I have had a rare opportunity to learn about the person my daughter is. As she has been in and out of consciousness, she had done a lot of talking in her sleep, moving in her sleep, and even more than her fair share of delusions and hallucinations. What do you think would come out if you spent weeks in this state? Here is what I learned about my special girl.
She likes Christmas time, but thinks we don’t eat enough candy canes.
She thinks her siblings need to be more reverent during Family Home Evening.
She believes in Joseph Smith, and thinks reading good books is important.
She even remembers to do her hand and foot stretches for physical therapy while she is unconscious. She has a very obedient spirit.
She likes to sing.
She has frequently spoken up when a nurse has put the TV on for some background noise, thinking she is asleep, and informed them if she thinks it is inappropriate. One night she was having trouble staying awake, so a well intentioned nurse put on a TV show that her child of the same age loves watching. She was surprised when Katie woke up long enough to stammer out the word – “raunchy.” The nurse immediately realized she was talking about the TV show, and changed the channel. Then she started telling all the other nurses how impressed she was with Katie. She too was aware that the show was inappropriate and started talking about how she wished her kid wouldn’t watch it either.
So proud of Katie. I think she will have the strength to do what she knows is right no matter the situation, because these are the things that are really inside her.
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.
Sometimes beating the odds is simply a matter of chance. Roll the dice enough times, win the lottery, whatever. More often than not, I think Divine Intervention and personal effort can affect outcomes. Today I want to recognize all the couples who beat the odds by remaining married through:
chronic illness or pain
a child with a chronic illness
the loss of a child
financial changes or bankruptcy
different cultural backgrounds
alcoholism or substance abuse
These stresses, and others, decrease the odds of a successful marriage, so if you have experienced any of these roadblocks and find that both partners have worked through things sufficiently that you are happily married to any degree, count it as a miracle.
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.
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.