God’s grace in time of trial
One week ago this morning I was the most frightened I have ever been.
Last Sunday night, Vivian got sick. She caught a flu from Quin who had been sick on Sunday. Quin’s symptoms were “kiddy flu” kinds of symptoms: runny diapers, lethargy, and he threw up twice. It made us both sad for him, but he wasn’t crying in pain or anything that severe. Vivian, however, spent all night last Sunday night with diarrhea and vomiting. I was aware that she was getting up and down all night, but I didn’t really do much about it – I figured that she would ask me for any help she needed, and I was really trying to get a little sleep because it was obvious that she would need me to care for her and Quinlan the next day.
It was in this groggy, sleepy state of mind that I jumped to a bad conclusion about what was happening. I heard Vivian getting up and down, moaning, and even crying some. At one point, Vivian noticed that I was awake and asked me to pray for her (which I had been doing off and on all night as I woke up). All these events, however, convinced me that she was losing the baby. My prayers (and tears) were focused on Vivian’s recovery at that point. It seems silly to me now, but that’s what I was thinking.
Around 7:00am I heard Vivian calling to me. It was a simple call of “Rick…” with just a hint of some desperation in it. I hopped out of bed, thinking that my day of staying home from work to care for her and Quin was getting started. I was right about that, at least. I figured she probably had run out of toilet paper.
As I slowly peeked my head into the bathroom (Vivian likes her privacy in the bathroom – not an unusual trait), I heard a slight “knock… knock… knock…” sound, but I wasn’t sure where it was coming from. I gently called her name as the door to the bathroom opened wider.
At this point, fear gripped my heart.
Vivian was rocking back and forth, knocking the side of her head against the bathroom wall over and over again. It was a scene I’ve only ever seen on medical TV shows and/or crime dramas. My thoughts raced ahead to damage control. I needed to get her out of the bathroom and call 911. I needed to get someone to watch Quin for the day. What did I remember about first aid? Airway first, heartbeat, etc.
And overarching all of these thoughts, I thought that whatever had taken our baby from us had just taken my wife from me as well.
It turned out that she was having a mild seizure due to being very dehydrated. That makes a good deal of sense after a night of crazy fluid loss at the hands of whatever flu was playing havoc with her. But I didn’t know that yet. I just saw what looked to be a shell of my wife’s body – her eyes were half-way rolled back into her head and she was making gagging noises. I know only the very basest amount about medicine – I’ve been educated by TV shows like House and to a lesser degree the first season or so of E.R. I thought that something had attacked her body (causing us to lose the baby) and then her brain. I thought she was gone.
All this craziness happened in around 1-2 seconds (it’s amazing how the mind works overtime in crisis!). Of course, I ran across the bathroom to her, grabbed her, and held her to try and stop the seizure. By God’s mercy, she came out of it nearly immediately and told me that she thought she was dehydrated and could I get her some water, please?
I called my buddy Bill who is a surgical resident for a little freebie medical help. He confirmed that yes, she was certainly dehydrated and that if she couldn’t keep fluids down I should get her to the hospital so that she could be hydrated intravenously. By this time I had figured out that Vivian hadn’t had any baby-related problems and that this was just a bad flu, so I asked about danger to the baby. Bill assured me that no, the baby was fine. The pregnant body diverts what the baby needs to the baby first, and whatever is left is for the mom. The fact that Vivian had been in this shock-y state was probably because she was pregnant. The baby had taken what little fluid she had.
I tried to calmly let Vivian know what had happened and that she needed to force herself to drink liquids. I got her water and gatorade and basically ordered her to drink. I was perhaps a little relentless with her, because she complained a little later that I kept coming into the bedroom and waking her up to get her to drink some more. My concern was that she get some liquids down before sleeping. I didn’t want her to pass out from dehydration while I was downstairs taking care of Quin where I wouldn’t know about it. I also knew that I had to make the call as to whether or not we needed a trip to the hospital. I backed off some after I saw that she had kept down three 6-8 ounce glasses of water/gatorade.
In the end, Vivian recovered after a day or so of rest. And then I got the same flu, but I’m much happier to be sick than to watch Vivian be sick. And you can bet I was drinking water and gatorade as much as I could stand while I was sick. We haven’t seen the OBGYN doctor since the flu, but they aren’t concerned about the baby’s health and haven’t asked us to come in for an appointment.
All this has quickened my love for my wife in my heart. I hate to admit that I might be one of those men who “didn’t know how good he had it” until something came along to almost take it away, but I think in my sinfulness I have been taking all Vivian does for me and for our family for granted.
By God’s grace I’m working on changing that.