That definitely describes our week. We’re generally a very healthy family and for that, I’m very grateful. In fact, yesterday as I sat at the hospital with Matt I gained an even greater appreciation for our health. I’ll share a bit more on that later, but for now, let me back up.
Last Thursday Matt came home from work a little sluggish. He really thought it was an allergy attack but it was bad enough that he didn’t run. He runs regardless of how he feels, usually, so I knew it was really bothering him.
Friday he wasn’t any better and missed two events on the start of the fun four day weekend that we had planned. At the second one I actually joked about men having a lower pain tolerance and that we women would be working through the pain. (Yes, I regret saying it, but I must admit… it’s mostly true.)
Saturday we were really hoping he’d rest and recover as he had Chapel as well as worship to lead the next morning, which just so happened to be Easter. Of course I wanted him well for the sake of him feeling good, please know that. I really don’t want my husband to feel bad, ever, but there was one selfish reasons for me wanting him to be well: I wanted my family together for Easter.
When we got up on Sunday morning Matt was at his lowest point of his 3 day illness. The first thing he said to me was that he was not going to be able to make it to church. My first response was to say, “Okay. I’ll call the reinforcements.” I left him crawling back into bed and went to the kitchen to find any medicines I could give him to help him feel better. While there I was reminded of the sermon he had preached the week before, which was on healing. (Brief synopsis on what we believe regarding healing: There are three main ways God heals. 1. Naturally – as in, you break an arm and, once set in place, it heals itself. 2 Medicinally and through doctors – as in, you get a headache and take a Tylenol and the headache subsides. 3. Supernaturally – as in, you pray for healing and He heals you. I am sure there are as many different opinions on this as there are stars in the sky so no worries if you disagree. We can still be friends.) We had tried the natural method of waiting it out. We had tried some medicines to alleviate the discomfort and congestion. And, while it’s usually the first thing we do, we hadn’t really prayed for his healing.
As I handed Matt some medicine I prayed for him to receive a healing that would come so quickly that he would be able to go to church with us. I left him and said I’d be back in fifteen minutes to check on him. Before that time was up, he had already showered and joined me in the living room. He said he felt pretty good and was going to head to praise team rehearsal.
I was excited that he was going to go, as there’s something really special about attending church as a family. Even more special because it was Easter. The morning went well and we even got a few cute family pictures after church. During lunch at the Food Court I noticed Matt was crashing hard. He only ate about half his lunch and he headed home as soon as he could. By the time I got home he and Parker were already asleep.
Monday he felt sick enough that I took him to the clinic and he was diagnosed with a viral infection and told that it would last about 10 days. He was given pass to stay home the next day and told to come back if it got worse.
Tuesday he was thankful he wasn’t required to go to work because he still felt horrible, and on Wednesday he was absolutely no better. In fact, he was slightly worse with vomiting added to the list of symptoms. (This was the day I took the bigs to tennis practice while Matt was unable to move.) I called the clinic and described the symptoms and they called in an additional medicine, one the doctor had originally meant to give Matt on Monday. It really didn’t matter much as Matt wasn’t able to hold down water or gatorade, much less medicine.
After all the tennis practices were over I just had a feeling Matt needed fluids. I had been severely dehydrated during my pregnancy with Parker and recall the immediate relief I felt as the fluids entered my body in a way that my body wouldn’t reject. Matt was at the point where he needed fluids but couldn’t keep them in so I asked my angel-friend, Evelyn, to watch the bigs so they wouldn’t have to go with us to the ER. She agreed and blessed us immeasurably.
I took Parker with me because I also wanted him to be seen as he had had a fever for several days.
In the following picture you can see one of the first smiles I’d seen in a week. I think it was due to two things: 1. Finally having some relief from the nausea even after only being hooked up to the IV for 30 minutes and 2. Finally knowing something was being done to help him feel better. Lying in the bed was not getting him any closer to health and this was actually helping!
We got Matt all settled in and once he was hooked up to and IV and had blood drawn for testing, I took Parker down to the kinderklinik for his evaluation. We were there for a couple of hours when I finally broke down and let him out of his stroller. (I never let him out of his stroller but especially when we’re at a hospital where germs are EVERYWHERE.) He played hard and found no problems with the language barrier between himself and the other sick kids there.
