I was putting my son, Owen, to bed on the night of Oct. 1st and thought he was doing his usual stalling routine. He said, "Mama, there's a spider behind my curtains." I looked and said, "Buddy, there isn't a spider back there, you're fine. Let's go to bed." He got real serious and told me, "Please don't die. Mama, a bug is going to get you, so please don't die. Ok?" I reassured him that I wasn't going to die, said our prayers and put him to bed. I was really weirded out and told Ray what he had said. Later, I went to bed and was promptly bitten 2 times by a brown recluse. Hmm...
I woke up with a very sore arm and was itching all over but started work cutting hair that morning. I couldn't figure out what in the world was going on and why I was beginning to look like a lobster! It wasn't until I was cutting my friend Melanie's hair and showed her my arm that she figured out what was going on. I finished up, called Ray and went straight to the ER. I had heard and googled horror stories about those bites and especially after what Owen had said, I took it very seriously.
I need to give some back story on my daughter Cora and her feeding issues. She has some serious food sensitivities to dairy, soy and eggs. I had been nursing her and had cut all of those foods out of my diet. If she had any of those foods, she would be in terrible pain and scream for hours. Other than a hypoallergenic formula that has to be shipped in (that we didn't have), I was her only option for food. Thankfully, we put out a status update on Facebook looking for that formula and it was shared by so many friends. Before we left the ER the first time, we had 7 cans of Neocate brought up to us. It was amazing and I cried all the way home, overwhelmed with gratitude.
At the hospital, they gave me some antibiotics and steroids and told me to come back if things got a lot worse. Two days later, I was in so much pain that I went to a walk-in clinic to get some pain medicine. My arm was so swollen that they wanted me to go to the hospital and do some tests that they couldn't perform. Back to the ER I went and the tests came back ok but they put me on iv antibiotics. They said to come back if my face or neck started swelling. The next day, Melanie came over and said, "Umm the right side of your face looks kinda weird and swollen."
Back to the ER.
This time, they put me on a slew of drugs (10 different prescriptions) and kept me for 4 days. When they told me I would be staying overnight and I would be put on drugs that would be dangerous for Cora, I almost lost it right there. This would be the first time away from my 7 month old baby. Some dear friends came up to the hospital to give us food and keep her for the night. Everyone left the room and I fed her for the last time. I sat there and memorized the moment. I could barely see her through my tears but I will never forget it. I handed over my tiny baby to more than capable hands. When they left, I broke down and sobbed. I was terrified. What if they couldn't get her to drink the formula? What if she wouldn't sleep? What if my arm falls off?? I was freaking out when my friend Kara walked in the room all dolled up for a date with her husband. She understood my pain on a deeper level, she who has lost a 3 month old son. She took my face in her hands, looked me in the eye and said, "I know. I know. You are going to be ok. You know that? You will." She hugged me and let me cry. I felt safe to lose it a little. That is another moment I memorized.
God knew what I needed right then.
Our friends came and left and they wheeled me up to my room. On our way up there, I knew that my life wasn't going to be the same after this in so many ways.
This story is a long one so I'm going to break it up. I get bored reading super long blog posts and I figure I'm not alone.
Thank you to everyone who helped us find formula. You guys called pretty much every pharmacy in a 100 mile radius.
Thank you Sarah Jones and Tina Kacirek for bringing us formula.
Thank you Williams family for keeping Owen that first night. He loved it!
Thank you Chris and Melissa for sending your baby to your mom's for the first time and taking care of Cora. You'll never know how much that meant to me.
Thank you James and Stephanie for coming to the hospital multiple times and always bringing the perfect things.
Thank you Kara and Amber for being there when I needed you.
(I'll thank the rest of you as the story goes on. If I forget someone, please have grace and remember I was on morphine at the time.)