Monday, November 30, 2009

Picture Time!

A couple of weeks ago, when we had a warm Fall day around here, I decided to take some pictures of our boys outdoors. I thought that it might be a great time to try to get some pictures for our holiday greeting cards. Have I mentioned how difficult it is to get a decent picture of our boys? Well, in case I haven't, check out the evidence below!

They are either covering their faces up with their hands.

Acting goofy.

Trying to do the Moon Walk.

Acting silly.

Or, falling over!

Believe it or not, I was able to get a few good shots of them, amongst all the craziness! Who needs exercise when you have 4 boys to take pictures of?!

Anyway, I would love to send out holiday cards to some of our friends that we have met through blogging and also to friends that we've met in real life. I have a few of your addresses (if I haven't lost them!) and would love to get more of them. So, If you are interested in seeing the finished product of our boys' photo session, and you don't think that I have your address, please e-mail me your address to our yahoo account ( or leave a comment with your address on here.


The following verse, from the Bible, is so fitting that I was actually laughing out loud! Friends are certainly wonderful and brothers DEFINITELY create lots of adversity!! :)

"A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity." Proverbs 17:17

Monday, November 23, 2009

"I see a winner!"

A couple of weeks ago Joel's Grandpa passed away. We went to his memorial service this weekend. It was nice to see lots of family that we don't get to see too often and it was also nice to take time to remember a great man. Joel's Grandpa lived to be 90 years old and he lived a very full life! He was a fun guy to be around. He always had a great story to tell and he could hold our boy's minds captive with his stories, like no one else could. He also had a way of making you feel like you were very important to him. I always felt special when I was around him. He will be dearly missed!

Here is the last picture that we have of him, which was taken this summer.

At his memorial I had the privilege of meeting an "Angel". I was sitting with Gavin, when a lady came up to us and said, "You don't know me, but I just had to come and say Hi to you and your Angel." I knew who she was talking about right away.....She was talking about Gavin! She said, "I have an Angel too. Let me go get her." She came back with her "Angel" and I was so glad that she did! Her "Angel" was named Judy and she was 52 years old. Oh, and she just happened to have Down syndrome like Gavin does. I fell in love with her instantly!

Her Mom said that she always goes up to others that have an "Angel" too. She also said that she can spot an "Angel" a mile away. She always says to her husband, "Oh, I think that I've spotted a winner!" He doesn't know how she does it, but I do! I can spot these wonderful humans a mile away as well!

She said that us Moms, of these "Angels", have a calling from God and that it is a great calling to have. I couldn't agree more! I am so happy to have met this lady and her "Angel" and I'm so glad that she took the time to come and introduce herself! She definitely made my day!

There are so many people that try to be supportive of me, as Gavin's mother. But, no one can totally support you or get you, like another Special Need's Mother can! Others just can't understand what a blessing your child is and others just can't understand the highs and the lows that come with having this child in your life! I always come away from meeting another Special Needs Momma feeling like I have such a bond with them, even if I've only talked with them for a few minutes. I totally "get" them and they can totally "get" me! This is an awesome feeling!

Of course, there are different degrees of a child's special needs and I can definitely "get" some Mommas, more than others. Some of us deal with greater difficulties and have a "less" bright future ahead with our child's loss of abilities. But, all Special Needs Moms have such a heart and bond with another Special Needs Mom! So, I was THRILLED to meet Judy and her wonderful mother!

They totally understand the blessing it is to have a Gavin in their life! They totally get that when you can make your child laugh, considering their mental or physical abilities, it is THE BEST SOUND IN THE WHOLE WIDE WORLD!

And, they totally get it, that when your Special Needs child smiles, it is THE MOST AWESOME SIGHT IN THE WHOLE WIDE WORLD!

I am so thankful for all the great Mommas that I have had the privilege of meeting or getting to know by blogging! Thanks for taking the time to support me and for just "getting" me and for loving my son just because of who he is! You are all winners to me!

