Journey to Judah: Part 9 - The Hospital, 2

Journey to Judah: Part 9 - The Hospital, 2

May 16-17, 2018

When we finally escaped (okay, so maybe I’m a little dramatic) the first hospital, we had planned on going to a children’s hospital. As Ernest was driving, he asked if we wanted to go to the children’s hospital or to the new “American” hospital in Hyderabad. After our experience at the first hospital, the word “American” was very enticing. Yes, please give us some of that medical care. 

The “American” hospital was about 45 minutes away. Upon arrival, we were taken to a triage area. Marcus went to fill out more paperwork while I waited for a doctor. Judah was pretty fussy, and each time he cried, some random person would peek around the curtain to stare at us. It seems that there are not as many personal boundaries in India. During this time, I finally thought about what I was wearing: hot pink Capri sweatpants and a t-shirt...in this super conservative, super traditional area of India. At least I had found a hair tie to tame my bedhead, but I still (briefly) wondered what people might be thinking each time they peeked around the curtain at us. 

Once the doctor came in, we explained what had happened that morning, and we discussed the details of the previous hospital. 
Did they give him any medicine?
No. 
Did they give him any fluids?
No. 
Did they do an EEG?
No.
Did they give you any paperwork?
No. 

I could have answered NO to several more questions like: Did you see a doctor? Did they take his temperature? Did they do much at all besides show him YouTube videos? But, they didn’t ask any of those questions. 

Upon hearing that his seizure lasted at least 4 minutes and that it occurred on the 5th day of an illness, the doctor was concerned that there may be something else going on other than a febrile seizure, even though he did have a really a high fever at the time of his seizure. The doctor recommended that we admit Judah for observation and further testing. He was also going to try to get our lab results from the previous hospital. 

As we walked into our room in the second PICU of the day, things were already starting off better than at the other hospital. For one, this place LOOKED like a typical hospital that you would see in the US- not an abandoned medical ward out of an old horror movie. Yeah, I know, don’t judge things by their appearance, but the appearance alone brought me some comfort in this situation. There was air conditioning and the linens were cleaner this time. We were allowed to keep our shoes on, and we did not have to wear recycled robes worn by who knows how many other people. The nurse got us settled into our single room, and she told us that a doctor would be in shortly. She also told us that there was a cafeteria and a Subway downstairs. Yep, things were definitely looking up. 

After a few minutes, the doctor came in and let us know that the other hospital refused to release any lab results to them because we left against their advice. That meant that they would have to take more blood from Judah at this hospital. The doctor also wanted to start an IV line to give him fluids because they were seeing signs of dehydration. After our horrible experience with needles at the first hospital, my stomach twisted into knots at this news, but I hoped that this time it would be less traumatizing for everyone. 

A small team came in to do the blood draw and put in the IV. Once again, we were asked to leave the room. More knots in my stomach. This time, though, we were escorted to chairs down the hall while a curtain was pulled closed in Judah’s room and the glass door was closed as well. We couldn’t see a thing this time, but we could still hear our baby boy. For 30 minutes, once again, we listened to him scream hysterically while doctors and nurses came in and out of that room. For 30 minutes, even though I couldn’t see it, I envisioned a repeat of the horrendous scene that I had witnessed at the first hospital. For 30 minutes, I (once again) cried along with my son. Every 5 to 10 minutes, Marcus would walk down the hall toward the room, but each time he was told, “It will be a few more minutes. Please have a seat.” 

(Judah has had his blood drawn twice since being home, and both times it has taken less than 1 minute. He’s had 1 IV line placed since coming home, which took just a couple of minutes. Those procedures took 1/30 the time in the US and cost more than 100 times the price we paid in India. I will gladly pay the more expensive price for the rest of my life to never see my son go through that again. We are still dealing with some medical trauma issues stemming from India. The bloodcurdling screams begin the moment we step foot into a doctors office. I want to react the same way, but I’m an adult and usually hold myself together.)

Finally, after 30 minutes, someone pulled the curtain back and opened the door. We rushed down the hall to see our son. This time, he only had 4 extra puncture marks (as opposed to 8 at the first hospital) and his IV line was in his hand instead of his foot. Judah was inconsolable for about 30 minutes after this procedure. Cue superheroes rushing in with “Johnny Johnny” playing on YouTube again. Cue doctor after doctor and nurse after nurse coming into the room and asking us, “What’s wrong with him!? Why is he crying?” Cue me biting my tongue and trying my best not to scream at every single one of them, “HE’S A SICK BABY! You tell US what’s wrong with him!!” Let’s recap the day: 4+ minute seizure, 3 hospitals who turned us away, a 35-minute blood draw, a nightmare of a 4th hospital, high fevers, no food, driving 45 more minutes to a 5th hospital, another 30-minute blood draw, a 2nd IV, and no naps. The doctors were lucky that I wasn’t the one screaming and crying at that point. 

