This last week baby and I joined my Joe on the road. For those of you that might not know, our family delivers for Azure Standard to the midwest. My husband delivers two of the routes, our son, Jedidiah, and his wife and son do two routes and then three other men help us complete the routes that travel through 14 states. We get to know some very dear and precious families along the way. This last week was an opportunity for us to meet them in person, talk with them, and express our thanks to them. It was Monday, when we finally stopped in Dubuque IA. We were greeted with hugs and fresh home made bread and cookies. They were the “best cookies’ my Joe told me. The bread was perfect with the gift of home made Apple Butter that had been given to us just a few stops before. Baby was so excited to be with daddy. He loved to get in the back of the trailer and help as daddy unloaded. I enjoyed taking him for walks and meeting the other children who accompanied their parents to the drop.
Tuesday, we visited communities across the state of Illinois. There were many families that came out just to say hello and thank you to us… that was humbling. We know how thankful we are for them; to hear we are in return a blessing to them was humbling. Baby would play with his teddy while sitting in his car seat across the table from me while Joe would drive to the next drop. I would work on my laptop as needed. I enjoyed the conversation with both my husband and baby.
Wednesday morning we arrived in the town of Larwill Indiana where a mother shared with me how our lives had encouraged her family with their adoption. Another woman came to me wanting to hear Daniel’s story and genuinely committed to pray for us and for our sweet son. The realization that what we do is about so much more than delivering food families can afford and trust was made obvious throughout the entire trip. A gift of bath goodies was given to me… boy am I going to enjoy using them. I promise myself, I will find the time! Wedenesday evening we had traveled through much of Indiana. We were able to visit with some old friends from CA and see how fast time flies. It really feels like her kids grow faster than mine!
Thursday our travels continued through Illinois, receiving a gift of bread from a little boy who asked his mommy if he could use his own money to buy us a gift to accompany the card he made for us. We were given other gifts from many cheerful faces as we traveled through some beautiful old communities in the Midwest. Our last drop was in Decatur Illinois. Where we were able to share conversation and hugs with a precious young couple we’ve been getting to know online. It’s been a great joy to pray for them as they expect their first baby. From there we went to the Hampton Inn in Bloomington IL. The place was wonderfully welcoming. As we went through the large entrance, Christmas music was playing. We were so happy to end our trip at such an inviting establishment.
But then “life” happened…. You know, that moment when life takes the unexpected turn that you least expected? Ya, that “life” happened.
I had run in and confirmed our room for the night, Joe and baby were in the truck waiting for me to get our hotel bag ready. (We had been staying in hotels each night and instead of bringing everything in we only brought what we needed) I was so excited about our choice of hotel. I was sharing with Joe how pretty and inviting everything was. He ordered up dinner from a restaurant that I enjoy and of course it was my favorite meal. Baby was happy to be calling it a a day before 8pm.
The back of my Joe’s truck is set up much like an RV. There is a refrigerator, closet, and a bed that makes out into a table and benches. I had placed our suitcase on the table, baby stood on the bench and helped me take items out for our night stay. He was laughing and playing as Joe and I stood just inches from him. Suddenly he slipped. I still don’t understand how but he got himself in a position that was head down and bottom in the air (imagine him folded in half at the waist) wanting to make sure he didn’t fall and hit the floor I caught him by his head and gently lifted him up. “Boom Boom” I said, thinking this was nothing but was probably scary to him. Instantly he began to scream. I knew he was in pain; it was the same cry he has each time he hits his G-tube on something. I checked his G tube to make sure it was still connected and hadn’t snagged on anything. It looked fine but the crying continued as he looked at me puzzled. I sat holding him, talking calming, and giving him his binkie, silk blanket, and teddy. We decided to go right into our room and get baby settled. Joe finished packing once we were inside and went to get our order for dinner. I couldn’t eat but a bite. Baby was so upset and trying to sleep it off. Throughout the night I was careful with his continuous tube feeding watching for anything that might be wrong. He slept for brief moments off and on. I just kept praying and wondering what happened, he didn’t even hit the floor or anything else.
The next morning, Joe and I both greeted our son with smiles but he didn’t respond his normal happy self. As Joe reached over to hold him we noticed that he was holding his right leg up close to him and screamed if we touched it. Instantly, we knew… it’s not his G-tube bothering him, it’s his leg! I rushed around getting ready, Joe rushed getting all our stuff put into our bags and out in the truck. We stopped by the clerks desk as we checked out asking where the nearest hospital was. Joe and I had been praying the Lord would direct our steps and lead the right people to us. The hospital was only a mile away. We talked about what to do and finally decided. Joe would drop baby and I off at the hospital. He would finish his deliveries for the day and would come back to get us.
We walked into the hospital. No one appeared to be waiting. The receptionist greeted us and took us back to a room immediately. There we were greeted by two nurses. As we went through the previous nights events we came to Daniels medical history. The one nurse didn’t know what Duchenne’s was, the other knew and instantly had that look that she knew more than text books had to say about it. As both nurses left the room, the one stayed behind and said, “My two nephews just passed away from Duchenne’s. One was 21 the other was 19.” I sincerely replied that I was sorry for her loss. What are the odds of that? I knew the Lord had directed our steps. X-rays were taken and the doctor concluded that our son probably just had a pulled muscle. When I questioned why he would be in so much pain it was contributed to Daniel having Duchenne. I find that doctors most often throw that answer into every question I ask… it really frustrates me by the way. Well, maybe I was being a paranoid mom. Maybe my baby really wasn’t hurting as bad as I thought.
