My morning began around 2:00. I've had a hard time falling asleep lately, so by that time had only been in dreamland for an hour or so. I heard her calling "Mama?" from her room. Brent got up before I did and went in there. She fell apart. She started crying saying "I'm in big trouble!" We thought she had wet the bed. I went in to her room and asked what was wrong. She was talking about animals in her covers and worms crawling on her walls. Through incoherent sobs that was all we could make out. I sat her on my lap but that made things worse. She thought my leg was an animal with a black beak. I told her it was my leg. She kept touching it, wanting to believe me, but she was convinced it was an animal with a black beak. She didn't want to get back in her bed. There were still animals and worms. I brought her to bed with us.
We noticed yesterday evening she felt warm and had checked her temperature. It was right around 102. Brent gave her a bath and she perked up a bit before bedtime. We gave her some Tylenol and tucked her in after prayers. We weren't anticipating her fever to spike or for her to begin hallucinating.
When she was in bed with us, we had her stripped to her skivvies, to try to cool her down. We had a cool cloth on her head, but that couldn't stay long because she was afraid of what animal it could be. She didn't want it. She wasn't sleeping at all - she kept trying to climb on top of me and grab my arm, and she was wide awake. Finally about 4:00 I started to fall back asleep. About 30 minutes later I woke up as she grabbed my hand that had been resting on her stomach, saying, "The bugs are crawling on me!" I told her it was my hand. "See Haley? Mommy is squeezing your hand. It's just Mommy's hand." "No! The bug is crawling on me! Mommy, get the bug!" She was hallucinating again. She was very much awake. This wasn't talk of an incoherent sleepy head. This was a girl who couldn't distinguish what was reality, and what wasn't.
Brent took her temperature. "Whoa."
"What?" I asked.
He took her temperature again. Reluctantly he told me, "104.7"
"Take her in. Let's go."
We got her dressed. I gave her some water, grabbed a blanket because she was shivering, and we headed to the ER. I sent some people a text, asking for prayers. Immediately upon pulling out of the driveway, Brent grabbed my hand. We prayed. I tried to keep myself calm. I tried to tell myself it was a fluke. I tried not to be apprehensive. The last time I was in that ER it was to be admitted for labor. To deliver my deceased daughter.
We parked, and thankfully, were the only ones in the ER. The nurse took her temperature. 103. That was better than 104.7. We were seen by the doctor. Strep was negative. Some ulcers in her throat indicated it was a viral infection. Stay on top of the Tylenol. Use Ibuprofen also if we have it. Get better, have a good day.
We went home, relieved. Everyone was tired. Back to bed we went. I slept for another two hours. I was so tired I could have cried. The little morning snooze did me good. Haley and Brent were still asleep when I left to go to work.
Later in the day I was asking Brent for updates. At one point he texted me she was still very feverish. He texted another temperature reading. 104.7 again. After all day on Tylenol, her fever wasn't going down. I told her to strip her down again, apply a cool cloth, wait a few minutes, and re-take her temperature. I waited. No answer. I called. 105.
"I'll meet you at the ER."
I drove to meet them there, arriving well before they did. I was pleading with God. "I can't lose another child, Lord. I can't. Please don't let this be serious. Please don't let this be happening. Not to Haley. Not again." I prayed for the doctor we would see. "Please let whoever we see be sensitive enough to do whatever he can to save my daughter, and care for our fragility."
I managed to keep the tears at bay as I watched them pull in to park. I registered her, and we were called back in short order. The admitting nurse took her temp. 102. Brent and I shot each other a look. "Maybe we need a new thermometer."
We were seen by another ER doctor. Dr. Hamilton. I have no doubt Dr. Hamilton was a direct answer to my prayer. He was a God-send. He was exactly what we needed.
Not only did he spend time with us evaluating Haley, answering our questions, and diagnosing her ailment(s), but when he saw my chin quivering, he became a Dad. A husband. A friend. He became a man we have more respect for than we can even understand ourselves. He became our answer to prayer.
Haley is on antibiotic now. Her fever is still high. But after a bowl of chicken soup and her new medicine tonight, she was starting to perk up. Her bags under her eyes got a little smaller. Her need to cuddle grew a little less. I saw signs of our old Haley.
Dr. Hamilton told me Haley looked great. She seemed great. She would be fine. While he was talking, though, I was choking on my retort. That's what they said about Harlynn. She looked great. She seemed great. My pregnancy was fine. Beautiful. Normal. But it wasn't. She died.
It was only a fever. It was only (most likely) a virus. But what if it wasn't? What if....? I looked across the room at my little Haley, nestled in her daddy's arms. "Please, God. Please let her be okay. Today. Tomorrow. Forever."
Life will never be the same. The worst happened. The worst is what I think about. The worst is what I dread. Today is a praise. Today I rejoice. Today I thank my God we were spared from anything serious. I pray that sparing continues.
Next: As The Seasons