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Thursday, July 25, 2013

Off to Edmonton with our sick girl.

We entered week five of Shayleen's little life feeling a bit more confident.  She seemed to be less tense, and was even sleeping for an hour or two in a row through the first few nights.  But during the day Wednesday, she seemed to have a different scream when I was changing her, and I called Tim at work wondering if I should take her to the hospital.  But then she seemed fine again, and I thought maybe I was just being a paranoid, over protective mom.  She seemed to settle well that night, and fell asleep around 9p.m.  All of a sudden at 11p.m. I got up and told Tim I felt like something was wrong, but when I checked on Shayleen she was sleeping soundly, her breathing even.  It wasn't until when I touched her in the dark room that I realized there was something very wrong, she felt like she was on fire.  I whisked her off to the emergency room and waited for them to tell me what might be wrong now.  In the early morning hours a doctor said that the blood work results showed that her liver function numbers were a bit off, but that it was probably just a bug.  I called our pediatrician in the morning, and she said we could find out for sure there was nothing wrong with the liver by doing an ultrasound.  But Dr. James said it might not tell us anything, and it was not too pleasant since we had to not feed her for 8 hours.  But I was too scared that there was something wrong at that point, and said I would handle it.  We were unable to give the poor little thing a bottle after midnight that night, and I remember I arrived early at the hospital just in case we could get in sooner.

Unfortunately there was some kind of mix up, and they did not have paper work to do the ultrasound.  I stood at the desk and while I never cause a "fuss", I banged on the counter asking for a manager...I was very reluctant to go through another night of such torture, and it was so hard on poor little Shayleen.  Fate stepped in and a tech was going by at the same time and overheard, and felt pity for both of us, and said that they could straighten things out and get us in.  It was the same tech just 45 minutes later who called Dr. James and sent us to her office immediately after the ultrasound was done.  I called Tim from the parking lot, saying I hoped it was jaundice, or something simple, and I would call him back when I found out.

Dr. James had different news for us.  She said that Shayleen's liver was four times bigger than what it should be, and we would have to fly to Edmonton that same day and find out what was going on.  At that point they did not know why it was enlarged, but we would have to go to the Stollery in Edmonton to find out more.  I left the doctor's office and almost didn't know what to do next, my own two boys had never been in the hospital except for the occasional trips to emergency for a fall or one bad lung infection that Mitchell had once at age four.  And Edmonton seemed so far away when you have children still at home that needed me around.  I headed off to my sister-in-laws to see what they thought, and I remember when I called Tim back at work, all he asked was what time would we have to leave, he would arrange to leave early so he could drive us to the airport.  There was never any hesitation from either of us that we needed to be with her.

I had never traveled with a baby on a plane before, with the car seat and the bags of necessary supplies. And I had only been in Edmonton a few times, and never by myself.  I was asking the flight attendant how far the hospital was, and if there was someone who could help me get the car seat and all the bags to a cab.  As the flight was drawing to an end, the man across the aisle leaned over and insisted on helping me with my bags when we got off the plane.  Rich Krahn was flying back to Edmonton from Fort McMurray after being up here for work, and as we made our way to the baggage carousel he said he had two daughters of his own, and could not imagine one of them being sick.  He said the hospital was about 20 minutes away, and he would drive us.  My guard was immediately up, and I politely declined.  He knew I probably thought he was some kind of creep, so he called his wife and put me on the phone with her....she reassured me that he was just a really great guy and would love to help.  I will never forget his kindness, as he carried all our stuff to his van and helped me to get Shayleen buckled safely into her car seat.  I still don't know how much out of his way he went that night to safely deliver us to the emergency department at the Stollery, but the thought of his kindness stayed with me all these years, and fate again brought us together at a restaurant in Edmonton last summer!  I got to meet his beautiful daughters and wife, and thank him once again for showing strangers so much kindness.  It might not have meant much to him at the time, but for me starting this scary journey with this little baby, it gave me hope that I would not be alone.  Below is a picture of us running into each other at a restaurant after four years...we were there to celebrate our anniversary with the kids, and he was there for his daughter's birthday....at a restaurant that he had never been at before.

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