This entire ordeal my daughter has been stronger than anyone else I know. If the Lord doesn’t give us trials greater than we can bear, she must be one incredibly strong person. Even the doctors and nurses can see her strength.
However, I suspect there are times when we are given more than we can handle. These are the times that teach us to rely only on our Savior, times when no one else can be there for us, times when we have used all of our strength. Katie has spent weeks in that very state. I can do nothing for her. As a parent this is heartbreaking. It is unrelenting beyond my comprehension. Although she is constantly supported and cared for by incredible technologies, expert physicians, and powerful medications, even they need to ultimately rely on her own body for healing to occur.
Even within these terrible circumstances, there have been some reassurances of hope. Hope is a powerful thing. As we have interacted with the social worker, she has reminded us about how effective the mind is, with its ability to close down on overload. The Sunday speaker in the hospital ward also reminded us about what the Savior did when He was here. He healed the sick. His ministry was to those who were sick, afflicted, and suffering. We were reminded that the Savior is still aware of those who are suffering, and that He lives today, and He has a special place in His heart for those in distress and suffering due to the pains of this world.
One of the wonderful things about our religion is our claim to the biblical priesthood power, or the authority to act in the name of God. This includes the gift of healing. A gift my husband, her father, holds.
As we were preparing to be flown to SLC, we knew that it must be serious and we made arrangements to give her a blessing. In that blessing she was promised that she would have a complete recovery. It seemed very reasonable at the time. We went on with the events that unfolded, comforted in the knowledge that all would end well. It gave us great strength to know she would pull through.
Once she had had her initial evaluation and surgery, the doctor came out and said the exact same words, that he expected a full recovery. As things progress and we have our ups and downs there are days that I wonder if a complete recovery is still possible. It is testing my faith and I am sure hers as well, but deep down in I believe we know all will be well. What a gift.
Yes, it was Friday the 13th when our nightmare began. The blisters did indeed grow overnight and we knew she needed immediate care. Long story short, she was admitted to the emergency room that morning and given the worst case diagnosis. It was Stevens Johnson Syndrome, a devastating syndrome that would make her skin separate and sluff off. Once the reaction was started it would need to run its course. Typically up to 30% of her body would be affected. She would need hospitalization in the burn unit. Only in a few cases was this diagnosis fatal, but our local hospital was simply not equipped to handle this type of problem, so she would need to be flown to a larger hospital for treatment.
We were given the option of flying to Las Vegas or Salt Lake City. We immediately requested Vegas because I had family there. Arrangements were made and I began to prepare to travel to Vegas. In the midst of those preparations the hospital called. They had been rejected by the Vegas hospital because they were full. Her only option now was Salt Lake City, 5 hours away from us. It was an emergency situation, so we did what was needed.
By that night it became apparent that it was again divine intervention that the Las Vegas Hospital was unable to take her. During transport her situation again worsened and spread to more than 30% of her skin. This lead to her having another classification. She suddenly no loner had Stevens Johnson Syndrome (SJS) but TENS – all of her skin inside and out was becoming toxic. (Look it up at your own risk, it is stomach turning.) Her risk of complications and even death had just skyrocketed. Had she arrived in Vegas under those conditions there is a good chance they would have preferred to have her moved to Salt Lake anyway. The hospital here in Salt Lake has a large Burn Unit and is especially well prepared to handle this severe of a case. Upon arrival Katie was immediately assigned to one of the best burn doctors available, and scheduled for life saving, emergency surgery. Even while waiting for her operation she continued to worsen. Finally she was in surgery where 70%+ of her skin was removed to prevent widespread, fatal infections from overcoming her. I won’t go into all the details, but here are the miracles of this terrible day.
Divine intervention put her exactly where she needed to be.
Divine intervention put her in the care she needed at exactly the time when it was most critical that she be there. Her operation shouldn’t have been one minute sooner or later than it was for the best possible outcome.
Miracles of medical knowledge, technology, and faith combined that night to save a young girl’s life. Even a few years ago she may not have survived this.
Tomorrow I will cover the even greater miracle given to us on this day.
