I left the story off at my first night in the hospital.
We saw three different doctors in the ER that night and they all pretty much said the same thing. "There isn't any real proven treatment for a brown recluse bite so we will give you everything we can that could possibly work. It's really just a "wait and see" situation and then we can clean up the damage afterward." They were also concerned with the intense allergic reaction I was having to the bite. The skin on most of my body was incredibly red and itchy. I had huge raised welts (or welps depending on where you're from) all over the place.
Those first few days, I was experiencing pain like I've never felt in my life. I don't really even have words to accurately describe what it felt like. The only time I didn't want to scream and cry was when they put morphine in my iv...on top of the oxyxcontin.
I am so grateful for my husband who was there by my bed day and night. I was completely helpless and relied so heavily on him to do the smallest things. Every few hours he would carefully cover my body with cooling medicine. I was so humbled. He changed my ice packs a million times. He was literally my right hand when mine was out of commission. He slept on the most uncomfortable chair known to man and I can't remember hearing him complain. Ray shows me such a selfless love and I can't thank him enough. I love that man!
After many hours, Cora finally took a bottle from friends. She was passed around over the course of those few days and quickly learned how to adapt. She did great! People brought her up to the hospital several times but it was very hard. She wanted to nurse when I held her so she would cry and it nearly broke my heart. I couldn't explain to her that I was protecting her. After several days, she finally took a bottle from me and is doing great now.
So many friends and family came up and prayed for me. Those times were so encouraging when I had no sense of control. No end in sight. You lifted me up and God gave me peace.
The last day of my stay at the most expensive hotel in the world was pretty insane.
I met my new nurse early that morning and, man, was she cold. She walked in telling us how she tends to offend people and comes across as rude but it is because she is from up north. Ray and I gave each other the "side eyes."
God then whispered to me that she didn't know how much he loved her. I promptly told him to get someone else who's arm wasn't dying to tell her. I was in too much pain to talk to some grumpy nurse about him.
Ignoring the Holy Spirit never seems to work out for me for some reason.
Every time she came in that morning, she just rubbed me the wrong way but we kinda made it our mission to get her to laugh. Ray started joking with her and she opened up more each time she came in. She was talking about how people down here are weird and how strangers talk to each other in public. We laughed and said, "well, yeah. That's cause we're nice!"
The Holy Spirit nudged me and so I went for it...
"So it would really freak you out if I came up and paid for your groceries, huh?"
"Uhh, yeah. Why would you do that?," she said.
"Cause sometimes God tells me to. He wants people to know how much he loves them, so that's one way I tell them."
(shocked stare from the nurse)
I said, "Kinda like you. The moment I saw you this morning, God told me you have no idea how much he loves you. How special you are to him. He created you and wants a relationship with you. God loves you just the way you are...right this moment. He knows all the bad things you've done and he loves you anyway."
(she started crying and just kept pointing her finger at me in disbelief)
I kept going, "I know that you're thinking you've messed up too much but that's not true. It doesn't matter what you've done or what anyone has done to you. God still wants you."
Her wall came down and she opened up to me. We talked for a very long time and she shared about her past hurts while I told her about the love of Jesus. What really surprised her was when I told her that I knew God had me here to tell her this and that I would go through it all again just to be able to tell her how he felt about her. I can honestly say that's true 10 weeks later. I don't believe that God caused me to be bitten but I do believe he can take a terrible situation and redeem it for his glory. I am so thankful that is what he did! What a loving Father he is to us.
My precious Aunt Diana drove down from Missouri that last day to take care of me at home. My nurse wheeled me down to the doors and I could tell she was hungry to hear more so we talked a little while at the hospital entrance. She hugged me and through tears whispered, "thank you."
That right there makes it all worth it.
From here, my story is far from over so I will continue on another day.
Thank you Sarah Medlin for the socks. I love them dearly and they made my hideous hospital attire more palatable. Owen still talks about how much fun he had hanging out with your family.
Thanks Melanie and Daniela for bringing the first (real) cookies I had eaten in 5 months. And for making me laugh so much.
Thanks to Steve and Lacey for my first Mama Fu's meal in soooo long!
Thanks Sandy Krout for bringing us food and for the beautiful headband to hide my unfixed hair.
Thank you Uncle Dino for driving all the way up to pray for me. You touched my heart and encouraged me so much.
Thanks Tiffany and Keith for your visit when I was at one of my worst times. I love my mug, too!
Thanks Renae Longmate and Jill Schilb for taking care of my baby. I was never worried when she was with either of you.
Thanks to Joy Francour for the bandages and hilarious book. I'm almost finished with it!
Thank you Pastor Casey and Stacy for coming to pray for me. Your words spoke life to me.
Thank you Mariali and Jannel for praying with me at the hospital. I felt peace flood my room when you were there.
Thanks Mom, Dad and Celeste for coming to visit and encouraging me the way you did. I love you guys so much!
Thank you Kelly Krout for coming and bringing your sweet tiny Van to see me and the pumpkin spice latte.
Thank you Claire for bringing me food and taking such good care of Cora. You are a gem!
Thanks Mike and Amber for the thoughtful gift for Owen and for letting him spend the night.
Thanks Dane for coming to visit on your breaks from the pharmacy and for answering a million questions.
Thank you Todd Barlow for visiting me, answering all my questions and for the ice cream!
Thank you to all of you who prayed for me, sent texts and encouraging emails. I felt so loved!!