Monday, September 9, 2013

The rest of the story...

So yesterday's post ended with one of these pictures. The pavilion had been cleared, most of the partiers had gone home, our cars were loaded with leftover beans and chicken, extra leis, and a million sticky Ball jars. I took some last pictures of the girls sitting on the fence. After I was done, I put Lilly down, and Bella hopped down herself (because she's a big girl). The rest of the children were running around still playing.
I walked away, and seconds later heard Lilly screaming. Bryan's mom had picked her up, and was looking at her feet. I rushed over, thinking she had stepped in an ant pile, as she had an hour or two before. As I swiped at her feet, blood started running. And then I heard Bella yelling "SNAKE!". I turned and looked, only to see what medical staff would later call a "good sized pygmy rattlesnake". It was all curled up and rattling, right where I had set Lilly down, and where the children were still running around playing.

As I started putting the pieces together, my heart sank. Oh no. Oh no. Please not my baby. Please, let it not be true. Bryan figured it out a bit quicker, and immediately sprung into action. He was amazing. I called 911, he held pressure on Lilly's ankle and kept it lowered. We jumped into the car, and whizzed away. Bryan was in the backseat talking to the dispatcher, and holding pressure. I was driving like a crazy lady. We met the ambulance on the side of SR 46, and jumped in. As Bryan was giving the medic a fantastic report they asked us "do you know what kind of snake it was?" Bryan responded, "pygmy rattler". They were questioning him about how confident of this he was, when just in time, Bryan's dad came rushing to the side of the ambulance with a Ball jar containing the dead body of my worst nightmare. (See, Ball jars have all kinds of good uses.) Then it was settled and off we went.

I sat in the front seat, holding back the tears. I sent out a simple FB post "please pray for Lilly", and knew that in minutes our family would be covered in prayer. My mind kept thinking of a dear friend of mine, who just recently lost her 18 month old baby girl to cancer, and I pleaded for things to be different for us. I could hear Lilly, crying in the back of the ambulance, and I was glad. Crying means breathing, and breathing is good.

They took us to the closest Emergency Room. So many people swarmed, all asking questions and checking vitals. It's funny, being on this side of medical care. Patients complain about being asked the same questions over and over, and we reply, saying, "I know it's tiring, but it is for your safety. We do know who you are, and why you're here, but we want to hear you confirm it before we do anything." That being said, I was getting really tired of saying over and over, "No. No known allergies. No medical problems."

Lilly was so scared, and hurting, and shaking and crying. The nurses needed to start an IV and draw labs in order to give her the anti-venom she needed.  Being a mother, and watching your child hurting is really hard. Holding her terrified, frightened, shaking body down for 5 IV attempts, was just awful. That had to be the absolute worst part of our entire ordeal.

Sometime after they got the IV line started, she started feeling nauseated, and threw up all over my dress. I looked at her, and she looked at me, and we both wanted to cry. She was blood stained, bruised on both hands and arms, sweaty and damp with tears, and I smelled like stinky, blue icing tinged, vomit. We were a pair.

An hour an a half after the initial bite, she received her first dose of pain medicine. It was visible, watching the pain and the anxiety relieved. She started smiling, and became an even more silly version of herself.

I sat there and watched my baby's foot turn dark, and her toes and foot and ankle and calf swell higher and higher. The doctor said he couldn't be sure that she wouldn't lose a toe, or even her foot. When I asked how much longer it would be until they started the treatment, they told me that someone else had come into the ED with a rattlesnake bite, and they gave the medicine to him first, and it would be another hour or so until Lilly could get her dose. While I understand that maybe his symptoms were worse, or something like that, I just wanted to scream. And kick. And swear. And throw a fit. And shout out "That's not fair! What about my baby?!"

After the snake bite, and after Bryan and I jumped into my car and whizzed away, my two oldest loves were left standing there in the park, afraid for their sister, and confused as to where their parents just rushed off to. The coordination of the following events had to be part of God's perfect plan. We drove away in my car, and met the ambulance on the side of SR46, where I left my car. Meanwhile, our hero of a friend, Dave, killed my worst nightmare, and put it in a Ball jar. My mom took her car and left. My dad took Bryan's car, and Bella and Grady and left. Bryan's parents took the snake and left. They got to SR46, just as the medic was questioning Bryan as to the type of snake, and came running up to the ambulance with snake in hand. With no more questions about the snake, Bryan, Lilly and I in the ambulance, left. Then Bryan's dad got in my car (that was sitting on the side of SR46) and left. My parents took Bella and Grady home, got them bathed and ready for bed, and the car unloaded. Bryan's parents brought my car to the hospital and hung out with us there for a little while. Then Bryan's parents went and relieved my parents who then came to the hospital. At some point, Bryan went home, put the kids to bed and packed me a bag. My parents drove back and forth, bringing me bags of clothing and my laptop, etc...

