Having children changes everything, especially one's understanding of the term vacation. Webster defines vacation as: a scheduled period during which activity (as of a court or school) is suspended. Here's how I now define vacation: taking care of your children in a foreign place, without your normal stuff/gear and lacking the benefits of a schedule.
Don't get me wrong - our trip to Pigeon Forge, Tennessee for a family reunion had many wonderful parts. Seeing my mom's side of the family together was wonderful. Meeting new babies, seeing the babies from the last reunion now grown is always neat. Our family's Sunday morning church service was a real highlight. The sweet sounds of us all singing praises to the Lord and enjoying true fellowship - priceless. My uncle and cousin delivered powerful messages. We even had a song that we all sang which was mostly based on Alison Krauss's, "Down to the River to Pray."The church where we had our church service.
We had a great cabin nestled high in a mountain. It was truly breathtaking and the Lord's glory was literally everywhere you look. In our cabin was also my sister and her family as well as my mom. We really had a great time.
Me and my girl cousins.
So... here's the rest of the story.
Josiah started to look like he had a little cold late last week. When we left on Friday, he was pretty cranky and cried/screamed at least two of the almost 9 hours we were in the car (the ride should have been no more than 6 1/2 hours). This is very un-Si like. His eyes were glassy and he looked like he was getting a cold. He was up every two hours the first night. Ugh!!!!
Fast forward to Sunday and we start to think Jon David might be feeling a little under the weather. Sunday night we had a great party with about 25 of my relatives (Bingo, board games, etc.). The boys slept soundly upstairs which was a miracle because we were far from quiet. Just as the adults were heading to bed, I hear Jon David wake up with a croupy-cough. We've done the "croup dance" quite a few times and I felt like I knew what to do: keep him calm, take him to the bathroom and run the shower, get some steriods ordered to a pharmacy near our cabin in the morning.
Within about 15 minutes, our normal croup symptoms got very serious. Jon David became extremely agitated - so much so that I thought he was about to have a seizure. His lips turned purple as his chest heaved with him trying to catch his breath. I could barely get near him to try and comfort him and it was very clear very quickly that we had a real problem on our hands. JD called our pediatrician as well as 911. One, we needed help with his breathing ASAP and two, we were on top of a dark mountain in a town we didn't know. We did not have time to drive around looking for a hospital.
Somewhat comidic moment: I was finally able to hold him and keep him in the bathroom near the steamy shower (singing our reunion anthem over and over and over). I was in one of JD's shirts and lacking shorts/pants. I did not have time to grab shorts as I was trying to keep Jon David from hurting himself as he was jerking around the room. So, here come the EMS guys and I'm just hoping that my shirt is covering my undies. My sweet sister (click here for her version of the night) quietly enters the room and places some towels around me in the hope of helping me maintain some modesty. (Thank you, Cindy!). I trust the EMS guys were not terribly distracted by my attire.
The view from our cabin.
Well, they administer a breathing treatment right there and inform me that they need to get my boy to the hospital asap. Oh, and with all that's going on, Josiah wakes up. No, he did not wake up during our 4-hour house party. But, now he's up and I can't do a thing for him. I am thankful that my mom and sister were there to help get him back to sleep. Back to my big boy - he and I take an ambulance ride and I'm trying to make it like some field trip in an attempt to get him calm. He started to relax and I'm hopeful that we'll be home soon. The EMS guy tells me that the local hospital does not have a pediatric unit and we'll probably have to be transfer us an hour away to Knoxville's children hospital.
Things got worse when we arrived at the local hospital as Jon David became super agitated again. Though I was laying in the hospital bed with him and holding him tightly, he kept calling for me to hold him. My slightest movements sent him into a tizzy and made his labored breathing that much worse. In the course of 5 hours, he had 5 doses of steriods, numerous breathing treatments, lots of oxygen, 2 shots, 3 x-rays, a flu test with something stuck up his nose, his throat swabbed and a rectal temperature taken. The poor guy was literally exhausted. Plus, none of us really got any sleep. FINALLY, his breathing stabilized and we arrived home at 7 am (just in time for me to feed Josiah).
So, this croup episode was one for the record books. We were told by numerous people that the air quality in the area was the worst in the country which probably took this croup thing to the next level. Our pediatrician is referring us to a pediatric pulmonologist and I'm encouraged to have more information and a more proactive approach.
Oh, and what of little Si - he has pink eye and a virus that left him with sore tonsils that had puss on them. He was so pitiful and sick. I joked that his boogers had boogers.
We're home now and on the road to recovery.
I am thankful that the good Lord allowed us to enjoy His beautiful creation in Tennessee. I am beyond thankful for my sweet family and the wonderful reunion. I am endebted to my mom and sister for taking care of Josiah. I am humbled by my kind brother-in-law who drove JD to the hospital and stayed ALL night with us.
While all this was happening early Monday morning, I recalled the message the Lord laid upon my cousin to share with us. Dereck pointed to the glorious mountains and talked about perspective. You see, God does not change. He was not suddenly out of control when my oldest son was in dire need of immediate medical attention. God is in control and He loves us. When we take our eyes off of Him, we lose perspective which is never a good thing. I kept thinking to myself, "Keep perspective. The same God you sang praises to this morning at church is here at this very moment, loving you, loving your boy. Keep your eyes on Him (Isaiah 26:3)."
And as far as my new understanding of the word vacation. Vacations may not look at all like they did when we were DINKs (double-income-no-kids) BUT that's okay.