I think one of the most agonizing and stressful times for any parent is when they know their child's life is in danger. This past week was one of those times.
I came home from town to find my youngest(age 5) laid up on the couch. Jaimie, my wife began to tell me that Kaleb took a spill on his bike. This was nothing new and I was irritated as I've told him plenty of times to slow down. Like the other times he's hurt himself playing outside, we both thought he just needed to walk it off and tend to the scratches and bruises.
But this time was different. He began to feel nauseous and could barely stand up. And he couldn't urinate. Jaimie made the decision to have him checked out at a hospital over an hour away.
We got to the hospital and the doctors and nurses began to pour over Kaleb and check him over. They could tell right away that something was wrong and ordered full body CT scans.
The scans came back with severe damage to his spleen. The doctors on staff concluded it would have to be removed. But there was no surgeon on staff with experience with someone Kaleb's age. So a helicopter was put on standby and they began to call to other hospitals to find a surgeon on duty to take the case.
By this time, Jaimie and I were in shock at the seriousness of the injury and at the fast pace with which the staff was moving to get him to a larger hospital. A nearby hospital was found and they decided to put Jaimie on the 45 minute flight with Kaleb so she could be with him.
The injury and internal bleeding was beginning to take its toll on Kaleb. Plus it was late and so Kaleb was getting drousy. Before they left on the helicopter, I made him look at me and told him he needed to be strong and brave. He looked back at me and softly said, "ok".
For me, the drive would be over 2 hours away. It was the longest drive of my life.
When I got there, I caught up with Jaimie and one of the ER nurses who was in the process of transporting Kaleb to the ICU. The nurse informed me that the surgeon staff had reviewed the pictures and decided the injury might not be so bad. In many cases, the bleeding spleen will clot, making a removal unneeded. They would spend some time monitoring his vitals and then make a call on a possible surgery.
Hours went by and slowly Kaleb's vitals worsened and his abdomen enlarged indicating it was filling with blood. By this time, he had already had 2 blood transfusions. The bleeding was not slowing down. The staff made the decision for a third blood transfusion with an exploratory surgery and possible spleen removal.
Kaleb went into the OR (operating room) and about a dozen friends and family waited in the waiting room praying for him and the surgeons working on him.
Finally, Mom and Dad got the call to come back and see him.
The doctor explained that Kaleb had lost about half his blood from the bleeding spleen. Most had been cleaned out of his abdomen during the surgery. The spleen was destroyed. It had broken into three pieces and could not be recovered. Many times, part of a spleen can be left inside but the damage here was too extensive.
Now would need to begin the road to recovery. Kaleb was moved back into the ICU to be monitored for any signs of infection or other issues. The doctor felt confident that the wound would heal nicely.
Coming out from under the anesthesia was tough. The surgery was finished about midnight. Jaimie and I fought alongside the nurses to keep Kaleb from pulling his cords and tubes out the rest of the night. He didn't know what was going on and he just wanted everything attached to him to be gone.
The next few days saw rapid improvements. His vitals were awesome, he began to drink liquids again and then soft foods.
He was able to move from the bed to the bathroom and each time he did, he was given a sticker. It was very painful at first, but it got better with each trip. After enough stickers were acheived, a prize was given that was usually a small box of legos. He loved that!
Kaleb began to improve quickly and I decided to snap some more pics. I didn't take any pics until after the surgery was done. I was too busy praying and worried about losing him to think of photos. After the surgery and the doctor assuring me this strong kid was going to be fine, I was like, "Okay, I better get a few photos so he can look back on this one day."
He wasn't much on smiles at first. Here he is checking out the aquarium on the pediatrics floor.
Down in the hospital courtyard, they had this giant marble that slowly spins in a bowl of water. He liked that and even gathered the strength to stand up and try spinning it.
His diet quickly increased and he gained energy. Before long, he was the Kaleb we remembered again. Here he is sitting next to his big brother. During the night after the surgery when Kaleb was coming out from under the anesthesia, he would cry out for his brother Joshua. They really are best friends.
We dont have health insurance. If you know anything about health insurance in America, you know that it's messed up. The programs are confusing and very expensive. We had thought about signing up for a program called Medi-Share but never did. Big mistake. We are blessed not to have any other debt other than my school loans. But I have no one to blame other than myself for not being prepared for a catastrophic event like this.
We are being discharged from the hospital today (Monday). It's 10:37pm Sunday night as I'm typing this next to Kaleb's hospital bed as he sleeps. Losing a child has got to be the scariest and most heart breaking experience one can face. But I can say this for certain, the prayers of so many gave us the strength to endure and to trust that God had a plan and to surrender it all to Him.
Thanks for reading all that. I needed to write it all down while it was still fresh in my mind. LOL, if you want to contribute to Kaleb's medical bills, upvote or donate to the bitcoin address below. You can also paypal to Jaimie@anamericanhomestead.com
Cards and donations can be sent to:
PO Box 924
Huntsville AR 72740
DONATE BITCOIN FOR KALEB
JOIN US ON PATREON FOR MORE BEHIND THE SCENES HOMESTEAD CONTENT AND GIVEAWAYS!