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...

Staying busy

I started writing this a week ago after our yard sale on July 21st but never published it...

God is more precious to me than ever.  God's Word, the Bible, is more precious to me than ever.  Samuel is more precious to me than ever.  I know it's only been 4 short weeks since Cayla died.  I feel like I'm changing.  I just wonder if I'll ever feel like I did before.  In some ways I guess I'll never be the same, but in a good way.  The closer to God I am, the stronger I am.  I still find tears popping up when I least expect them, but that's just how it's going to be.  I just feel things deeper than before.  I think about things more... could just be because I'm more tired than before.  :o)  Ok, so it's more than that.  I look and hear children around me being yelled at and parents so frustrated, I just want to tell them to step back and get the big picture.  Take time to enjoy the children you have while you have them and they're still close enough to kiss and hug.  Please keep doing this.  I wish I could with Cayla and I do all the time with Samuel. Just don't take them for granted.

I want to go see Dr. El Gammal.  She was Cayla's pediatrician.  That Friday was the last day before her 3 week vacation started.  What a way to start it.  She stayed by Cayla's side the entire time in the ER.  She was so focused on Cayla.  Another Dr. came and told us Cayla had died.  She came in later somewhat hesitantly, and I just went to her and hugged her for all she was worth, thanking her for all she did to try and help Cayla that day.  Pastor Emery said a little bit later when they left, that there were some doctors crying out in the ER.  I just feel like there's a loose end here.  I want to see her and talk to her.  I want to ask her if this was a reaction to her immunizations.  I don't really know what or how she's feeling or if she still thinks about that day, but I just want to talk about it.  I went in to her appointment the day before acting confident about Cayla's care but really not sure underneath it all.  Bottom line is that once again, God could have prevented her death, but chose not to.  I just feel strongly that I need to close this door that's still open and go talk to her.  I kind of dread going anywhere near the hospital again and her office is in the hospital.  I think I'll call Monday to see when I could come in and just talk to her.  It may be hard in different ways for both of us. 

I just want to put out a very special thank you to Kim Hunsicker. She has spent 4 out of the last 6 days at my house for the sole purpose of our yard sale. On Monday when she came, besides helping organize and price stuff, she managed to wash every dirty dish in my house. There were few clean ones still in the drawers and shelves when she started. This is huge because I know she hates doing dishes as much as I do, and I don't have a dishwasher... She came Thursday and wouldn't leave until we had everything priced and ready to go. She came Friday at 7am to help set up and stayed all day! She even brought lunch that day and fixed chili cheese hot dogs for us all. She came this morning at 8am and helped set up and stayed all the way until everything was put away and cleaned up. She not only helped with the yard sale itself, but just as importantly or maybe even more so, she talked, laughed, cried, hugged, held, listened, and was an incredible friend to me and all of us today and this whole week. I am blessed. Thank you Kim for your wonderful friendship! Something she said today has stuck with me about her remembering some extremely painful times in her life and what a difference people made who reached out to her during those times. She told herself and God that she would be that person to others going through hard times and that is what motivates her. Showing the love of God to others. So through her pain, God has been able to use her greatly in the many lives she's touched. She has definitely shown the love of God to me and all of us this week. Thank you Kim. Love you. ♥  

Our yard sale was a success from a yard-salers viewpoint, but I'm glad it's over.  It was a great distraction the whole week.  I need distractions.  I need to stay busy.  If I'm not having to do something where someone is expecting me, I don't get much done. Busy is good right now... Some yard sale pictures.  Kim and I both got a good bit of sun.

Kim and I

Kim, Gary and Samuel discussing...?

Lowell and Samuel riding scooters during the yard sale's slow times. :o)

Bernadette and I.  She set up a couple of tables of stuff too.

Kim was left alone for too long without any supervision.  She organized the Precious Moments by year.  :o)  The ones we still have are all the dated ones such as Baby's 1st Christmas 1994.  We have some dated from the 80's.  It's nice to see so many gone with just these few left over. 

Now we're back to Sunday night July 29th.  Actually it's July 30th since it's now almost 1am.

Ok, moving on from the yard sale.  I downloaded some pictures of Cayla's plot at the cemetery.  I took this first picture of the clouds the day after her funeral.  We were outside that evening at my in-laws house just enjoying the beauty of God's creation.  The kids were out back and I just laid down in the grass.  As I looked up at the beautiful sky, I thought about Cayla in heaven.  She's not back in that hole in the ground.  She's with God.  So I pulled the camera out of my pocket and took this to remind me.  There's also some of her special little place at the cemetery.

Since I'm going through pictures I've finally downloaded, I'll add some of my brother Jim and his family.  They came up from Berryville, VA for the funeral.

Jim and Marla at Lakeshore Park the day after the funeral.
Jim, Marla, Meg, Chloe, James, Micah, Clara, Julia and Matthew
(click on pictures to enlarge them)

At Lakeshore Park

Matthew  :o)

Meg, Chloe and Clara with Sheylyn, our other niece at Grandpa and Grandma's house.

Chloe, Julia and Clara

Jim, Samuel, James and Micah the morning they left for home.

I have so much more to write, but it's late.  I did get to see Dr. El Gammal on Friday, but will write about it later.  It was good for me to go and hear what she had to say.   Oh, and I also have Cayla's service to put on too.  I haven't looked at it 2 weeks.  Now David's almost getting the rest done.  I need to look into it this week.   Stay tuned... it shouldn't be long now.  :o)

I'm doing ok.  Still having tears hit me when I least expect it.  Still missing our precious Cayla Joy.  Jesus is giving peace.  Jesus is sustaining us.   He's everything.  Everything we need.  Everything He says He is in the Bible.  The Bible is true from beginning to end.  If you have never experienced God's salvation, you're missing out.  The 3 of us have all personally experienced Jesus Christ alive and working in our lives through this time with and without Cayla.  There is no denying it.  Once you've experienced its reality, you want everyone else to as well.

Well, till next time.  Maybe tomorrow.  We'll see.  :o)  Thanks again for the prayers so many are still praying.  We need them.  Thanks.