Oh, and here is a blog site to go to if you are interested. And, here is another one. I read a couple of things on both of these sites this weekend and today, and both address some of what I've said here today. One of the above sites has a song about Special Needs children and parenting them. The other site has a list of reasons to be thankful for your Special Needs child. They both hit the nail on the head and brought tears and a smile to my face! Check them out!

To sum it up, it's kind of like this: Only another parent, especially a mother, of another Special Needs child can truly understand what the other parent is going through. We are part of a "private club" and you may only join this club if you are called to do so, or if your heart is big enough to take on this calling yourself. You can't possibly understand the rules and regulations of this club, unless you have been blessed with a special ticket, which allows you admittance into this club. (Sorry, no exceptions allowed! :) That's just the way it is.) In fact, many of us would have never even joined this club on our own, but now that we are a part of it, we are so happy (most days anyway) to be a member of this most blessed organization! We just "get" each other and we can spot a "winner" a mile away!

"Understanding is a wellspring of life to him who has it. But the correction of fools if folly." Proverbs 16:22

Monday, November 16, 2009

This is so my life!

Did you know that I was brought up mostly surrounded by females? I lived with just my mom and sister after my parents got divorced. I was blessed with another sister when my dad got remarried. Almost all of my cousins are girls.

Did you know that boys and girls are VERY different? The present time has found me living surrounded by males, so I certainly know this now!

I prayed to God that my first child would be a boy. I had really wanted a brother growing up and never got this wish granted, (I wouldn't trade either of my sisters for a brother though! Love you Amy and Rachel!) so I really wanted our first child to be a boy. I guess God granted me my desire.....times 4!

I TOTALLY ADORE my boys! I am so blessed to have been given them and I thank God for them daily.

But, did you know that girls and boys are VERY DIFFERENT?!

I went from being surrounded by girls to being surround by this.

Did you know that boys continually goof off? Did you know that boys are very loud? Did you know that it's almost impossible to take a decent picture of 4 boys together?

Did you know that a rake can be used for raking leaves, but that it can also be used as a weapon?

Did you know that a peaceful hammock can be turned into a war zone?

Did you know that dinner time is actually comedy and debate hour? And, trips to the store are actually a trip to a wrestling match?

I had no idea, until I got married and had 4 boys!

Did you know that boys are full of energy, full of noises, full of bad ideas and full of pent-up excitability?

I recently read this comic and I thought to myself; "This is SO my life!"

***(click on comic to enlarge, to be able to read more clearly)***

It's never a dull moment with boys around! And, this is an understatement!


But, this Momma sure could use a girl's weekend soon! (Can you tell that my husband is gone hunting for 5 days and I'm stuck at home with the boys, two of which are sick, and I'm losing my mind?!)

"The precious sons of Zion, valuable as fine gold, how they are regarded as clay pots, the work of the hands of the potter!" Lamentations 4:2

Friday, November 13, 2009

School is Cool!

You may remember that I was not thrilled about sending Gavin to school. I was fearful of the whole idea. I'm thankful to say that my fears were all for nothing! School is turning out to be such a blessing for Gavin and even me too! I am still fearful of him getting sick while there and I'm tired of driving him back and forth each day, but otherwise everything else is going great!

In fact, I'm so comfortable with the whole school idea that Joel and I are even considering having him take the bus to and from school soon. Gavin's teacher told me that he could have a personal aide on the bus that would sit with him each day. This would eliminate my fears of him riding the bus. I worry that he might have one of his gagging/spitting-up episodes or have a seizure and no one would be there to help him. Plus, he can't talk to let me know what happened, so having an aide would eliminate these potential problems.