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It was nearing midnight by the time we got him calmed down, and finally, the longest day of my life was almost over. I climbed into the bed with Judah and gave him a bottle, hoping it would help him go to sleep. The bed in this PICU was still an adult sized bed, but it at least had rails on both sides. A nurse came in and checked Judah’s vitals. She put stickers on his chest and back and hooked him up to a monitor. The nurse started a bag of IV fluids and gave him some fever reducer for his elevated temperature. I let out a deep sigh of relief because, despite the blood draw, we were already getting better care here. 

I felt better, that is, until the power went out. Thankfully, it only went dark for a few seconds and then a backup system went into effect and dim lights came back on. Every machine in the PICU seemed to beep at once, signaling that they had power again. It was nice to know that keeping power wouldn’t be an issue in this building. We’d had enough of that already. Thankfully, the lights only went out one other time during our stay at this hospital. 

After the power was back on, a nurse told us that only 1 adult at a time could be in the room with our son. Maybe this is protocol in other PICUs, but I did NOT want Marcus to leave me, and there was NO way I was leaving my son. She also told us that we couldn’t store our bags in this room and that we needed to take them home and come back. After explaining that we didn’t have a car and that the apartment we were staying in was over an hour away, she told us to keep them in the waiting area instead. 

I had to use the restroom anyway, so I went to check out the waiting area. A security guard escorted me down the hall, around the corner, and down another hallway. There were 2 waiting rooms: 1 for men and 1 for women. The woman’s area was packed with people. A few chairs were scattered along the wall, but most of the room was wide open space. Everyone had their sleeping mats and blankets out, resting on the floor- another reminder that we weren’t in the US. Unfortunately, we had also forgotten to pack our mats.  

I went back to the room and explained the situation to Marcus. He decided to remain in the room with us until someone asked him to leave. Even though I’m a rule follower by nature, I was happy with his decision. We also kept our luggage with us, rather than storing it in the waiting area. Thankfully, no one else said anything about either rule to us that night...even though nurses came in to check on Judah every hour throughout the night. As annoying as it was to be woken up at all hours of the night, I was thankful that they were keeping a close eye on our son after such a scary day. His temperature was taken regularly, fever medication was administered as needed, and IV fluids were pushed throughout the night while we waited on his lab results to come back. I slept off and on in the bed with Judah in my arms. Marcus slept off and on in one of the chairs in the room. It was a restless night, but we felt safe and praised God that we didn’t see another seizure. 

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Our day started pretty early the next morning with the nurse’s shift change and a reminder that we both couldn’t be in the room at the same time. Thankfully, we were saved by a visit from the pediatrician. He let us know that we would be seeing a neurologist sometime that day. As long as the lab results came back okay and the neurologist cleared Judah, we would be discharged that day. The doctor also said that he would order Judah some breakfast. 

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He ordered Judah some idli, which looks similar to a pancake, but it is made of rice. It was perfect because Judah loves idli, and this was the first thing he’d been allowed to eat in over 36 hours. Unfortunately, he still wasn’t feeling very well and only ate about half of one piece. Then he puked all over the bed. Maybe we wouldn’t be going home today....

Nurses came to change the sheets and get him cleaned up. They also brought in a cup so I could collect a urine sample. Okay, so I’m new to this whole having a son thing, and maybe all you other veteran boy moms know how to get your 13-month-old son to pee in a cup on command...but I did not have the faintest idea how to go about accomplishing that task. Every hour, a nurse asked for the sample, and we were never able to deliver on their request....even though we tried several strategies. I guess they gave up on us or decided it wasn’t necessary because thankfully, they stopped demanding it. 

Around 10:00 that morning, the neurologist came into our room. He let us know that he wanted to do an EEG. Judah needed to be very still for the test, so we were supposed to let him know when Judah took a nap so they could do the test at that time. Unfortunately, Judah still wasn’t very comfortable in this new place and was still mad about the IV in his arm so he would not go to sleep. We tried giving him a bottle and rocking him, but it didn’t work either. The doctor decided we should give him an oral sedative in order to get the test done. Unfortunately, we had just given him a bottle, and he could not be sedated until 2 hours after putting something in his stomach. By the time they were able to sedate him, it was after lunchtime, and he was hungry. He fought against the sedative much longer than anyone expected because he was so angry. This meant crying and even more nurses with YouTube videos, which he still cared nothing about. In fact, anyone coming into the room other than his mommy or daddy would set him off, making it a vicious cycle of crying and causing us to wish everyone would just leave us alone.  

One of the big blessings of this awful experience was that Judah began to realize that we were “his people.” Before the hospital, Judah would go to anyone who would hold their arms out to him....which was practically everyone we walked past in India. After the hospital, he wanted nothing to do with anyone but us. I know that sounds bad, but it was actually a huge step in him learning to trust us and in his attachment to us.

