Children change your life. Every aspect. Every movement. Every breath you take. It is all changed. Our daughter, Beckett, was born in August 2008 and flipped our world upside down. Priorities shifted. Lifestyles were altered. Blessings were magnified. Her birth and the transition our family made was the catalyst that got this project rolling. When you are given a life, literally a living breathing human being, to care for, the enormity of the responsibility weighs on you. It is heavy. It is all consuming. You, you alone, are responsible for this child – your dear, sweet, innocent, beautifully angelic babe. For all eternity, yours.
This week the Ferry family was dealt a cruel, crushing blow. Beckett had been suffering from a sky rocketing fever for over twelve days. What had appeared to be a common cold on day five had transpired into a full-blown, 24/7 fever that kept hovering on the brink of terrifying. After half a dozen consults with on-call pediatricians, local tests, urine draws and blood workups – we were advised to take Beckett down to Seattle Children’s Hospital. Advised is an apathetic term. Perhaps “ordered” is more in line. We had one hour to pack up, get on the road and we were told to bring two days worth of clothing and gear with us.
Why the rush?
Why the paranoia?
The doctors were fearful that all her symptoms had subsided, but the fever had lingered and was becoming more aggressive with each day. And, children’s hospital had the resources to find out what was wrong and the experts to help find those answers. We were faced with one long night, one catatonically tired family and one brave little girl. After Beckett’s blood was drawn, chest x-rays and physical exams completed, we were isolated to a hospital room and asked to wait.
Wait for the test results.
Wait for a red flag.
Wait for the answer.
Wait. Wait. Wait.
Or, please oh please, wait for a green light and a discharge paper assuring us that she was a-okay. Healthy. Safe.
The test results came rolling back in, one by one. Negative on leukemia. Clear on bacterial meningitis. No signs of Kawasaki’s disease. With every “no” we received my heart climbed a little bit farther out of the pit that was my stomach.
After a long, lonnnng, LONNNG night, we checked out. She was stable. And, the official diagnosis was an unknown virus. Doctor’s orders were to keep a close eye on her and head straight back to the hospital if anything changed. We didn’t have our answers, but we had our assurances that what she had wasn’t scary or big and bad. It was just a virus. The next few days would be touch and go and we’d be watching for any shifts in the weather pattern, but we had ruled out most of the horrible, oh-my-God-this-can’t-be-happening kind of things.
As we drove home the ninety plus miles from the hospital, the car was eerily quiet in the pre-dawn glow. It hit me that the past twelve hours were a parents’ worst nightmare. Some parents don’t get the relieving negative results or the promising no’s. They get life-changing, mind-altering, reality-shifting news that turns ordinary adults into survival warriors fighting for their child’s life. My world could have flipped. Flopped. And, then come crashing down. But, it didn’t. We took home our healthy, sweet, beautiful, delightful, infectiously adorable daughter. Yes, my healthy, perfectly alright, albeit unknown virus suffering daughter home. Home. Home. Home.
As an addendum to this post, I want to share with you an organization that has had a life-changing effect on myself and the decisions I make regarding my child’s environment. Healthy Child Healthy World is an organization focused on spreading the awareness about what’s in our children’s homes, toys, clothing and environment. The founders, Nancy and James Chuda, lost their four year-old daughter Colette to a voracious form of cancer known as Wilm’s Tumor. Wilm’s tumor is a non-genetic, environmentally triggered cancer that is spurred by the mother’s exposure to pesticides while the child is in utero. This was not a case of poor genetics, bad parenting or erroneous judgment. Colette’s cancer COULD HAVE BEEN PREVENTED. As parents and human beings, the Chudas cannot turn back the clock, but they can help prevent this from happening to any more children. Please watch the following video. I promise you that won’t regret it.