First of all, thank you for your prayers and words of encouragement. It was such a blessing to know that I had friends literally all over the world praying for me. I’m sure many of you are wondering what exactly happened and why I was in the hospital, so I decided to revive my poor, neglected blog to fill you in and let you know some of the things I am learning from this process.
On Thursday, November 14, I developed common virus symptoms: chills, fever, cough, and nausea. By Monday, things were getting worse so I went to the doctor. I couldn’t get in to see my primary care doctor, so I saw an assistant who assumed I just had a bad virus and sent me home to rest and get fluids. By Thursday of that week, things were worse. My fever was rising and I couldn’t get it down. I went back to see my primary care doctor and she had an x-ray done on my lungs and assumed I had pneumonia. She gave me antibiotics and told me to come back the next day. I couldn’t keep the antibiotics down and my situation grew even worse. On Friday (Nov. 22), I was too weak to walk and I couldn’t even keep a sip of water down. Danny took me back to the doctor where they discovered my body had basically crashed. My blood pressure was down to 65 over 40, my sodium levels where dangerously low, and my liver function was off. They hooked me to an IV and checked me into the hospital.
The first few nights in the hospital were really challenging. The doctors could not figure out what was wrong with me and they were not able to put an end to my fevers and nausea. I couldn’t sleep or eat, I received a blood transfusion and countless tests and procedures. However, Tuesday was a turn-around day for me. The doctors at the hospital were able to find a rheumatologist to come out to the hospital (apparently it’s very difficult to get rheumatologist to leave their practices and pay hospital visits). This doctor was able to look at my numbers and see right away that I wasn’t experiencing a virus, but a severe lupus flare (it might have began with a virus the previous week). Immediately, they stopped giving me antibiotics and started giving me steroids instead. The fevers left and my numbers started to slowly stabilize. This doctor stayed and talked to Danny and me for a long time and he agreed to take me on as his patient. We truly feel like he is an answer to years of prayer and I am excited about the treatment plan he has for my future.
On Tuesday I was also able to get a pick line which is like a fishing line that ran through my arm to a vein near my chest. Before that, my arms were bruising under the pressure of my weak veins and all of the blood work that I had done. I had two IV catheters literally fall out of my arms and I had begun to panic when I saw the techs approach with needles. The pick line was a true blessing.
My parents came up from Alabama and helped with the kids (and my mom and Danny took turns spending the night with me in the hospital). When they left, my brother and one of my nephews came. It was so nice to have family around. I was released on Thanksgiving afternoon and I was able to enjoy a meal that dear friends brought by and watch Auburn’s crazy win a few days later. Yesterday I went back to the hospital for one final procedure: a biopsy on my kidneys. I should know the results by next week and my instructions until then are to rest, rest, rest. I’m still weak, but I’m so glad that I get to recover at home.
In no particular order, here are a few things I have learned (or have been reminded of) through this process:
1. I married a good man. Danny has been a rock and a humble servant through this whole process. I am truly blessed.
2. Children are a blessing from the Lord. There was absolutely no better medicine in the world than the visits and hugs from the precious three I get to call my own. I was blown away by their bold prayers and I was ministered to by their sweet presence.
3. Laughter is good medicine. My sister, my sister-in-law, and I had a running text message joke about the hospital gowns. When everything was so serious, I really needed some silliness and I’m thankful for those goofy jokes.
4. Music is powerful. When I was too nauseated to read or watch TV, I could listen to music. Hymns were balm to my soul.
5. We have a loving community here. We left such an incredible community in Boston and I missed my friends there so much that I didn’t notice that God is also building a community for us here. I have been so blessed these past two weeks by our Raleigh friends and neighbors and I am so thankful. We have meals coming all this week.
6. Liturgy is a good thing. On nights when I couldn’t concentrate to make my own coherent prayer, I prayed the Lord’s prayer. I don’t remember ever intentionally memorizing it, but all of those years of saying it week in and week out at church ingrained it in my mind.
7. All of God’s ways are good. His mercies are new every morning. Every. Single. Morning.