When Parker had been checked out and released with a prescription we headed back up to Matt, who was having X-rays taken of his chest. Those turned out to be clear.
A few hours later the nurse and doctor came in and said that they felt that because there was infection in his blood that he needed to stay overnight, receiving more fluids and to have tests done the next day. Both of us had expected this and Matt had even brought his bag of clothes for this very reason. Once he was in his real room for the night I left him there and went home to Skype with my parents for a while. Parker and I got in the bed around 2:00 am, I believe, and slept until 9:30 the next morning.
Thursday morning I checked in with Matt and he told me that they were not letting him eat anything but were also not telling him when the tests would be done or when he would be allowed to eat. I was happy to hear that he had an appetite and determined that if that were the case, my diagnosis was right after all: dehydration.
Our friends, the Evans family, scooped up the bigs so I could visit Matt with only one child in tow. Huge relief, and we were very thankful for that! I packed a cooler with the makings for sandwiches along with some snacks and drinks for us to enjoy a strange hospital-bed picnic. Matt was grateful for food and actually had the energy to play an entire game of Hill rummy. He hadn’t had the energy for that in over a week! Definitely an improvement. (Notice the cards were German-style: Kings = H; Queens = V; and Jacks = B. I had purchased them in the gift shop since the deck we usually leave in the car had disappeared.)
By 3:30 we had still not heard what the plan was so I headed out to the nurses station and told them that Matt was ready to go home and that we’d like to see the doctor. I asked when he/she would be around and the nurse wouldn’t give me the time. I didn’t know this but the lady sitting off to the side was to be Matt’s doctor and when I wouldn’t leave the issue alone, she piped in and said that she would be by in a while. When, an hour later she came in, Cory had just arrived to visit with Matt. He saved the say by taking a bored Parker out of the room and on and walk so Matt and I could speak with the doctor without distraction.
She wanted to do a sonogram on Matt’s stomach either that day or the next, and wanted to schedule an endoscopy for either the next day or early next week. We were not okay with either suggestion. Matt was fully convinced that his main issue was dehydration and he told the doctor that he was really glad they had given him the fluids. She tried to convince him to stay one more night but he stood his ground and she let him out.
While waiting for the paperwork to be completed, I gave Matt and Cory time to chat, and took Parker on a walk. He had been in his stroller the entire day and had not yet napped. It wasn’t going to happen at this point so we took a walk down to the kinderklinik to play at at the little wooden playhouse. While we were there a gentleman came off the elevator with a little girl, maybe six years old, who was so weak she could barely sit upright in her wheel chair. She had an IV thing in her hand but was not currently hooked up to it. She wanted to play and the man got her out but after three or four steps, her legs buckled under her. The man caught her before she hit the floor and placed her back in her chair. The short four-step walk had weakened her and she literally about fell off the side of the chair. My heart ached seeing such a weak child. Parker, sick as he had been for the past seven days, had never looked so weak. I was reminded that my family is healthy and I thanked the Lord for that blessing. I also prayed specifically for those in my life I know who are struggling with sicknesses and recoveries. Situations that last more than a week… some are life-long battles my friends and family face. Our little bout with infection, dehydration, and virus is nothing in comparison.
Upon his release we left the hospital we went straight to pick up our bigs, who honestly, hadn’t missed Matt a bit. They were having fun playing with their friend who was out on Spring Break! From there we went to get our mail and we had dinner at the WAAF food court, where Matt ate three pieces of pizza. Yep. Definite improvement.
That night he got the first good night of sleep he’d had in over a week. The next morning he woke up weak but feeling so much better. He still had a headache but said that it was less severe than earlier in the week.
Today (Saturday) we actually went on a four or five mile walk from our house through downtown Wiesbaden. He’s actually shopping now, all by himself, trying to make up for the time spent in the cabin, I guess. That cabin fever can do a number on a man used to working outside the home!
Thank you to those who watched the boys, brought us a meal, and offered to help in any way we needed. We are incredibly blessed by the offers that came our way and we want you to know that your prayers were felt.