Friday, May 01, 2009

To Hell and Back

I know it got a little quiet around here but for very good reason. Katie became very ill this week and was hospitalized.

It all started last Sunday. We had just arrived at our monthly FCC Social Lunch and Katie started showing signs that something was brewing. All of you mama's know what I mean about the signs..the ones that are impossible to miss when you are a mother. We know every nuance of our children's personality. For Katie, those signs show up in the fact that our normally happy go lucky girl becomes emotional and no matter how hard you try to ease her mood a bit she will not lighten up. For us, that is the signal that she is about to get slammed with something that will not be good.

Once again, the mama instinct was right on and by that evening Katie was congested. We kept her home the next day from Preschool with congestion and a cough. I thought for sure she would just miss one day of school but unfortunately by that evening she was on fire....105 degrees off and on all night (in the tub...out of the tub and over again) we set off to the Pediatrician first thing the next morning. She looked and listened and told me that Katie had Pneumonia and an ear infection. What?!? In just over one day???...unbelievable!! Our Doctor put Katie on a very strong Antibiotic and breathing machine treatments every four hours. She instructed us to come back in two days so that her health could be assessed again as she was quite concerned. To make a long story short, the very next day our Doctor called to see how Katie was doing and then upon hearing me tell her of Katie's continued difficulties, she asked me to bring her in immediately so that she could take a look at her. She looked and listened again for 2 minutes and then sent me to the hospital...NOW!! She called ahead so that we would be seen immediately. Thankfully we were taken in immediately since the whole freakin' world thinks that they have swine flu right now and a bunch of them were in the emergency room....sheesh!

The Doctors in the ER did their looking and listening and add in xrays and a Swine Flu test which was negative. BTW, this was more painful than you can imagine since they swab all the way up the nasal cavity almost up to the eye...just what my poor girl needed. The verdict - she needed to be admitted. I had been hoping against hope that our Dr. was being an alarmist and that this was just a false alarm but that was not the case. The ER doctors don't even normally hospitalize for Pneumonia's anymore but they were concerned about her overall condition and her poor respiration.

They proceeded to prep her to go upstairs and put her IV in. Katie is a trooper and she was so brave. Her poor Daddy was too upset to watch and had to leave the room but Katie and I have "girl power" and we can handle most anything....that is our mantra!! Can't blame daddy though, since the sight of his princess being in pain brings my strong man to his knees.

The next 36 hours was a nightmare as we waited for the relentless fevers to subside, her horrendous coughing fits where she struggled to breathe to abate or for her to show any sign of wellness. She cocooned into a shell and stopped speaking; looking at us with eyes full of fear and searching for answers. We longed to be able to tell her and ourselves when this horrible time would end. With each breathing treatment, back pounding, stick of the needle and medical intervention our hopes for the big turn around rose and fell time and time again.

Marc and I took shifts of 12 hours each so that she would always be with one of us and as one shift would end and the others would begin, we would report to the other any changes and always searching the other for that glimmer of hope. Finally, on Thursday night, I drove home at 9:00 PM utterly exhausted and totally depressed; not to mention my mind was beginning to go to very dark places. I knew that the big change could come at any moment but what if it didn't? I am not one to ask G-d for special favors but now I was praying and begging that our precious girl, that we love more than there are words to express, be freed from this pain and put on the road to recovery. At 11:00 PM, I called Marc to say goodnight and to inquire as to whether she was sleeping and as he answered the phone, I heard the most beautiful sound in the world......Katie was laughing and telling knock knock jokes!!!! Marc said she had just finished singing a song from Mary Poppins which she had just seen a few days before. OMG!!! I knew that she had a long way to go but I also felt that she had turned the corner and that she would be coming home soon!!! I arrived the next morning, after getting Ethan off to school, to a much different scene; Katie was interacting and was on the road to recovery. The Doctor arrived at noon and told us that if she could stay fever free for 24 hours then we could take her home and rehab her there. She would be much more comfortable and could heal better in her own surroundings. She still had a long way to go but she was on finally on her way.