Anyway.....back to school. Gavin is getting so much wonderful therapy at school and he seems to be making tiny strides since he's been attending school. He has definitely blossomed socially. He is less apprehensive than he he used to be. He even seems happy when I drop him off there. He doesn't cry for his teacher anymore, unless she has his AFO's on his feet for too long anyway. He still does not tolerate his AFO's. I think it's because he is so spastic in his hips, legs and ankles. His feet are so used to pointing that it probably hurts to have them in the more normal position. (Joel and I have also decided to give Botox a try for Gavin. His teacher really recommends it and thinks that this would help him to be able to try sitting better and also his ankles wouldn't be so tight, so he might tolerate the AFO's better.) The other day, his teacher said; "I think that I witnessed Gavin's 1st temper tantrum." She said that he threw quite the fit after having his AFO's on for about 10 minutes. She said that it was quite funny, but she felt bad for him too. As soon as she took the AFO's off, he was totally fine and happy. It's actually a relief to me, to know that he can express his feelings to let people know that something isn't right with him. He should be wearing his AFO's most of his waking hours, but at the rate we are going, this will never happen! Hopefully, Botox will help to change this.

It is so cute for me to watch Gavin in action at school! He often times has a look on his face, of being proud of himself for doing the things that they are having him do. In the car, on the way home from school each day, he "talks" to me about what he did and he seems quite happy about the whole thing. That is, if he doesn't crash and fall asleep on the way home.

His teacher, aide and therapists are AWESOME! They are all so caring and definitely know what they are doing. We had conferences this week and the report that we got was a good one. They think he is doing well, but due to absences, he has not met his goals yet. He has an 81% attendance and they thought that if he was there more often, he would be able to meet his goals. I asked them how they knew this? The goals that they have in place for him aren't that big, but due to Gavin's stroke, we have been told that he will likely not progress much further. I said this to his teacher and she said that they never look at a child as not being able to accomplish goals. Their philosophy is to just keep working at them and to strive to reach the goals. I think this is a great philosophy! I told the teacher that I tend to not look for great gains in Gavin, just as a protective measure for myself. I really can't get my hopes up or look beyond today, because if I did I wouldn't be able to get through each day. She said to just leave it up to them then. She also gave me a book to read from their school library. It's called, "You will dream new dreams." It has stories from parents who have walked similiar roads of uncertainty and struggles with their children. I'm excited to begin reading it today!

His teacher said that although she doubts Gavin will ever walk one day, she does have hope that he will progress. She said that she could not do her job if she didn't see progress with these children. She said that she has been told that "this child won't do......." and many do end up doing more than expected. She said that she has already seen growth in Gavin and she gets chills watching him respond to visual therapy. She says it's very exciting and that every tiny step is HUGE with our special children! I walked away from our conversation feeling so renewed and I am very happy with her and the school!

The biggest progress that Gavin has made is one that came from help from his speech pathologist. I had told her that Gavin HATES having his teeth brushed, so she scheduled a time for him and I to work together with her. We did this a couple of days ago and I am SO GLAD THAT WE DID! I learned that there is something called "teeth brushing etiquette." I made this term up since our session together. Gavin has been trying to tell me that I was rude when I brushed his teeth! She didn't say this, it's just another thing that I came up with since I learned proper "teeth brushing etiquette."

Gavin has always disliked having his teeth brushed and I dreaded doing it to him! I used to just do it quickly to try to do the job and just get it over with. The other day, I learned that this is not proper etiquette. With children like Gavin, who have sensitivity issues, I should have been taking it very slowly and working my way up to brushing his teeth. (Just so you know, I thought that I was taking it slowly by telling Gavin that I was going to brush his teeth and by placing the toothbrush on his lips first so that he knew something was going into his mouth, but this wasn't slow enough for Gavin.)

Remember how I said that "children don't come with instructions?" Gavin definitely did not! His brothers used to love brushing their teeth and wanted to carry the toothbrush around for hours just sucking and chewing on it. This is so not the case with Gavin! I learned that first I need to have Gavin play with the toothbrush and feel it...then I have to massage around his mouth with my fingers to help desensitize his mouth...then I need to sing songs and gradually move the toothbrush up to his mouth...then I need to enter the toothbrush into his mouth a certain way...then I need to keep his head somewhat forward to help to keep salivia from going down his throat and brush for a short time and then let him swallow...then I need to sing some more and play some more and then brush a little bit more..........I think you have most of the idea.

