Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Vivian's Summer Story.

I apologize that I have been neglectful of my blog since my wild summer.

I feel like I have been suffering from some sort of post-traumatic stress disorder: I cannot hold a thought or complete a task; I have been unable to concentrate well enough to read (until I picked up The Hunger Games for my Book Club and read it in a day last week!); I just generally don't feel like I'm accomplishing much.

When I reflect on Vivian's stay in the ICU, much of it is a blur. Every now and then I will remember something thoughtful that someone did for us while Vivian was in the hospital, and I fear that I never thanked that person properly. (I apologize if that was you! Please know that we appreciated, indeed thrived on, each and every email, note, card, meal, gift and prayer.)

Now that we're on the other side of the whole ordeal and Vivian has miraculously returned to her old self (Praise Jesus!), sometimes I find myself thinking that perhaps I exaggerated how bad things were. I've only recently been able to revisit my posts from July, and then the worry and fear come flooding back as I read my accounts of those dark days and I remember, "Oh, yes, we thought our Vivian might be severely brain damaged and we wondered if we'd ever be able to bring her home again." {sigh}

I believe that I am emerging from my haze. I hope to be cooking, entertaining, having fun adventures and blogging about them soon!

In the meantime I thought I'd share this little photo journal that I made and sent to the wonderful staff who cared for Vivian in the PICU. When we visited there after Vivian's minor surgery last month, the nurses told me how much they'd enjoyed receiving it and that they'd taped the pages up in their break room.

I printed a copy for Vivian that she likes to look at, though she gets very disturbed by the tubes and wires (especially the feeding tube in her nose, which you may recall was not real popular with her in the hospital either). She'll tell me, "The nurse needs to take that yucky string out of my nose!" Given where Vivian was this summer, what a delight and privilege it is to hear her say that!

With thanks to our Heavenly Father and the wonderful doctors and nurses in the Pediatric ICU at Medical City Children's Hospital, I present:

Vivian's Story

June 25, 2010. When I arrived at Medical City Children's Hospital, I was a very sick little girl. I had a fever of 107° and was having a lot of trouble breathing.

The nice doctors and nurses in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit hooked me up to all sorts of machines to help me get better.

For 12 days I slept while a machine helped me breathe.

When the doctors were sure I could breathe by myself, they let me start to wake up. But I was very sleepy and grumpy.

Not long after I woke up, my arm needed more surgery and I got a nice new pink cast.

I wasn't very happy about the tubes and wires that were helping me get better. The nurses ordered a new bed for me to keep me from hurting myself when I kicked and fussed. I also got to wear a funny hat and lots of ribbons on my head while the doctors did a test on my brain.

I was awake for more than a week before I said much. My first sentence was, "I don't like this place." The doctors and nurses did not take offense and instead thought that was a good sign.

Gradually I got out of bed more and took rides around the PICU in my stroller. I was too weak and wobbly to walk.

It took a while for me to get used to not being on a lot of medicine, but I became more alert each day.

I even started to laugh again!

I smiled more often.

I enjoyed spending time in my stroller with my baby Sarah, a book and a banana milkshake. I wouldn't eat real food, though, so I had to be fed through a new button on my tummy.

Finally, after 32 days in the PICU, I was well enough to go home! My mama and daddy were so grateful to all the nurses and doctors who cared for me. It was hard to say goodbye!

But it was so nice to be home!

At first I was happy just to be in my own bed with my beloved cat, Percy.

It didn't take long for me to start enjoying some of my favorite activities like coloring again.

My teacher, Mrs. Kemp, came over to work a puzzle with me. She was so impressed with how well I did!

My dog, Tucker, was glad to see me!

In no time at all I could walk by myself, though my big brother, Will, assisted me with carrying Percy.

Some nice nurses helped my mommy and daddyman take care of me at home, but after two weeks I was doing so well that I didn't need them. I didn't have to wear a cast or take IV antibiotics anymore either!

Now I eat regular food, so my family enjoys going to our favorite Mexican restaurant on Friday nights again.

I like eating my old special foods like ice cream too.

August 18, 2010. I am my happy, funny, (mostly) sweet self again!

"I prayed for this child and the Lord granted me what I asked of Him."
I Samuel 1:27

Vivian's nurses
Some of Vivian's nurses


Mona said...

I love a story with a happy ending. Such a miracle!! You've all had a traumatic summer. Be kind to yourself Eloise.

Ruby's Fairy Godmother said...

Vivian and the rest of your family is so amazing! That precious smile...So cool to see God's finger prints all over this one!!
Eloise, I hope you are able to stop and relax a little...you and your family have been thru so much.

Maggie said...

No small wonder that you're still feeling the effects of Vivian's summer ordeal. I hope the process of making this post helps. Please be gentle with yourself, Eloise.

Sharon said...

How far Vivian has come and what a journey you all have had. God is good and the power of prayer is an awesome thing. So happy you had the happy ending you so richly deserved. Any sort of trauma takes a long time to recover from. Give yourself time and later you can look back on it and reflect. It took me four years to get over a bad accident.

Jan M said...

As a mother, you suffered physicaly and emotionaly just as Vivian did. Now that she has healed, may you also. Thank you for sharing the journey again with us. I am so thankful for the final desination of health and smiles!

bevy said...

Of course you are still feeling the remnants of this past summer... What an emotional roller coaster you were on as a mother!

bevy said...

Of course you are still feeling the remnants of this past summer... What an emotional roller coaster you were on as a mother!

Anonymous said...

My own daughter had brain surgery this summer and I followed your journey at the same time. Please know that I prayed for all of you. I am happy to report that our daughter is doing well too. She has not returned to school, but she will in January!

lmk said...

Dear Eloise...Have you considered placing both the photos, along with cut and pasting your journaling from those difficult days into a shutterfly book?

Henley on the Horn said...

Wow. It brings up more tears and a grateful heart. It's hard to imagine all that you have been through! I'm so thankful Vivian is doing so well!

Anonymous said...

What a journey. I hope writing about it was therapeutic. You are a great mother!

Jessica Ryan said...

what an amazing journey and story. I had happy and sad tears as I relived this journey with you. So glad that the outcome was so wonderful!!!

3 Peanuts said...


I totally understand how you must feel like it is taking a while to get back to feeling normal. You probably Do have a little post traumatic stress. Heck, i get hat way from a week of action with my family 24/7 sometimes. When you put your whole life on hold to tackle an emergency, it take a while to catch up and breathe again.

I wish I did more for you this summer. I felt so helpless. I prayed A LOT.

Big hugs friend.

Amber M. said...

I have been so bad at commenting on blogs lately, but as I read through this post, I remember all those same feelings that I had when you were experiencing this trauma the first time. It all seems so miraculous that your sweet family weathered the storm with such faith and poise.

Blessing to you all!

C'est Noelle said...

Your blogs always put a 'smile' on my face. I love to hear all of your wonderful stories, see your pictures and hear all of your adventures. In a way, I feel that I sort of know you and your family, because you are so open and welcoming. I wish you nothing but love, laughter and happiness for you and your family.
Noelle xo