Tuesday was the first day of school in our county. And this year we decided I would homeschool all the kids. We've had 2-4 in homeschool every year since having kids but never all 6.
Why? Tons of reasons but mostly because I felt they were not getting the education they deserved. They were not being taught what I wanted them taught. They were struggling in certain areas. There are no appropriate choices for middle schools here. I don't believe in Core Curriculum. The list goes on and on.
Jacob is 9th, Kaley 8th, Sam 6th, Luke 5th, Zoe 3rd and Manny preschool. So quite the spread!
The day went great. We eased into it by doing rules, expectations, reward system, schedule and organization. I'm quite pleased with what we've come up with so far and I included them in all of decisions.
At 5 I headed out to meet Denise for dinner. She is the President of the Board of AVA and is in town for a project. Dinner was nice. We chatted for hours and could have talked for days... all about Vascular Access (I wrote the blog about the general topic recently.)
9pm headed home and cleaned the house a bit for the project and tucked all the kids in bed. Everything seemed normal.
By 11:30 I was exhausted and ready to head to bed. Dan comes in and says that he had just been prompted to look outside and noticed a small fire on our patio by the pool. He was quickly able to put it out. Turns out the kids had left on a fan and it overheated or something. The crazy part is that it just shouldn't have caught fire. The scary part is realizing if he'd looked 5 minutes earlier or 5 minutes later it might have been too late. This fire was inches from our house. It's also crazy that he didn't go jogging. He normally would have been on a jog at that time and I would have been alone in the house with the 6 kids sleeping as the fire started.
We prayed and thanked God for alerting us to the fire and for keeping us safe. We realize it's only His faithfulness that kept us from losing everything material.
Meanwhile, Manny was asleep in Kaley's bed. We often put him there to play at bedtime and he falls asleep there. We move him once he drifts off. Dan and I decided to let him stay just a bit longer and that I'd go to sleep. Dan would wake me up in an hour or so when he moved him to our room. (I put on the bipap and pulse ox.)
I laid down. After about 15 minutes I got this feeling like we should move Manny sooner than later. So Dan went to get him. It was midnight by now. Dan commented on how sweaty Manny was as he carried him. I thought nothing of it as Manny had been running a low grade fever earlier in the day and I thought maybe his fever broke. As I went to put on his bipap, I noticed his eyes looked "strange". (Yes, eyes can look strange even when they're closed.) Dan even commented on it. Still didn't register anything unusual.
As I reached to put on his bipap, I felt his head and noticed that not only was he sweating profusely, he was freezing and clammy. And it hit me!! I KNOW THIS CONSTELLATION OF SYMPTOMS!!
For those long term readers, remember how we arrived to Denver? This was the same thing! I immediately tested his blood sugar and knew it would be bad when he didn't react to the needle puncture. That was a long 8 second countdown. His level? 19. That's right folks! Critically low.
It was at that moment that I looked at his TPN pump and realized it wasn't going. Later we would discover a human error that made the pump not be delivering his TPN. We truly don't know how long he was off but clearly ... it was TOOO long!
Dan started praying as I started thinking about what options I had. No way to get sugar in his mouth or gtube. But I have a bag of TPN sitting right there. It's got what they call D20 in it. It's not quite enough but I can probably make it work. I put in a call to my home health nurse but don't get through. We consider calling 911 but I don't think he has that long. I hook him up to the TPN but it starts with a one hour ramp up. So it starts at a rate of .1 and it takes an hour to get to full speed. So I do the no-no thing of reprogramming the pump to skip the ramp up. We wait 5 minutes. I retest his blood sugar and it's 20. So nothing!
I wrack my brain at how to get it to him faster and realize that the rate of delivery is contingent upon the volume of the bag. His bag volume is 1499 and his top rate is 75. So I reprogram it for a 3000 volume bag which would make a rate of 150. And it works. I have no clue how I thought of this as I'm not even allowed to program the pump without the help of a Pharm-D. So I certainly was never trained for this kind of thing. And while in panic mode.
I waited 10 minutes. If this didn't work, I had 911 already punched in. But thankfully, at the next test, he flinched so I knew it was working and his blood sugar was 96. (Perfection.) I reprogrammed the pump back to normal and then we sat there in shock. I was numb.
Let's say that I didn't get much sleep that night, checking on him every 5 minutes it seemed.
Wednesday 8am I got up and tried to slap on some makeup and clean the house a bit. By 10 I had a camera crew coming to the house to do a video about Vascular Access. 6 people and 3 cameras. This is my passion. This message is really important. My friend and vascular access nurse Stephanie and I were asked to share a bit about the AVA Foundation (www.Ava-foundation.net). I'll share the video when it gets edited.
Hopefully something coherent came out of it. I just know my brain was in the back room with my little guy. By noon he still hadn't woken up. Eventually he did and seemed fine.
Inbetween takes of the video I was trying to keep the 6 kids quiet and happy. I was calling the GI, pharmacist and a few others to tell them what happened. (I had to confess about the pump reprogramming too!) They were all a bit freaked out too.
Truth? He could have easily died. And I knew it.
By 3pm the film crew was loading up for the day. I was starving, realizing I skipped breakfast and lunch. So I made a very early dinner. As I did, I felt the waves keep hitting me. It was the first quiet moment I'd had since the fire the night before. The reality kept washing over me.
In the middle of it, I realized how it was only the faithfulness of God that really stands out. He was faithful to alert us to the fire and to the pump issue. He equipped us to handle the crisis. He is just and faithful and loving and merciful and a bunch of other things.
But ... the part I didn't like? I didn't like knowing about how close we were. He could have easily put out the fire or started a pump. He, somehow, wanted us to be aware of this. And it made me feel so vulnerable and thankful all at the same time.
We told the kids about the fire and the pump. At prayer time, they thanked God for His protection.
By 11 that night, only 24 hours after this all started, I found myself talking to Dan and sharing my feelings. I guess I just needed to talk it out.
Thursday morning 9am we were back to school. Sitting in our classroom like nothing had ever happened. But the truth is ... something did. And I can tell you ... out of all these crazy crises we've lived through, I'm forever changed by each one of them.
As I reflect tonight (Thursday) I realize I haven't really thought about the incidents all that much today. The terror didn't wash over me at all today. I'm more at peace with it (still don't like it). But I also realize the astronomical odds that these things were happening simultaneously. And I don't believe in coincidence.
I am not sure what pieced God either added or took away from me yet but I'm sure this was another moment of Him shaping me for His purpose for His Kingdom's use. I'm positive of it. And shaping, while necessary, is painful.
It was quite a day.