Anyway, this totally works for Gavin! For the first time, maybe ever, I brushed his teeth without him having tears and screaming! It took a LONG time, but it was worth it! I will just have to make it part of playtime and therapy time. In the world that we live in, we are always trying to hurry up and get things done, but I am finding out that Gavin likes to takes things slow and that he wants to know what is going on. This is probably a good lesson for all of us, don't you think?!

Here is Gavin during mouth cleaning now:

It's a night and day difference from before! I guess it would be very unenjoyable for someone who can't see very well or understand what's going on, to have someone just shove a toothbrush in their mouth unexpectantly! Gavin has just been trying to tell me this, but I just didn't understand! Poor little man!

Now, if we can just figure out a way for him to like bathtime...............?!?!?

"A wise man will hear and increase learning, and a man of understanding will attain wise counsel." Proverbs 1:5

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Instructions not included!

Becoming a parent comes with risks. Unfortunately, our children do not come with instructions! They are handed over to us in the hospital and the rest is left up to us.

And, some children come with a whole lot more to figure out, such as Gavin!

When I was pregnant with him I wasn't worried, in the least, about having another child. I figured that after having 3 children I had it all figured out, so what's to adding another one?! My biggest concern was actually whether or not this child would be a girl or a boy. I REALLY wanted Gavin to be a girl! I was feeling very outnumbered by all the testosterone in our house and I wanted a girl so badly!

Obviously, God had other plans for me! When I went in for the ultrasound to find out if the baby was healthy and we found out that I was carrying another boy.....I must admit, I was slightly devastated!

My mom's response to this news was that "this little boy will be something very special!" This didn't really help me to feel better about the situation, but guess what?.....She was right!

Gavin came into the world surprising us all! Not only was he a boy, he also came with an extra chromosome and lots of medical issues! I was really wishing that children came with instructions after he came along!!! In fact, he couldn't even be figured out by lots of doctors, let alone his parents!

The funny thing is, when I think about this today, I can honestly say that my mom was right. Gavin may not have been born a girl, but he sure is special! He is lots of work and not what I expected, but I actually would take a couple of Gavins over a couple of the other stressors in my life! He is so special to me and I'd sign up for a few more of him if I could!

Yesterday my sister e-mailed me this picture that she took of Gavin this weekend.

I would seriously love to have 4 Gavins in my life! He is truly special!!! Thank You God for Gavin! God knew what He was doing when He gave me Gavin! I am thankful that Gavin came out the way that he did!

*Of course, I'm still aching for my girl though!* :)

"Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; before you were born I sanctified you." Jeremiah 1:5a

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Inexpensive therapy..........

This is what I've decided blogging is. An inexpensive and easy access way of getting counseling. That is what my last post was about.....getting it all out and getting support. Sorry to say, but that is what this post's purpose is all about as well.

Last night after I dropped our older boys off at church for Cadets, out of the blue, I thought of other things that Gavin had to go through during the time before his stroke. I was driving to the store to get some groceries and I had to go home instead, because I was sobbing harder than I have in a long time.

I remembered that during the two days leading up to Gavin's stroke he also had a VERY high fever. It was running between 104 and 106.5 degrees! (Maybe another sign of dehydration???!!....thinking back I seriously wonder about the intelligence of the many doctors and nurses involved in his care at that time!) At the time, doctors were contributing Gavin's symptoms to his having C-Diff and going through withdrawls from the high doses of narcotics that he had been on for months. While some of his symptoms can be attributed to these things, many more should have been a big red flag to them, that much more was going on with him!

