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.
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.
One thing I have learned is that you can only notice the miracles around you when you cultivate an attitude of gratitude for the Lord. Only rarely does he interfere so much that we can see the miracles without looking and being aware that he is helping. Usually he assists in more quiet ways, and only a grateful and humble heart can even see those assists. I have appreciated the time I get to spend most days to sit and be quiet and find that assistance. For Thanksgiving week I hope to focus on things I forget to be thankful for.
Today I am thankful to my Heavenly Father for food. I was sitting down to eat last night and found myself blessing the food like I do every meal. Then I thought, why do I always bless the food? I probably don’t really need divine intervention to assure that it was prepared in a healthy manner. Half of what we eat we know isn’t good for us anyway, so it is not to plead for good health from the food. Occasionally it is with gratitude that we had the resources to purchase the food, but we don’t really experience actual hunger in this country. Most likely I should be praying to remember and recognize that even the food we consume every single day was ultimately provided by our Creator. Personally I have a tendency to be grateful to the people who directly purchased and prepared it. I rarely think about the many steps involved in growing, raising, harvesting, packaging, transporting and retailing what I just ate. I rarely think of everything that has to come together to make it as convenient for me as it really is. And unfortunately, I almost never actually remember to thank God for all the systems that work together in the earth itself so that I can enjoy a variety of wonderful foods, and the privilege I enjoy of living in extreme convenience. So this week I will try to actually mean it when I thank him for the food.
Yesterday I saw God work in a very mysterious way. My middle child needed some help, but he had it in his mind that a specific someone would come and help him in a specific way. He refused to allow anyone else to help. His refusal to let other people help has caused some serious problems both for my son and others involved in the activity. The person that my son wanted to help him was not available, and even if that person suddenly became available, he no longer did that type of work and was not inclined to help anyone else out either. He had been asked before and could no longer do the work properly. We had asked before and he had tried before but could not do what needed to be done. (Vague intentionally. Sorry.)
Yesterday another activity was coming up and my boy had to get the project done. The exact person that he had been hoping for stopped by for a visit, unannounced, and found himself at our home while his vehicle was being repaired with nothing to do. I was a little hesitant to ask for the help because it was so difficult for our visitor. Instead he just stepped right in and went to work in a way I have not seen him work in years. It was as if he had never stopped doing that work, and was able to help my boy out and satisfy the desire my middle child had been holding out for. My boy is very happy, and I don’t know if the visitor was even aware of the impact that his actions had. The fact that he was able to do the work so well was an obvious miracle, but the timing and the arrival to our home were also miracles.
This week has had an awesome good deed chain. I think I came out ahead every single time though. Saturday night some neighbors dropped off a huge cake and a 10# bag of potatoes. They sometimes get the old food at the grocery stores, and since we have a large family they often share. What they didn’t know was that it was my daughter’s 16 year old birthday that day, and I had not gone out to get the cake and ice cream for the next day’s family party yet. We thoroughly enjoyed the Costco chocolate mousse filled cake.
That still left 10# of already getting soft potatoes. They weren’t really good enough for baked potatoes, but they would be perfect for mashed potatoes. 10# is a lot, even for us, so I thought it would be fun to get a little turkey and have a sort of Thanksgiving time preview. I have a new roll recipe I am dying to try out as well. We got the turkey, and looked for someone to enjoy it with us. We ran into some friends we hadn’t seen in a while and invited them over. I guess we not only get someone to help us with the potatoes, but he is also going to show us how to fix our car while he is here. We definitely come out ahead this time.
Started getting our big meal ready today and found out that I have another friend whose son is having surgery today. She sounded pretty stressed out, so I offered to bring them by some dinner as well. I am already cooking a large meal, what’s another seven people? I knew we would have plenty of potatoes and rolls, but decided to run to the store and get some extra meat. I wanted a specific type and so I had to go to a store I do not usually shop at. I walk in the door and there are tons of discount carts and marked down items in the front. I guess the store is going through some major management/ownership changes, and they were redoing almost everything. Although I only went in for the meat and some milk, I obviously ended up buying quite a bit more than I had expected. Great deals on things we needed though. As I was standing in line the lady in front of me offered me some coupons that she didn’t need that worked on some of the markdown items, making them quite inexpensive. When all was said and done, I not only saved the amount I had spent on the food for extra people, but another $100 in addition!! Talk about coming out ahead!
This time of year we have ideal weather here. It is amazing how we have seasons, temperature fluctuations, yet overall the temperatures on our planet are perfect and ideal for us. The odds of that happening are quite remote indeed. I am enjoying the “perfect weather” for now.
I had an eventful Sunday. The power transformer next our church building blew and caught fire. The fire department was just down the street and everything was under control quickly. We did evacuate the building for safety reasons, but no one was hurt. Really it was no big deal.
It used to be that people would blame God if their houses were struck by lightning or burned down. As we have come to better understand how the elements work together we understand that there are things that we can do to mitigate some of the effects of the elements. As we have become more prosperous we have the resources to provide disaster services to our communities. We understand that there is no need to assume that it is only God is punishing us when things do happen. However, perhaps we have gone too far. When we are able to prevent disaster we congratulate ourselves. Instead I believe we have even more reason to thank God for the understanding and resources we have that allow us to prevent so much damage. We have the unfortunate tendencies to blame God for the ills of life, but turn around and congratulate ourselves for our understanding of how to mitigate them. We forget that He has given us the understanding, and we need to thank him constantly for the benefits we receive.
I went for my walk this morning, but had some extra time so we walked down by the river. I was excited to see what was going on down there. The last time I had been there about a month or so ago, it was almost completely dry as it often is during summer. These last few weeks it has been raining and raining. I was not disappointed. Not only was the river full, but all of the plants were thriving and happy. Even the flowers were out and blooming. I saw probably 10 different types of wildflowers in full bloom. It looked like spring had come again.
I think water is one of the many evidences we have that God exists. The scriptures use much imagery about God and water. It brings life, it even takes life. It enables growth, and it is something that no one can live without. Without going into an entire sermon, I think that all the water around us is one of those many evidences of God’s goodness that is too abundant to ignore.