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.
Sometimes I feel like I am helpless to combat all of the problems going on around me. A personal goal I have is to not be helpless. I have an acquaintance who is much older than me and going through a tough time with health problems. I didn’t know what to do to help and encourage him, so I prayed about it. After receiving an answer of a small thing that I could do, I simply wrote a quick note of support and encouragement. Men, and especially older men, don’t ever like to show that they need support or help. I figured it wouldn’t hurt, but if it helped a little than I did something. Then yesterday, he shared just a small little positive thing in his life, and I realized that my quick note of encouragement was directly related. Maybe I did a small something to lighten his load? It may not have been much, but if it touched him, I was not powerless to help out. Who can you encourage today?
We held a family fast this last Sunday for my son. He has finally shown the first signs of being ready to make some long overdue changes. The morning after we had fasted for him he shows up bright and early at our home to help his dad with something. That in and of itself could have been its own miracle as his sleep habits are wildly out of control and he has not felt a desire to help anyone with anything for at least a year. Miracle number two, he was smiling from ear to ear. Smiles are good. Again, he went at least a year, probably more without ever smiling. When I commented on the smile and downright cheerful attitude he just smiled back and told me he was having a great day. At 8 am he was having a great day? Unless I had seen it with my own eyes I wouldn’t have believed that one. I asked him if there was any particular reason he was happy, he told me he wasn’t quite ready to share or talk about it yet. (Now that was simply reassurance I really was talking to the same kid) He did tell me that he had spent a lot of contemplative thinking time the day before, and is simply very happy about some of the things he was thinking about.
We never told him he was in many, many people’s prayers and fasts that day. It seems to be working, however.
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.
Second chances are kind of special things. I have a friend who lives the next town over who has been divorced for a while now, and I simply do not know how she does it. She works and has four kids. Two of the four are angels, but the other two are, well, hmm, I think “brats” is the nicest way I can think of to put it. She struggles all the time and is constantly at her wits end. Yes, they are that bad.
I just found out that she got engaged over the holidays. I can’t even fathom how she had time to meet anyone, but I am glad she did. I can’t imagine what type of a person is willing to take on the challenge of rebuilding that home. Wow. All I can say is wow.
I can’t think of a word better than “miracle” to describe what a father and husband will do for that home. The hand of the Lord is most definitely at work here. I wish them the best.
After enjoying the holidays, I am especially happy to be able to enjoy my family. It seems to be the goal of the holidays to be with family. Sometimes it is not so easy to get along, but this year was especially and unexpectedly enjoyable. Definitely a gift. Didn’t realize how precious it was until we had such a stressful family experience last year. Not quite ready to say I’m grateful for last year, but I do appreciate this year more.