Today at 2:00 PM we were able to exit the hospital and this time with our daughter....what a glorious day.

A special thank you to my folks. My parents are so wonderfu. My dad picked up the slack with our work and my mom came every day to help us with Ethan for a couple of hours so that Marc and I could be with Katie together for a bit. She also spent lots of time with me at the hospital. Unfortunately, we were not able to have my MIL and FIL involved at all as we would not risk my MIL bringing any nasty bugs home to my FIL, who is already ill with the effects of Diabetes.

Thank you to my friend Minouche who had Ethan for several hours when we first had to admit Katie and to many of my family and friends who visited, sent cards and gifts to Katie. Also, to our TBO family who reached out to us in many ways. Our wonderful Rabbi even made it a point to check on Katie and would have visited her but we insisted that we would be bringing her home soon so she would see him at school. I also found facebook to be a wonderful form of communication with friends and family to let them know what was going on quickly and just once instead of over and over. The outpouring of support that we received was nothing short of phenomenal. I received more messages, both public and private than I could even count and it was overwhelming and uplifting.

Our week from hell brought about a bright side for me as I had a paradigm shift in perspective. It is no secret that we have been struggling with the closing of my real estate business and the huge financial distress that it has wrought on our lives. The emotional turmoil and worry although normal is useless. Life means nothing without your loved ones to enjoy it with.....absolutely nothing. Don't take one moment for granted was the message that I received this week in a huge way. I also received it verbally by the pediatric ICU nurse who took care of Katie. She has been doing this for 30 years and she has seen more than once that life can end in a not take it for granted. I vow to remind myself of that fact when I get caught up with those negative feelings as I am sure that I will, as I am only human. Sharing our lives with our family and friends is a gift not to be taken for granted.

Some of these pictures were taken with the camera on my phone so the quality is not so good but they give a little synopsis of the week we had. Thank you again to one and all. We love you.

As Katie became ill, our beloved fur baby was always by her protecting her

In the hospital, sick and scared.

Taking a turn for the better. Coloring is a good sign.

I would do anything to see her smile

On the day that she was released, my sister called to say hi and this was the reaction that we got.

I am outta here!!

From Our friends at Temple Beth Orr


Katie's first nap back at home..there is gabby by her side. She slept for over 3 hours..I think it was the first time she felt relaxed and safe in almost a week. Below I was giving her a breathing treatment and she was so out of it she never even woke up.

Welcome home precious is so good to have you back where you belong!!


Anonymous said...

Dear Katie Starr - I am so glad that you are at home and getting better all the time. We were very worried about you, but lots of people were praying for you, so we had faith that you would be fine. Big Bear Hugs and Little Butterfly Kisses. You and Ethan are always in my heart and thoughts. LindaR

Teresa said...

Welcome home little and brave Katie. You are so deeply loved by your family and those around you. We are all so happy to see you home and well. Your sweet spirit was sorely missed and is welcomed back.

M and M Girls said...

I am so glad she is feeling better. Worriesome stuff. My Little M had similar stuff.. as you recall she had to be rushed to the hospital in February - breathing treatments..IVs..chest name it... it is so worriesome. I know what you went through. Smiles are the best when you see them from your children. I am so glad to see her smiles and that she is feeling better. keep us posted. Little M does the same breathing treatments at home.
Diane and the girls

Anonymous said...

Katie Starr and family,
Just want to wish you a WELCOME HOME!! I'm happy to see you're feeling better. You're a brave little girl and I wish you a world of happiness and health.
As for the "family"...sorry you went through so much this past week. Happy it had such a happy ending.
Lots of love,

We5Chois said...

Katie Starr,
It is good to see you back and home and with your protector Gabby. We have be thinking about you all week. Mum has been giving us updates as you have gotten better, but we were really happy when we heard you were back at home. We are sure Ethan has missed having you bossing him around - that's what big sister's are for right?
Feel better, eat lots of ice cream and watch tv. You will be back to normal in no time.
Much love Aimee, Hansen & Cady

M3 said...