If anyone is still interested, I need to re-start recording my daily miracles. My daughter became ill 3 weeks ago and we almost lost her. I am doing the mother vigil thing with her in critical care, and need to record some of the many miracles that have led us to know that she will have a full and complete recovery. Today I think I will start at the very beginning.
My daughter, Katie, was up in the mountains participating in a youth conference with some of her friends. She started to feel ill, but didn’t want to miss out on the activities so she pushed through it. Her joints were aching, but she attributed it to sleeping in a tent on the ground. Her throat also was getting sore, but those things happen. She didn’t want to worry anyone, and she didn’t want to be thought of as being a wimp because she wanted to go home.
Friday night there was a fireside where they spoke about recognizing answers from our Father in Heaven. Katie decided to put those recommendations to the test, and immediately felt strongly that she should go home. It was very late and she was very far from home. Katie spoke up and soon found out that there was a leader heading home who would be happy to take her. She told the appropriate adults, and to her surprise they fully supported her decision. I think they could feel that there was something not quite right as well.
The adult who was heading home shared with Katie that she had been undecided if she should go up or not because it would be very late when it was time to get home, around midnight, but that she felt that someone may need a ride, so she went anyway. Katie was very grateful for the ride. She was also concerned if we would answer the phone to let her in the house. We go to bed pretty early, and by the time Katie was in cell phone range it was almost midnight. That night, however, we had gone to a rare late night movie and had just started off to bed when Katie called. We had no problem letting her in and helping her get settled in.
Katie felt very strongly that the events of that night had been orchestrated in her behalf. And they had. The only thing we did not yet know was how serious this illness would prove to be. Our Father in Heaven knew, and he stepped in to help before we even had a single idea that there was anything seriously wrong. It did not take long before Katie’s ability to recognize this intervention would prove essential to her recovery. One week later, as she was being wheeled into emergency surgery, in the worst pain of her life, we were able to take a moment and together reflect on the ways that Heavenly Father had already opened doors for her, and she was able to acknowledge His hand in preserving her to that point. She was comforted in the understanding that these miracles were not happening so that we could prepare to lose her, but so that we would know that she would come out the other end victorious.
In my church we take time each month to visit individuals. It is an attempt to not forget the lost sheep. As we visited yesterday and shared the message that the Lord does not forget anyone, two of the sisters I visit opened right up. Both were sisters I have been visiting with for a while now, and both are less than fully active in our faith. As we started to share, each one of the sisters felt a connection to that lost sheep, and after months, and even years for one of them, of my visiting monthly they actually shared with me the root of their own personal struggles to full participation in the gospel of Christ. Each struggle is unique, and each of us has our own personal demons.
I don’t know how to fix either problem. I rather suspect that it is not my goal to fix the problem, but rather my privilege to support them through it. One of them I share the same struggle, I just have chosen to deal with it differently. However, I think step one in helping anyone change their heart is to love them as the Savior does. I hope that by having someone to support them through it that each one of these daughters of God can have a miracle in their life of being reconverted to Christ.
My daughter has been on her new medication for over a month now. It is wonderful to report that she is doing well. I feel so blessed that she is responding so positively to the first medication she has tried. I would say she is a new person, but she is actually just closer to being herself. When I ask the doctors about her treatment they can give some basic answers like there are some chemicals that are over or under produced, and there are synapses connections that are over active or under active, that need blocking or rerouting. When you really get down to it though, despite some basic principles, our brains are so complex we really do NOT understand how all the medications work. We have no idea what “normal” levels of any of the brain chemicals are. I am amazed that life altering treatments are available when we don’t even completely understand what we are working with.
Some friends of ours have had some much more major medical issues than us going on. I have no idea what would have happened to their boys 20 years ago, but as of this year one of their boys has a titanium jaw, and the other one has stainless steel rib cage support. Wow.
Obviously there have been many miraculous advances in medicine in general. Today I am grateful for the availability that we have to access those advances. My family suffers from multiple mental health issues. While much of the research is still in its infancy, we are a lot further along than we were even 20 years ago. I am preparing to attend a full day workshop to learn how to manage the effects of these illnesses. I am excited for the information that will be available to me.