Updated: May 8, 2020
August 14 2017 Part 2.
Confession time... I’ve been procrastinating writing this post. There aren’t many happy moments that I can remember from our time in the DR hospital, the theme of our time there was mostly panic and desperation. When I started looking through my phone for the pictures we took during our time at the hospital in Santiago I couldn’t believe the date stamps. According to the pictures we arrived at the hospital around 5pm on August 14 and then landed in Toronto on August 18 at about 4pm. In my mind those days crawled by. When I asked Cameron how long he thought we spent in the hospital in the DR he said at least a week, I’m right there with him.
Arriving at the hospital, Cameron pulled into the emergency bay where I took Judah out of the car and headed in while Cameron went to find a parking spot. The emergency area is nothing like what we have at home ( I’m talking triage, nurses and a waiting room). There were some chairs in the foyer but mainly the first thing you see is a long desk where a few people in lab coats sit waiting to take your information. Walking up to the desk, I was nervous hoping that whomever I spoke with could speak English. I’m not fluent in Spanish, I can get by but my vocabulary is certainly not good enough to explain what was happening to Judah. Thankfully the attendant spoke English, I explained what was happening that my husband was just outside parking the car. They asked for insurance information, I said we had none so they took our credit card number to put on file. Almost immediately they said I could take Judah in to the back to see a doctor. Once again I said Cameron was just parking, apparently he would have to wait in the foyer since only one person was allowed in with Judah. After sending Cameron a quick text I followed the attendant through the sliding door into the back room where there were hospital beds separated by curtains.
One thing I’ll give the hospital they were fast! Within ten minutes there was an emergency doctor with us. Unfortunately she didn’t speak English but the Lord gave me the words, and in my mangled spanish I communicated what was happening and showed her the video that we had taken in the car on our way there. I remember her feeling Judahs head, checking his vitals and then telling me they were going to do a admit us and do a CT scan to check his brain. Ok good, we were doing something we were going to make sure everything was ok. The doctor led me to the front desk where she told them to get us registered and admitted after stopping by the foyer to get Cameron an orderly then wheeled Judah and I up to our room. ( Im not sure why but as soon as we were admitted apparently we needed to travel by wheelchair ?) . Judah continued to have seizures closer and closer together until they were finally able to give him meds through an IV.
This picture was taken within two hours of us arriving at the hospital. We were already in our hospital room just waiting on the CT scan. I had finally calmed Judah down after the IV placement. That first IV placement was horrific... Judah has extremely small veins and they poked him so many times. It took three nurses and myself holding my sweet baby down while he screamed and thrashed as they tried to get the IV in. It wasn’t fun but I knew it was necessary. I know so much more now, I should have asked for a topical anesthetic I should have asked for a phlebotomist... I should have but I didn’t know so I didn’t. Instead we held my baby down as they tried again and again to get the IV in. It wasn’t long after the photo was taken that a nurse came and took Judah away for his CT scan.
Judah never came back to our hospital room after the scan. A few hours after he was taken for the scan we were visited by the emergency room doctor and a neurologist. The neurologist spoke some English and was able to communicate that they found a mass. That they needed to do more imaging but that after the scan they took him straight to the PICU (Pediatric Intensive Care Unit) . I remember being scared and not quite understanding what was going on. He explained that there appeared to be a large cyst which was causing pressure and the resulting seizures and that they would be calling in their best neurosurgeon the next day to speak with us.
What follows is a blur, we had to get special permission for Cameron to stay overnight in the hospital with us. We were only allowed to see Judah twice a day during PICU visiting hours but they would make an exception for us that first night. This, I fought, I tried to explain that Judah was still exclusively breastfed he was only 5 months old. They needed to let me feed him, wasn’t there someway we could stay with him? We’d just learned he was seriously ill. I was told the nurses would give him a bottle.
I remember taking this picture that night. I told Cameron “one day we’ll probably want to remember all this craziness”. I didn’t know the half of what was to come. I didn’t know what to expect as they made us scrub our hands and put on sterile clothing. Walking in we turned to see Judah lying sideways on an adult hospital bed. By this time they had him hooked up to oxygen and had electrodes stuck to him to monitor his heart rate. We were able to spend fifteen minutes with him before they ushered us out and back to our room. They first thing we did when we got back was call our one of our Church elders who double as our missionary coordinators. We told them what was happening and asked for prayer. Then we called our parents. This was probably the harder call to make. I remember reassuring them that it wasn’t a big deal, we would speak to the doctors, it was just a cyst.... once the pressure was gone he’d be back to normal.... we’d be ok. I know I was also reassuring myself. My mantra: we will deal with the cyst then we will be ok. A couple hours later Cameron and I awoke to our hospital room phone ringing. The PICU nurses needed me to come down apparently my sweet boy was unconsolable and didn’t want anything they had to offer. I could hear Judah crying in the background but my heart still lifted , I was going to get to see my baby. Entering the PICU I got a lecture from the nurses, apparently Judah should have been able to take a bottle or eat real food and it was my failing to teach him that was making him so upset. No matter what they had to say it was so amazing to hold my little boy and feed him. The poor guy was so hungry, I wasn’t sure how long he’d been trying to feed before they gave up and called me. Despite their feelings on how/what I was feeding Judah, I still managed to get to know the nurses and attending doctor. Before I left we’d reached a taciturn agreement: Judah was NOT going to take whatever they were going to feed him, from then on they would call me and I would come down and as long as I stayed quiet and didn’t disturb the other patients I could still come.
This picture was taken the next morning when Cameron and I got to visit Judah during one of the scheduled visits. God is Good!
To be continued...