I want to say that I don't blame myself for what happened to Gavin. I just wish that I had fought harder to get the doctors to listen to my concerns. I really did all that I could. I told many doctors and nurses that I thought that he was dehydrated, they just didn't believe me. My only fault in any of this was trusting them. I figured that the doctors had to know more than I did. Obviously, in this case, they did not!

Anyway lastnight, thinking back to those couple of days before his stroke and remembering the high fever he had made me want to throw-up! The image that was in my head was of my sweet, precious baby having to lay there burning up, in pain, trying to tell us that something was wrong, not sleeping, continually shaking and on top of all of this.....they had him laying on ice packs and covered with ice packs! This is what I suddenly remembered lastnight. This is what made me break down again.

A mother is supposed to comfort her child and just imagine having to struggle like that while laying on ice!!! This thought and image is so horrible to me! It breaks my heart to think of him cold and suffering! The tears are still flowing this morning. I just pray that he doesn't remember any of that time and I pray that God had him wrapped in comfort during this time of suffering! Because it's almost too much for my mothering mind to think about! I would have taken away all of his pain if I could and I would erase his having to go through all of this if I could, but I can't.

Instead of getting groceries lastnight, I came home and looked at pictures of Gavin at the age he was when all of this happened. I also read some of my blog posts from that time. Here are a couple of picture of Gavin a few days before all of this happened.

Gavin used to always have his hands and fists up by his face. He would be sucking on them or holding them in front of his eyes staring at them. It was so cute to me! Especially watching him stare at them. It was like he had his own toys and entertainment. After the stroke he no longer did this. Several months after the stroke we found out why he no longer did this. It was because the stroke caused him to be legally blind. He is still considered legally blind today, but they believe the blindness stems from brain cell damage, not his eyes. Hopefully with therapy, his brain will relearn to tell his eyes what they are seeing.

Here are some words that I wrote on my blog just before he had his stroke:

Where do I start?! Gavin has had a rough 24 hours! He, nor I, have gotten much sleep. He had a couple of tests yesterday, which came back normal, but now they are again puzzled by what's going on with him. He was quite fussy yesterday and ended up running a 106.5 fever during the night! He was so agitated and just couldn't sleep. It was horrible for me to watch again.

He is also very dehydrated. He has been on a dieuretic 3 times a week, but when we got to this hospital they switched it to 2 times a day! They did this even though I told them that I thought it was too much. So, now he's dehydrated, like I thought he would be. They are going to put him back on his original dose and schedule. Hopefully this helps. Please pray that Gavin comes back around to his smiley self and starts to feel better soon!

Here is a picture of Gavin the days after the stroke, back on the vent and needing lots of medical intervention and some more words that I wrote just after his stroke.

Gavin needs lots of prayers right now! They are in the process of putting the ventilator back in! His breathing became very labored a few hours ago and his fevers are still very high.

The following paragraphs were also written on my blog following his stroke. This will just give you some idea of how he was doing and how I was feeling at that time.

Gavin is hanging in there. He is hooked up to tons of machines again and kept sedated most of the time. This is sooo hard to see after seeing him so well last week! His kidneys and bowels started giving out, but seem to be coming back again. His blood pressues have been quite low and he's been getting lots of support for this, plus lots of blood and platelet replacement.

Yesterday I reached an all time low since this all began. I can't see him suffering anymore! I have always concentrated my prayers on healing him, but yesterday I just kept praying that God would take him so that he wouldn't have to fight and suffer anymore! It is breaking my heart! I'm sobbing as I type this, it is just getting to be more than I can take! Please pray that God takes away Gavin's suffering; whether that means healing him and making his life worthwhile or calling him home to be with Him. Because right now Gavin's life is horrible! Our family life is stressful too! We are constantly running from work, hospital or kids. Our boys' lives are chaotic too. Pray that they feel cared for and loved too!

