Photo of the Year

Isn’t this the most gorgeous brain you’ve ever seen!?!   I’ve never been happier to see this than I was on Memorial Day (or night, or maybe it was the wee hours of the next day for us ) … and every day since then, I can’t stop staring at it and thinking, “Thank you, God.” Memorial day was no BBQ in the sunshine for us! Nonetheless, it ended with more gratitude than I ever thought possible.

Our morning started with a “sore” red area behind Zoey’s ear. This photo was taken in the ER after lunch, by which time it was swollen like a lumpy thumb under her skin. I knew it was serious when Mitch said, “Let’s go to the ER.” In true “Dr.” form, he once told me as I laid on the floor, certain I had appendicitis, “I see people come in with stupid things all day long. Unless you are dying, I am not taking you to the hospital.” I proceeded to call an ambulance (not really, but you know I pretended to) … Anyway, no joke, he sped to the hospital and tried (unsuccessfully, have I told you about cell reception here?) to call all these specialist people along the way.  It was unnerving.

The ER doctor saw us right away. She was concerned, guessed it was a skin infection of some sort, prescribed some antibiotics, and advised that we “monitor it closely.” We left thinking, “Phew, that was easy and all taken care of.”

Not so.  By dinner time the swollen, red beast was still growing.  At this point it reached into her hairline and had overtaken her ear.  No photo, because it was not the time to mess around.

Mitch ran over all the plants we had just purchased as he rushed her back to the ER.  Lucy and I stayed behind because after various calls to dermatologist, ENT, and other physician friends; Mitch anticipated he and Zoey would be spending the night at the hospital.   What?!  As I packed her overnight bag I tried not to cry.

Once they were gone I opened the internet history and found all kinds of photos on Mitch’s go-to medical research site (UpToDate) accompanying threats like,  “hearing loss, cerebral deterioration…” I closed the computer and did the only thing I could think to do, call my mom.  It was late there, she didn’t mind.  While sharing all this news did nothing to help the situation, I felt a little better by the time we hung up with everything crossed until further notice.

Holding Still.

Meanwhile, at the hospital, they were doing CT scans to determine the spread of the infection and determine if it was inside her brain.  Mitch sent me this photo via text message captioned, “She is being so brave.”

I stared at the sunset (it was midnight) and prayed to the illuminated, pink clouds.  Please, please let her be ok.  Hours later this photo came via text and the caption said, “We’re fine.  Her brain is clean.”  I exhaled and realized I’d been holding my breath for a long, long time. “Thank you, God!”

After a slew of various antibiotic shots (the worst part for her, which rendered her sore for the last few days) they were back home in the wee hours of the morning; Zoey in tears.  She was exhausted, in pain, and angry because her Denver doctor told her she didn’t need any more shots until she was six (how could anyone have known?).

Now, days later, we’re recovering from the infection; the aches and pains; the fevers; and the exhaustion of it all … there have been many tears, sleepless nights, and a  whole lot of whining … and I’ve never felt more blessed.

Funny how something “bad” helped me realize how very lucky I am.

To your health,



15 responses to “Photo of the Year

  1. Sounds like you were all so brave, especially Zoey. There’s nothing as bad as worrying about a sick child. After all, our job is to protect them. I’m so glad that Zoey is on the mend. Did they ever figure out what it was??

    • Thanks, Ronnie. No, they never did figure out what it was … maybe cellulitis, maybe mastitis, maybe a staph infection? Because they hit it with so many different drugs we don’t know which one it responded to – but it is getting better everyday. What a relief!

  2. You have a brave and oh so beautiful daughter Katie girl – well actually 2 beautiful daughters! I love how Zoe thinks! You both make me smile. Thank God she is alright and you can breath easy! Hugs from the south.

  3. Monica moo

    Ahhhh, so glad she is on the mend!

  4. I go to Up To Date all the time! So glad this Up To Date info is all good. Happy and thankful that everyone I love in Fairbanks is doing well!

    • Up to Date! The webmd for the actuals! 🙂 We are all waiting just 18 more days until we can get Up To Date with everyone we love in the Mile High State!

  5. Maureen Clarke

    Poor baby! I am so thankful Zoey is doing better. Very scary…

  6. Note to self: no more reading Alaskarella during conference calls at work … crying openly in my office is bad enough … unmuted while people discuss completely irrelevant topics (relatively speaking) and I’m starting to sob is crossing the line though.

    I have no words for you. I am so grateful that everyone is fine and that you are finding the silver lining and feeling blessed on the other side of this experience. I spent time with a mom at Wash Park one day – one of her daughters fell through a hotel balcony railing that didn’t meet safety code and was flown to Children’s Hospital where they had spent time in-patient and out-patient for months (they lived in Montana and her husband and other daughter were splitting time between the states the entire time). I made a comment about how happy they would be when they were all home together and life got back to normal as her daughter was close to being fully released from surgeries and treatment — she just shook her head and said life would never be normal again. It was clear that the experience changed her completely as a parent and that there would be a very long period before she would settle back into any sort of life that felt like anything resembling “normal”.

    My hope for you is that this “blessing in disguise” only changes you in ways for the better and that you can all put the fear from this ordeal (and dislike of shots) behind you very quickly. Sending lots of virtual hugs and love – xoxo

    • Haha! You crack me up! It was def more of a “wow, so glad she is fine!” and moment of insight into how much I take for granted day to day … that balcony story is so sad — it’s amazing how a moment can change everything….

  7. road2clova

    Just found out about Zoey’s frightening illness. I talked to her Sunday or Monday when Mitch phoned, so it must have been after that. Tell her we are so sorry she was sick and are so thankful that she if on the mend. You are so far away…….

    • Yes! It came on sudden, strong, and totally out of the blue. It was bizarre, which added to the perplexity of it – but now she’s fine. We’re fine. And I feel really relieved it was “just a scare.” But, as I was looking out the window wishing I could be with her and Mitch at the hospital, I was wishing we lived somewhere where we could call grandma / aunt / cousin / anyone to come over to watch Lucy so I could go to the hospital … it’s hard living so far, far away. Only 546 more days to go …

  8. I’m so glad your big girl is okay. So scary!!!