Finally, Judah succumbed to the sedative, and someone came in to begin the EEG. It took the technician about 20 minutes to get all of the rainbow-colored wires hooked up correctly. The doctor dipped 1 end of a wire in petroleum jelly, placed it on Judah’s scalp, and covered it with a piece of cotton ball-like material. This process was repeated with at least 30 wires. Then he flipped a switch and watched lines move up and down on a screen. I sat there wishing I knew what the waves were supposed to look like and trying to read the expression on the man’s face. If I would have had WiFi, I would have probably googled “normal EEG test results.” I tend to think I possess an M.D. through my google skills sometimes, while my husband just tells me to STOP GOOGLING ALL THE THINGS. Yeah, it was probably good that I didn’t have WiFi.

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I’m pretty sure putting the wires on his head took longer than the actual EEG itself. The technician shut the machine off, typed something on the computer, and began quickly pulling the wires out of Judah’s hair, leaving behind big globs of petroleum jelly and wisps of cotton. I’m not sure how EEGs are done in the US, but if it’s the same way, then some of you might understand just how long it took to actually get all of that Vaseline and cotton out of our son’s hair- days and days. The technician let us know that the neurologist would be in to tell us the results after he had a chance to review them. 

Once the test was complete, we knew Judah would sleep for several hours. Marcus left to find somewhere that he could charge his phone because there were no open outlets in our room. Once he left, I sat in a chair in the dark hospital room, staring at my sleeping son, and I could not stop the tears from falling. I pulled the curtain closed and hoped no one would come into the room because I did not want to explain myself. I was scared, homesick, and in disbelief at this current situation. I began questioning and wrestling with God. In my fear and selfishness, I could only see the current storm, and I wondered where God was in this situation. 

“We followed You. We did what You asked. We stayed the course for FIVE years. We followed You in and out of Ethiopia. We followed You to India. We followed You through loss of dreams and finances. We followed You when it didn’t make sense. When friends and family didn’t agree. When we were told that it would be easier and cheaper to just have another baby. When we were scared about pursuing a medical needs adoption program. You brought us here, right? You had to have brought us here! But why!? You moved mountains for this adoption process. You answered our prayers over the last few months with expedited speed. So why is every single step here so hard!? You made straight our path to this point, so why are we here still fighting at each turn to bring our son home!? What was said to take 12-18 months, You did in 5...”

And that’s when it hit me. God HAD done all of that. Through His plan and His providence, He had brought us here for such a time as this. It was a plan 5 years in the making. It was God’s perfect timing. What was said to take 12-18 months from Match, He did in 5 months because He knew that the sleeping little boy in the hospital bed would need us. He would need us to fight for him, advocate for him, and care for him right now in these scary moments as well as in all the various kinds of moments for the rest of his life. I shudder to think about what might have happened if his seizure had occurred in the orphanage...

My tears of anger and fear turned to tears of praise. I got out my journal and wrote down the story of God’s faithfulness. I sang in the dark and prayed over my son as he slept with sticky residue and cotton in his hair. No matter what those EEG results said, God was never going to let us down:

“Let the King of my heart
Be the wind inside my sails
The anchor in the waves
Oh, He is my song

Let the King of my heart
Be the fire inside my veins
The echo of my days
Oh, He is my song

'Cause You are good
Good, oh oh
You are good
Good, oh oh

You're never gonna let
You're never gonna let me down
You're never gonna let
You're never gonna let me down...”

Judah slept for 3 hours. While he slept, someone from our agency called. Our adoption agency remained in constant communication with us through both hospitals and the remainder of our stay in India. Three different people were always messaging us at different times to check on Judah, check on us, and let us know that we were constantly being prayed for by all 3 of them plus a team at our adoption agency. It made us thankful that God had directed us their way 5 years and a few months before that date. This phone call also let us know that the next 2 things on our checklist had been received: Article 23 and Judah’s birth certificate had arrived. God was still answering prayers and working through our checklist while we were in the hospital. 

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When Judah woke up from his long nap, he was acting more like the smiley, silly, active baby that we’d known for 10 days. Eventually, the neurologist came in and let us know that the EEG was normal. Eventually, the lab results came back normal too. Eventually, the Pediatrician came in and let us know that Judah most likely had a febrile seizure resulting from a high fever caused by a virus. Around 6 PM, we were discharged from the second hospital and eventually got an Uber back to the apartment. We were now ready to take on the rest of our checklist....with a thermometer and some Motrin within arms reach at all times, of course. 

“Cause You are good
Good, oh oh
You are good
Good, oh oh

You're never gonna let
You're never gonna let me down
You're never gonna let
You're never gonna let me down...”

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Journey to Judah: Part 10 - The 2nd Hotel

Journey to Judah: Part 10 - The 2nd Hotel

Journey to Judah: Part 8 - The Hospital, 1

Journey to Judah: Part 8 - The Hospital, 1