vision and so I had to actually walk back to the bin, move the jagged can upside down and pushed it to the bottom back. Those little things that make you rethink, or redo what you would normally do “just incase” is such a new thing of parenthood. Like not leaving your coffee cup on the coffee table where the kids can spill it.

All of that to say, I have been recounting my steps during the beginning phase of Linden’s fever. Questioning my choices and second guessing my decisions. Our pediatrician told us we did everything right and that there are usually two types of fever kids. One that seizes and one that breaks. She said that half of kids will get to a high fever and it breaks on it’s own while kids prone to febrile seizing will seize. Not to say that it will happen again, plenty of kids seize once and never again but the stats suggest that once you have seized from a fever, you are more likely to again. Because I know he has seized now, and that I had also seized as a toddler, I think I will be more conservative with fevers in the future for Linden. Not that febrile seizures are a bad thing in themselves, but who wants to go through that AGAIN? Not me! It was a humbling day for sure.

To close I do need to express my thanks. I am so completely thankful for: A) being present while it occurred, B) living so insanely close to a hospital, C) God’s providence, and D) for EVERY. SINGLE. PRAYER! I remarked to Steven later how blessed we are and how grateful I am for everyone of our friends, family members, and neighbors who lifted us up in their prayers. We received so many messages and offers of food, support, and prayer. You do not even know how comforting you all were to me on a day when I was so distraught. It was such a beautiful picture of the body of Christ.

Type B Mama Confessions: Failure

18 Mar

Do you ever have one of those days? I had one earlier this week. It was a pretty normal day: messes, cooking, cleaning, wrangling kiddos. My energy had faded and I was exhausted. Steven came home and had all of this motivation and pep which was awesome (and kind of annoying at the same time). He decided to go upstairs to Linden’s room and organize his big bookcase. I followed him upstairs and while nursing Linden, watched as Steven happily rearranged and organized the shelves. He was so proud and excited to be doing something productive. I watched and slowly  this anger crept over me. I have been wanting to organize that shelf for weeks. I tried to brush that feeling away. Was I jealous? Angry? Frustrated? I couldn’t stand to just sit there  so I walked out of the room totally upset and went to start dinner. I made it half way through chopping tomatoes when I lost it and went to sit outside on the back-porch steps. Tears were gushing down my face and I was just sobbing.

It was raining and gray outside and the sun had just set. My raised bed garden stared back at me with all of it’s dead plants and winter weeds. I looked down at my self wearing yoga pants and a hoodie, still unshowered and hair a big mess. All of the little things just added up and were pelting me like stones. That voice was on repeat in my head saying, “you are such a failure!” I have heard that voice many times before. That same voice that says, “You are not worthy! You will never be good enough.” I conversed with myself about what I was really feeling. I tried to figure it out. How could I be ANGRY with Steven for doing something helpful? Most wives would love a man that wants to help. I have felt that way before; a mixture of guilt and thankfulness. I am so thankful for the times he goes above and beyond to help me when he sees that I need it. But I also feel guilty, as if I am not doing enough and am failing so he needs to step in. Ridiculous, right?!

So, I sifted through more of those thoughts, trying to pinpoint what I was really feeling. I find that anger is usually just a mask for other things in my heart. The voice said it once more, “you are a failure!” I couldn’t take it anymore and I ran to my raised bed full of dead plants I had neglected to pull. I was supposed to have cleaned them out after the harvest and instead just let them wilt and rot all winter long. I say every day, “when it is nice and I get a chance I will go out there and clean it out.”  And there it was just mocking me in my moment of frustration. One more thing on my list of To Do’s. One more thing I don’t have time for, but desperately WANT/NEED to do.

In the evening rain with tears on my face, I pulled those darn weeds.

Steven came looking for me. He had no clue I was upset. I just ignored him and coldly responded that I needed a moment. When I came inside he prodded and the tears began again and I melted. “I feel like a failure! All of the things I want to do pile up and all of the things I ought to do are difficult enough to accomplish!” I told him how I felt as if I cannot measure up to the standard I believe I should be holding and that some times when he helps me, it feels like he is saying that I wasn’t doing a good enough job. Even though I know he isn’t saying that at all. In fact he felt terrible, which was not my intention, and he expressed how grateful he is for everything I do and never judges me for those things I leave undone.  I reassured him that I love when he takes initiative and does little things that make life easier. It wasn’t him. It was me.

Somedays, it is all I can do to wash a sink full of dishes and keep our son from dying! Some days I feel like Super Woman.  I know I am not alone in that! I know we all feel that life is running away from us and the 24 hours we are blessed with is not enough. And somedays those LIES that are whispered into our thoughts, that we are failures and not good enough turn into screams and we believe them.

I learned a long time ago that those messages are not true. I learned to sift my thoughts and test them and compare them to what is true and who God says that I am. I know those negative thoughts are meant to discourage me from rejoicing in my purpose and calling in this role of wife and mother. But we all have those days when we forget the truth. We try to carry the weight of the world on our own shoulders instead of leaning on Jesus.

Matthew 11 “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

Ephesians tells us the truth of who we are! We are blessed with every spiritual blessing, we are chosen, predestined as sons and daughters of the King! We are redeemed, forgiven and sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise. Those life giving words are so contrary to the thoughts that sometimes prevail.