I am so angry about what has happened with Gavin this week! This shouldn't have happened! I feel it is so important that health care workers take the time to HEAR the patients and their families and not miss something because they weren't listening! There are a few simple things that could be changed to ensure this. Like, having more continuity of care. When so many doctors are seeing patients each week it is so easy for them to miss something because they can't compare the patient today with how they looked yesterday. Plus, they send out evaluations after the hospital stay is over to see how the patient feels their stay went, Why not do this during the stay too? This way problems could be fixed during the time the patient needs treatment, instead of when it's too late for that patient. They could ask questions, such as: Do you feel anything is being missed with your care? Are you being listened to? Are we as health care professionals communicating well with you? I feel this would leave a smaller chance for error to occur. No doctor can read a patient's whole chart everytime they see a patient and they are human too. So, keeping the patient and their family involved and getting their impute would help make sure that the doctor knows the patient's history and help prevent errors. Sorry for rambling! I guess I'm passionate about this topic right now!

Today my anger is fading. I'm glad about this. Yesterday I felt so uneasy all day with all that anger brewing in me! Today brings a feeling of defeat. I just feel depressed and anxious. There are so many uncertainties with Gavin's future. As if there weren't enough to begin with! Now we are uncertain about his brain function due to the seizures that he continues to have. They feel his brain is "irritable" due to the fevers, DEHYDRATION! and infection. The EEG showed low brain waves, which is not good, but they aren't sure if the results were skewed due to many factors. Those factors being: A lot of sedation from the anti-seizure medicine, being on the vent, having a pacemaker and a lot of electrical activity in the room with all the machines he is needing. So, add possible brain damage to all his other issues! I'm just ready to go to sleep for a week and to wake up finding this all to be a bad dream! It's hard to have hope when there are so many uncertainties! I'm still grasping for it though! I know that anything is possible with God and that miracles are still possible. Knowing this and having all the support we have from so many are the only things keeping us going. Which is A LOT! I just have to keep reminding myself this!

Please continue to pray for Gavin! Pray that his seizures will stop and that he will come back to us as he was, or pray that God calls him home to be with Him where Gavin's suffering will be no more! Pray that our family continues to look to God for all that we need and that we not be consumed with worry, knowing that God is in charge! Pray for wisdom for the health professionals! Pray for our extended family, knowing that they are suffering with this too!

Obviously, Gavin got better and eventually was able to go home again. If fact, Gavin was released from the hospital on Mother's day weekend, after having spent over 4 1/2 months in the hospital. To this day, it's the best Mother's Day gift I've ever been given!

Here are more words that I wrote on my blog during that time and a picture of Gavin the day before he left the hospital:

Happy Mother's Day to me!
Gavin is going home tomorrow!!!

Here is what I wrote on my blog the day after he came home and a picture of him home again:

Home Sweet Home!
GAVIN IS HOME!!! He is doing great and we are so glad to have him here! While driving home with him, I felt such relief and happiness! I thought that I would be worried, but so far I'm not. Another blessing from God! We are so very thankful!

What a sweetheart! Don't you think?!

Lastnight I asked Joel if I would ever be able to totally get past these times where I reminisce those days and have breakdowns like I do a couple of times each year. He said that maybe it's part of the grieving process. I suppose that it is, but it sucks! I feel guilty saying that I am grieving over this, because I still have Gavin and other moms are not as fortunate, but it has been a loss to me. I grieve for the baby that he was before the stroke and I grieve for the boy that he could have become, had these mistakes not been made and had the stroke never have occured. Plus, I grieve for the things that he had to suffer through!

I don't know if I will ever be able to get past all of this, but I am thankful that I still have Gavin! And, I'm thankful for the prospect of Gavin's and my life in heaven most of all! He's gone through so much and still does, but all of this will definitely be a faded memory when we are rejoicing in heaven one day!

I was reading the Bible to the boys after dinner lastnight. We read the last two books of Revelation. I don't get very excited about much these days, but reading these words sure did lift my spirits! I can't wait for this glorious day where there will be no more suffering, no more pain and no more heartache!