It amazes me that in all of that chaos, there was still order.

While we were still waiting for the anti-venom, the doctor made the decision that Lilly was not doing well, and needed to be transferred to another hospital. I requested Arnold Palmer, and he said that would be fine. Over three hours after the bite, they finally started her anti-venom, minutes before APH showed up to transport us.

We packed up, and walked out of those hospital doors. And when I saw this...

I think my heart smiled. I just had a huge feeling of relief when I saw that APH truck. A feeling like "Ahh. At last. Now I'm home." That kinda feeling. I have worked for the Orlando Health organization for almost 14 years total, and familiarity brings me comfort. And I trust them. I think our team members are skilled and caring, and good at what they do. Lilly might have been a bit skeptical.

We got to APH at 11pm, and it was just so good to be there. I don't know if baby girl has ever stayed up that late, and she was in a state. She was chatting it up with all of the nurses, and techs and respiratory staff. She was all smiles, and questions, and sweetness. They just thought she was the cutest thing. I do too. The doctor checked her out, and said she'd need to stay for at least two to three days, and maybe receive another dose of anti-venom.


Bryan got there around 12:30am, and put Lilly to sleep while I showered off the stench of vomit, the party sweat, and the stress of the past few hours.

The next morning, I went home to relieve Bryan's parents. As I was coming over the bridges on 417, I watched the sun rise, and I said prayers of worship and gratitude to the God that made the sun and the sky, and my daughter.

I walked into to my house, and found my two children up and dressed and eating breakfast. My father-in-law was drying dishes, and my mother-in-law was carrying more food to the table. The house had been cleaned up, party stuff had been unloaded from the cars and organized, the dishes were washed and stacked.

I know that family is supposed to be there in times of trouble, but seriously, our parents showed up in such a huge way. We are so very grateful that we were both able to stay with Lilly, and that our children (and our house) were so well taken care of in our absence. THANK YOU parents!! We love you!

I packed up the kids, and we drove back to the hospital. One of the good things about the timing of this event, was that Lilly had a whole pile of new birthday gifts just waiting for her to play with.

Big brother and sister were so happy to see her, and she was happy to see them, and tell them all about it.

We walked in, as the doctor was there making rounds. She said Lilly would not need another round of anti-venom, and explained that the plan for the next few days was to watch her, monitor her pulses, blood flow, capillary refill etc... to the toes, and provide pain management (which was Tylenol). I asked if there was any reason that we could not do that from home, to which she said, "no". Yay! So instead of a two or three day stay, we were there for less than twelve hours.

This is one of Lilly's new gifts, that she enjoyed while we waited.

Before too long, we were on our way home. With all of the swelling in her calf, ankle and foot, she was not putting any weight on it, and would barely move it. The doctor had mentioned that it would probably be a few days until she was ready to walk again. She sat with it propped on pillows for hours at a time.

After we got home, Bryan brought out the offender, for one last look and a lesson about watching where you are walking.

The two fang marks

Sunday evening and night went pretty well. She slept well, however when she woke up Monday morning, instead of being better, her swelling was actually worse, up into her thigh, and her leg was really hot. We made the follow up appointment (that we promised the hospital we would make) with the pediatrician.

The pediatrician thought that the new swelling and heat could be from an infection in the tissue, so he ordered antibiotics for her, just in case. We gave that to her at noon. At 3:30pm, we looked up and sister was walking! Tonight the temperature of her leg is the same as the other leg, however the swelling is still pretty bad, as she has been up, walking around on it.


This poor girl has been through a lot over the past few days, and she does it all with a smile and a sweet spirit. She has made me so proud to be her mama, and so thankful to have that opportunity. This will be a birthday we will never forget.

Through it all, I truly believe we would not be seeing the progress she has made without the prayers of so many. THANK YOU friends and family, for praying for us. Thank you for loving my girl so much, that you took the time to remember her in prayer. THANK YOU to those of you who shared her story, and asked others to pray with you. Please feel free to share this post, or my TAL page on FB with anyone who might have been lifting her up in prayer. I may never be able to thank everyone for their acts of kindness, but I sure am grateful for them!

Have a great week!

1 comment:

  1. A fish tale or a whale tale may have been nice but you have a snake tale! May God use this journey experience for all of you to grow and help others. I think we are ALL watching where we walk right now! Continuing to pray that there is no evidence of snake residue on that precious foot. Love you!