While waiting for the results to come back, the nurse sat with me and shared. She stroked my son’s hair and commented on how beautiful he was. I shared how faithful God was and is- even when He doesn’t chose to heal- He is still faithful! She asked me questions about our decision to adopt, our other children and if I had any regrets. “Regrets? No… not one!” I told her, “I haven’t slept a single night through in the last 18 months but I wouldn’t trade one good night of sleep for a single moment with my children.” Just think, God picked me to serve and be the mother to these children… out of all the other women He could have used, despite the fact that He Knows me and my every weakness, He chose me!’ I desire nothing more than to pour my entire being into serving as wife, mother, and most importantly a handmaiden of the Lord! As she walked us out of the hospital she commented on how nice it was to meet and talk and then she said, “I normally don’t work in this department” as she showed her badge to me she said, “I am normally in the OB and was just filling in today- I’m sure glad I did.” I smiled. In my heart I whispered to the Lord… “You direct our steps!” I remain confident that God did direct our steps even though we didn’t get the help we needed God did what He wanted to do!
Joe had already delivered to Bloomington. People there at the drop were eager to help us. Calls were made to the hospital as they checked on our son, calls were made to our home for updates and to express their love. We felt very loved and prayed for! Joe was in a nearby town about 30 miles away. He pondered if he should turn around and come get us. If he turned around he would end up running out of DOT hours and we would be another day from home. A couple at the drop offered to help him by coming and getting baby and I. Joe could keep on his route and they would bring us to him where ever we needed to be. What a treasure! People we had only met online and served through monthly Azure deliveries were willing to sacrifice their time, and resources to help us.
I enjoyed the conversation with this precious family as we traveled to meet my Joe. How encouraging it is to speak with others who put their Hope in the Lord.
Finally we were reunited with my Joe. We continued through the day being ever so careful with baby. It was clear to us that this was more than a pulled muscle but I’ve been accused more than once about being an over reacting mother. Joe confirmed my doubt about the report the hospital had given us. Their instruction had told us to wait three days. Joe agreed we couldn’t wait three days like this. I called our local doctor as we were still two states away. The nurse who has grown very use to me said, “Jeanette, if you’re not comfortable don’t hesitate to bring him into the hospital when you get to town.” Joe and I continued to pray and care for baby as we made our way home.
It was 10:30 on Friday night when we finally pulled into Topeka, Our semi truck took up a row of parking at the local emergency room as we carried baby who was still strapped in his car seat into the hospital. (we found that if we didn’t move him and allowed him to remain seated in his car seat his pain was less). It was just a few moments before they called us back. We explained the situation and the testing and the tears began… baby was hurting and that made me hurt. The staff was kind, supportive and did all they could to help baby get comfortable. Finally, the results came back… baby had a spiral hairline fracture of his femur. “WHY!? Why did the other hospital miss this!” I asked. They explained it was very hard to see but with their new computer system they were able to magnify the film and clearly see the problem. Thank you Lord for leading us to a hospital with this new computer system! Joe and I had a sense of shock… if you had been there to see the fall you would be surprised too. He didn’t even hit anything. We asked the doctors how he could have broke it and explained the event to them. The only suggestion they have is that maybe with me watching for his head and picking him up that way we didn’t see that his leg was stuck on something and twisted. Whatever the reason, this is where we were and now we had the issue of being put under anesthesia.
Do you know what Malignant Hyperthermia is? I know I didn’t before Daniel’s last surgery. We were told multiple times, “Daniel is prone for Malignant Hyperthermia do not ever let anyone put him to sleep without the proper precautions or death can occur. Even with all their precautions and steps take to avoid problems Daniel still had a reaction in his last surgery back in August. I still remember standing there as they all worked with him. His heart raced his temperature continued to climb and all I could think is that it was my fault… I know with my head it wouldn’t have been but I can’t stop feeling that way sometimes.
I was afraid I was being “one of those patients” as I persisted that no one would set the bone in Daniels leg until the last hospital was called for instructions on how to clean the operating room. I would sign no consent form until I was absolutely positive they understood what they were dealing with. I told them, “Sorry isn’t going fix it if you mess up. A law suit won’t bring my son back. I want to know that everyone is very aware of the situation and taking all the necessary precautions. I don’t mind staying another day if we need to so the operating room can be cleaned properly to ensure no residue of medication that could cause my son to deal with MH.” After several hours, I spoke with everyone involved, the last hospital Daniel had surgery at was called and instructions were given to the staff we were working with. They took the steps necessary and called in two anesthesiologists to care for Daniel. No surgery would be needed to set the bone but he did have to be put to sleep so they could set and cast the leg.
As I signed the papers and talked to the anesthesiologist he said, “You know I am probably the only one here that has dealt with this before. It’s been years since I’ve seen a case and just last week I had a MH situation and now your son.” I replied, “Isn’t God good to give you that reminder last week before my son was brought to you today.”
Daniel went through the procedure just fine. He had no reaction to the anesthesia like he had the time before. His pain medication was working, his leg and abdomen are now in a cast that leaves just enough room for his feeding tube.
So, now we recover…
Daniel is expected to be in the cast for 4 weeks. He can’t bend at the waist, he aches when he is moved so we try not to move him often and always use great care. He is happy to be home and smiles each time his siblings come in the room. He wants me to hold him but when I try it must hurt because he begins to hold onto me tightly and cries. Instead I’ve started laying beside him where he keeps reaching over and holding my hand. He reaches for daddy each time he passes by. My Joe stops kisses him, and talks words of comfort to him.
My thoughts are filled with praise to the God who is faithful in the midst of these life events, when life takes those unexpected turns. I think sometimes I see His faithfulness as he fixes those “wrong” turns or removes those trials but the truth is, He is faithful in the midst of them!
Because of Him,
Mrs. Joseph Wood