So I guess that is my confession this week… sometimes I forget the truth and listen to the lies and have complete break downs when it all just feels like too much. Do you ever feel like a failure? What verses serve as sweet reminders to you? 🙂

Type B Mama Confessions: Partiality

5 Mar

This post has nothing to do with being Type B. It has to do with being a mama and a Christian one at that.

Saturday mornings are my favorite. It is the only day not tainted by “tomorrow”! The weekdays are all full of their own issues. Sunday always has obligations and is darkened by the evil Monday. Saturday, however, is perfectly untouched by anything. I have my husband home and apart from various chores or events planned, it is a day of freedom.

This last Saturday my boys and I enjoyed this freedom. We cuddled in bed as a family, had a glorious breakfast of spinach and cheese omelets and roasted red potatoes, and decided to go for a walk. It was the first Saturday morning in awhile that was actually sunny. Freshly brewed french press coffee in hand, we embarked on our family stroll.

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Our home is half way between two different neighborhood parks. One is north and one is south. This day we decided to head to the park south of our home. We live in a very interesting neighborhood… We are one block east and 2 blocks south of where the “nice” neighborhood starts. In our town the neighborhoods are designated with cute little signs and you can instantly tell when you cross into the north side how much cleaner and nicer it is. We are right on the cusp. Our street has it’s share of nicer homes and yards but a few sketchy homes sprinkled around. Despite living on the  cusp, I love our home and neighborhood. It is a more historic area full of older homes, picket fences and tree lined streets.

Anyway, we headed through the neighborhood to the south park. This park has a big field of huge oak trees scattered around, a gazebo, tennis courts, swings, and the usual play structure with slides and monkey bars. Just looking at it, it seems like a great park! The problem I keep encountering is the people at this park.

On one occasion a big group of high school kids, who were obviously skipping school, were sitting on the benches next to the playground. The smoking and loud vulgar speech became so annoying to me, I repeatedly asked them to please watch their language next to my baby. On a different park trip, I witnessed a drug deal between two teen boys happen 3 feet from where I stood pushing Linden on the swings.

This last Saturday, there were two older men who had open suitcases with clothes and junk strewn about. They were smoking and by their slurred speech sounded drunk. They had a female friend with them. She was sitting on the top of the slides smoking as well. These men appeared to be homeless or transient. Again the language turned unsavory and I felt like my body was on fire from frustration. I ignored it and tried to allow for a fun time at the park. Linden could care less about anyone else at this stage and just ran around in pure joy.

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We chose to ignore what was going on and had a fun time. Inside though, a battle was ensuing. My feelings of frustration, entitlement and self righteous anger battled against God’s word that was on repeat in my mind:

James 2 “My brethren, do not hold the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with partiality. For if there should come into your assembly a man with gold rings, in fine apparel, and there should also come in a poor man in filthy clothes, and you pay attention to the one wearing the fine clothes and say to him, “You sit here in a good place,” and say to the poor man, “You stand there,” or, “Sit here at my footstool,” have you not shown partiality among yourselves, and become judges with evil thoughts?

Listen, my beloved brethren: Has God not chosen the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him? But you have dishonored the poor man. Do not the rich oppress you and drag you into the courts? Do they not blaspheme that noble name by which you are called?

If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture,“You shall love your neighbor as yourself,”[a] you do well;but if you show partiality, you commit sin, and are convicted by the law as transgressors. 10 For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all. 11 For He who said, “Do not commit adultery,”[b] also said, “Do not murder.”[c] Now if you do not commit adultery, but you do murder, you have become a transgressor of the law. 12 So speak and so do as those who will be judged by the law of liberty. 13 For judgment is without mercy to the one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment.”

My spirit battled with my flesh this Saturday. I wanted so much to just have a nice time at the park. To not be reminded of suffering, sin, addiction, mental illness and whatever else is conjured up when in the presence of those “lesser” members of society. I wanted perfection. I wanted to go to the park and not have to worry about what these people might say or do in the presence of my baby boy!

Yesterday, I took the kids to play at the north park. It’s not as big of a park and only has a small play structure. It is cleaner though and the people are more “normal” and courteous. There were even some teen boys climbing on the structure and one spoke to the other and said, “hey don’t jump off the tower. I don’t want those little kids to think it’s safe to do that.” The contrast was astonishing! A mere 20 or so blocks from each other and such a difference.

We had a blast at the north park and yet again I was struck with that feeling of grief in my spirit. I have experienced homelessness in my own life. I have been exposed to mental illness, addiction, and poverty. I know God’s grace is available to everyone who wants it and as a person who has been transformed by that grace, I know I am called to share that. And what a perfect place to do so and with the ones who may need Him the most! Fear holds me back though. Wanting to have a safe park to play with my child and not wanting to be afraid of unstable people isn’t a bad thing, I know this. But it still feels like partiality to me. Why is it that 2o blocks can have such a difference in wealth, common courtesy, appearance, cleanliness and character? I know none of that has a bearing on one’s worthiness to Christ! But I struggle with how to handle myself in those situations.

My confession this week is that I sinned by judging those people. I assumed the worst and felt justified in my anger. I wanted them to leave and to stop distorting my plans and hopes of a picture perfect day. I chose not to show them love. I even chose to flee and go elsewhere just to avoid the discomfort. My heart was hard toward them and I wonder if they could see the ire and disgust on my face. I could have offered so much more to them; a nod, a smile, a kind word. I could have offered them Jesus but I chose not to.

How do you handle these types of situations?

How do you reconcile those things we are called to do with the sometimes harsh reality?

 

 

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