Monday, July 30, 2012

Dr. El Gammal

Last Friday I called and got ahold of Dr. El Gammal, Cayla's pediatrician, in the morning and then went to see her at 12:30pm.  I have to say again that just driving down Route 20 and passing Lake Avenue where the hospital is, makes me remember that Friday and want to stay away from anywhere near there.  I would say the feeling is lessening, but still there.  I just knew that I needed to go see her.  She was there and saw Cayla the last 2 days of her life.  She was with her during her final 4 hours.  I wanted to talk to her and talk we did for about 45 minutes.  She gave up her lunch break for me.

I've been hung up on these immunizations and beating myself up over them, Lowell too.  So after a warm greeting, one of the first questions I asked was about the immunizations.  What effect did they have on her death?  Well, being the completely, medically, uneducated person that I am, I was surprised by her answer.  They had nothing to do with her death at all.  So she explained since I guess the look on my face was still pretty doubtful.  The vaccines Cayla had were all non-living pieces of a specific virus.  If they had played a part in her infection, the area where the needle was inserted would be showing signs of redness and a reaction.  She said you don't get the shot in your left arm and break out with an infection in your right arm.  Makes sense.  Then she said that the first signs of infection from the vaccine are redness at the injection site and a fever.  Cayla had perfectly normal skin where her shot was given and had no fever.  She also said that if there was a reaction, it wouldn't just be an infection randomly in her body such as her bottom, it would be the disease that was actually being immunized.  The point being that the infection in her bottom had been there brewing under the surface just waiting to show its ugly self and did so all by itself without any help from the immunizations.  So, ok.  I guess that clears that up...

Now then my mind jumps to her bottom.  Now I'm going back to where I started with all this.  That day as we were waiting in the ER, all I could see in my mind was her bottom from the morning.  Purple, red, swollen, and what used to be her scabs over the rash were now open, white and pussy around the edges.  Sorry for the details...  My first thought then was why didn't we put her on antibiotics to clear this up.  Dr. Magnuson had just seen her the previous Thursday and said there was bacteria building up in her bottom and she was most likely going to have to have a colostomy bag put in until surgery.  Then he said to put this prescription cream on, see how she does and come back in 2 weeks to see about the colostomy bag.  I don't know.  I do know that Lowell asked if the cream he was giving us was an antibiotic cream and when we got it, it wasn't.  I'm not sure what Dr. Magnuson was thinking.  He did say that she can't be on antibiotics for 6 months, thus the bag.  We thought though that he could have given her some kind of antibiotic to clear it up before the bag, but for some reason, we didn't pursue that thought.  Thus the guilt of why we didn't follow through.  He had also given us rods to stretch or dilate her bottom to relieve some of the pressure building up.  We were supposed to do it once every day.  It took 2 people.  We were doing it at night.  Wednesday night when we did it, a lot of pressure was released causing it to spray everywhere and make a big mess.  Well, that next night, Thursday, we'd forgot to do it and remembered later when she was all settled in and thought that we'd get it tomorrow.  It was just for the purpose of stretching, so missing one night wouldn't hurt.  Well, you know where the guilt is now.  What if we'd gone back and dilated her bottom?  Would pressure have been relieved enough to put off the infection building from it?  I would say yes, but even if I could 100% pinpoint the exact reason for her death and how it could easily have been prevented, would it change the course of events?  Not if it was her time to die.  I've not wanted to tell anyone about not dilating her bottom the night before she died.  That would be admitting fault for what could be the cause of her death.  I don't want that on my shoulders.  But, it's there.  So many What if's.  I want the blame to be on someone else, but in our minds, it very well could have been that simple.  I know blame is not an issue at this point and we need to move past this and not worry about what actually caused her death because we will never really know with all that was going on with her.  Let me just say it's harder than you may think.  I know that we can't carry this blame.  I know there were a bunch of other factors with her little body.  I know we have to give the whole thing to God.  I know a lot of things.  Just tell the rest of me to catch on... 

The whole destructive path of "What ifs" is something I've known about since day one after she died.  I've managed to work through this off and on these last 5 weeks.  It still rears its ugly head at times.  If I find myself starting to cry and lose it, I have been able to stop and ask God for victory over my thoughts.  He's been faithful, but the thoughts will come back periodically, especially after last Friday's talk.  BUT, I'm doing better with it.  I know deep down if it wouldn't have been then, it easily could have been at any point down the road.  She was apparently a lot more fragile than we realized.  I would say Lowell is having a harder time than I am with the What if's.  So pray for him through this.

Well, these are thoughts that came after Dr. El Gammal said it wasn't the immunizations.  I didn't voice all of this to her, because before a few minutes ago, I was planning on not ever telling anyone about not dilating her bottom the night before.  I'm not sure why I did put it out here for the world to see.  I don't know that it even makes me feel any better "confessing".  I just need to write my thoughts, so I guess I needed to just write it out more than I needed to hide it. 

She and I talked about how we've been in the last 5 weeks.  She did go for her 3 week vacation back to her family in Egypt and said the first week was hard to relax. I told her we'd prayed for her knowing it was the start of her vacation.  I hope she knows how much I appreciate her and all she did that day.  She let me talk to her about how God has helped my family through these last weeks.  How God has been everything the Bible says He is.  How I know I'll see Cayla someday because I believe the Bible and Jesus's death on the cross for my sins.  How I know because of Him, I'll see her again, not because I'm good or anything.  I don't hope I will see Cayla someday.  I KNOW I will see Cayla some day because of Jesus Christ.  She listened to me share about how God has been our strength.  She told me she was a different religion and I understand that.  When something is as real as Jesus is, you just want everyone else to know and understand that.

She also asked me if I'd noticed Cayla's color after she'd died.  I didn't particularly, but I do remember thinking she looked better than I thought she would.  She said that during those 4 hours, her skin was many colors from yellow to blue to purple and mottled on top of it.  Once she had died, she said all those around the table noticed her skin turn back to pink.  They hadn't seen that before, and they all stood there quite amazed at what happened.  I don't know why God did that, but I do remember thinking she didn't look too bad.  Just an interesting side note. 

She was a very special little girl. I've talked to God about why He allowed her to die.  It brings me comfort to know that many have seen a real, living, and faithful God through this experience in our lives.  I've thought that God knew that maybe her impact could be greater after only 2 months while so many were still closely following her precious life story through this blog. When I posted on the day she died, there were over 2,000 hits in less than 24 hours.  If that's all part of His plan, I accept it.  It's not my choice, but I accept it.  These kind of thoughts are what make Cayla's short life worth living.   I've talked to God about giving us another one...  He can do whatever He thinks is best for us.  I'm torn.  I want another baby in my arms to raise so, so badly, but I also know that I'm older and is it really best right now?  It's up to Him.  He had to specifically open my womb after 16 years of being completely closed for Cayla to be born, and He can do it again if He thinks it best.  I truly am ok either way.  The prayer that never fails... praying that God's will be done.

Well, I have to close this out.  Lowell and Samuel want to go play Disc Golf at 8:10pm so off we go.  I am needing to practice my song for Ralph Ball's funeral Wed. morning and make a salad and more for it too and I have a Concerts of Prayer meeting at 7am at Steak and Shake tomorrow morning with grocery shopping afterwards and I work half a day tomorrow and then wanted to go watch Olympics at my inlaws tomorrow night.  We'll see what gets done.   (Lovely run on sentence...)  Bye for now...

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