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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Remembering H1N1

     Today I'm going to take a departure from my usual decorating posts to remember what happened to our family 2 years ago. God has been gracious and spared the life of our oldest son Camden. On that fateful day, I picked up the kids from school and noticed that Camden did not look good. I asked him if he was feeling ok and he said that he thought he was coming down with a cold. All the way home he was coughing. When we got home I checked his forehead and could tell he had a fever. Ironically I had my camera out that day and took a picture of him lying on the couch after school. (I don't normally take pictures of sick kids!)

     If you remember in the news that fall (2009) H1N1 was big news. I had been agonizing for a few weeks whether or not I should get my kids vaccinated. There was so much controversy about this vaccine that I prayed that God would make it clear whether or not we should have the kids vaccinated. At the time Camden came down with his symptoms the vaccine was not yet available. As soon as I knew he had the fever my first thought was H1N1, but that night he threw up and I remember feeling relieved because we thought that it must be the flu. We let Cam sleep on our floor and he slept fairly well that night. The next morning Jeff left early for a meeting at church. When Cam woke up he looked awful. He said he couldn't walk or get up and wanted me to carry him to the bathroom so he could go. I called the pediatrician's office and they had us come right in. I had to carry him into the office. The nurse tech came in and asked about his symptoms, took his vitals and then rushed out of the room yelling, "I have a kid in here with an SaO2 below 90". The doctor came right in and after listening to him and having another doctor come in and listen to him too they sent us directly to the hospital.

     The first few days were a blur. He was in isolation as a swab confirmed that it was H1N1. The initial struggle was to keep his temp down and his O2 levels up. They had respiratory therapy come in every 4 hours around the clock. These efforts kept things fairly stable until the evening of day 3. His temp spiked and he was more uncomfortable and coughing more. The next morning his O2 levels kept dropping no matter how high they put his oxygen. He was using all of his external muscles to breath and was very lethargic.

     They did another x-ray and doctors came in and said that he had developed a lung consolidation in one lung, which is a jello like mass, and mucous plugging in the other lung. At that point they increased his breathing treatments to every 2 hours but said that if things didn't improve he would be moved to ICU where they would put him on a ventilator. Jeff had been working during the days yet, taking the kids to school/daycare but coming in the evening so I could go home for a few hours and shower and change and see the other 3 kids. This morning though I called him and work and told him to come in right away. After talking with the doctors, Jeff and I went into the bathroom and had a conversation I will never forget. Jeff asked us both, "how tightly are we holding onto this kid, he belongs to God". We cried and prayed together, submitting ourselves to the will of God. I am so grateful to say that God heard and honored our prayer. Over the course of the next few hours with the aggressive therapy and by the hand of God he gradually improved. He stayed on the hospital for few days more and was released a little paler and skinnier, but alive and on the road to recovery.
the day we got to go home! the nurses made him a fort in his bed

     Camden was the first confirmed case at his school. My other kids were put on Tamiflu. The CDC reported that  of those who come in contact with the virus (all it takes is being within 10 feet of a carrier) 60% will not develop symptoms. Of the 40% who do, 99% can manage their symptoms at home, but 1% will get hit hard.When his pediatrician saw him a week after he got out of the hospital he remarked that when he saw Cam's hospital reports he could not believe that Cam had survived!

Our family in Maine this summer (We're on the far right)

     God faithfully watched over us and met our needs in so many ways. Family and friends watched our kids, provided meals, ran errands and even came and cleaned our house for us. The body of Christ is an amazing thing to behold when it is in action. God even provided the funds to pay our portion of the hospital bill in an unexpected way. Praise God! I know that this could have turned out entirely differently. Having glimpsed God's hand during this time I know He would have sustained us, but I am so grateful every day when I see my blond headed boy who is so compassionate, creative, and loving. We love you Camden  and praise God for your life!

                 ~ Jody


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