Oh my gosh!!! Welcome home everyone and I am so relieved to hear that Katie is doing better. My heart just sank reading this. How awful. Sending HUGE hugs to everyone, and extra ones to sweet Katie.

Doug and Terrye said...

Lori, I'm so happy to see those pictures taken at home!!! WE have followed sweet little Katie's progress all week, and this truly is an answer to prayer.

Katie, it is so good to see you at home and feeling better. My little Grace has prayed for you everyday.

Terrye in FL

Love Letters To China said...


We are so happy you're feeling better and safe at home.

Tamara said...

Katie Starr-
We are so happy that you are home and feeling better. We have been so worried about you. Hospital's are no place to be.
We think your doggy is really cool (wish mommy would let us have one)
We hope you feel even better today!
Moose and Goose

Stacey T. said...

Oh Katie and family what a big scare you gave everyone. No one wants to go to the hospital and I bet you were the same way. What a big brave girl!! Welcome home!!!

Natalie's Mama said...

Katie, honey, you've been through a lot. Just know that your mommy, daddy and brother were every lonely without you. Natalie and I are so very glad that you are back home where you belong.

You are one very brave girl!

Natalie Jade HongHu and her Mommy.

Tammie said...

Katie Starr,

We are so happy that you are finally home in the heart of your family! Just where you should be.
We love you & know that you will continue to get better.

Sending hugs & kisses!
Tammie, David & Erin

Anonymous said...


We are so happy that you are home & feeling better!


Rosie & Mia in Key West

MeiLi's Adoption Journey said...


Glad to hear you are getting better everyday. Sending you magical wishes for a quick recovery. Hope you feel better very soon.


Chinazhoumom said...

Hugs to you KS - you super Trooper!

So glad to see you home where you belong!

Carol & Kimberly

Lisa, Brian and David S. said...

We are so happy you are home, Katie!! You must have been scared, but you are such a brave little girl-as your mom said "Girl Power!" We are so glad that you are feeling better!! So many people are so fond of you, and everyone is happy that you are home now!!

recoveryagent2 said...

Katie Star,
It's so nice to have you back around the is a good time to ask for anything you want...don't tell mom I said that!
Waiting patiently till you feel like driving up our way and we can you see again. I hope you feel really, really good today.
Penny Richardson

Jen said...

Katie: I am happy to see you are feeling better! I had pneumonia last fall and I know how miserable you felt. Hugs!

sewing jen

Minouche said...

Dear Katie,

We are so happy to see you all happy and smiling in the safety of your home again. We were worried about you and your family when you were at the hospital, but now we are overjoyed to see you on the road to recovery! :o))

Hope we can get together soon, so you and Yasmin can play! :o))


Minouche, Delfim and Yasmin

v_patterson said...

Katie, whew, that was scary. We're so glad to see you are better. Best wishes for a full recovery as quickly as possible.

Anonymous said...

Little Miss Katie,
Thank Goodness you are home and one the mend. I'm so glad you have the best mommy and daddy in the world who love you more than anything and knew exactly what to do for you. How sad we all were to know you were so sick and now...everyone is smiling and more thankful than ever that YOU are smiling, feeling better and home!
Brenda, Mae Li and family

Lisa~~ said...

So sorry that Katie was so sick and that you all had to go through that. Happy though to hear that she's doing better and hopefully soon will be back 100%.

Mama Duck said...

I've been out of blogland for a sorry to hear that Katie's been sick! You have been through it. I know that this mother's day is extra-special, knowing that your children are safe and sound. I hope that you've enjoyed it!

norie said...

lori...i have been checking each day in hopes that katie is totally better...i am thinking of you all...

norie and cecelia

Vivian M said...

I am so glad this is over and Katie is healthy again. Huge hugs to you all!