Sometimes I think we just go through life trying to enjoy what is here and only focusing on the present. What we should really be doing is focusing on the future! I need to do this more often! Because I have the knowledge of God and believe the truths that He has given us in the Bible, I know that my future will be SO WORTH all the suffering that we go through on earth! In fact, I believe that sometimes suffering is brought to us so that we will focus on the future! If things were always going so well, I know that I wouldn't look to God as often as I do. And, because I am so stubborn and selfish, God has had to show me which way I should be looking by bringing suffering into my life! It sure does sting, but I truly know that there is a reason and a purpose and a huge reward at the end of all of it! I can't wait for this glorious day!

"And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give every one according to his work. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last." Revelation 22:12-13

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

One mistake or moment can change the rest of your life forever!

This picture was taken of Gavin shortly before he suffered his stroke. He was about 7 months old. Wasn't he cute?!

He was doing quite well in this picture. He was still in the hospital, after having been for almost 4 months. He had gone through 3 surgeries and almost 2 1/2 months of being intubated and on a ventilator. He was finally making great improvement and was working hard on getting to come home again.

He was then transfered to another hospital, that was closer to our home. This is where mistakes were made and Gavin suffered his brain injury. One mistake and a matter of a couple of days changed his and our life forever.

About a month ago I totally broke down thinking about this time in Gavin's life. I do this a couple of times a year. Usually I'm in the shower, alone with my thoughts and the dam breaks loose. This time I was reading an article in the October 2009 Good Housekeeping magazine. There was a story in it called, Life after Josie, which was about a toddler who got burned in the bath tub and ended up in the hospital with 1st and 2nd degree burns. Her parents were told that she was going to be fine, but that they needed to keep her hydrated and watch for infection. She was still hospitalized while she healed from her burns. She was in the hospital for a couple of weeks, healing and getting narcotics for the pain. She was doing great and they were planning on sending her home again soon.

This is when things went down hill fast! While reading this story, this is where I lost it and started sobbing. I couldn't believe how similiar our very different stories started to become! This is where I could put myself in this mother's shoes and ached for what she had to go through.

Her daughter started to act thirsty all of the time. She would cry for something to drink, but was told that she could only have ice chips. She would suck on her washcloth during bath time. She was getting dehydrated! Her mother asked for IV fluids to be given to her daughter, but she was told that her daughter was just fine. She was NOT fine!

The next day she became unresponsive and her mom was very worried. The mother was told that she was fine and that it probably had to do with weaning from the narcotics. So, the doctor discontinued the narcotics. Later that day, the order to not give narcotics anymore was changed, and a nurse gave her methadone. Minutes later Josie went into cardiac arrest. She went from almost going home, to on a breathing tube and tons of machines! The doctors thought she had an infection, but her mother knew that it was because her daughter was dehydrated and given the narcotics. This proved to be the case!

Josie's organs began to shut down and she was pronounced brain dead. Josie died from this mistake! They later learned that Josie did die from dehydration.

Reading this story made me so sad for this mother! It also made me wonder why Gavin is still alive today?

Gavin's story started out very differently. He was born with a heart defect and this is how his hospitalization began. Josie suffered burns and she died from complications that arose from mistakes that were made!

Although their stories started out very differently, the ending was almost the same! Gavin almost died from the very same thing! Gavin was so much more sick than this little girl to begin with and yet very similiar mistakes were made, and Josie died and Gavin lived. WHY???

When I think back to those horrendous few days in the hospital, I almost get physically sick! It's like a bad movie playing in my head. Gavin went through SO much, things that could have been prevented! I remember having to watch Gavin suck frantically on his fists trying to get some fluid from them. I remember watching him shake and shake and shake! I remember him continually fussing and trying to tell us that something was wrong! I remember him and I being awake for a couple of days straight and then he finally fell asleep. In the end, this sleep was not a good thing, it was because he had suffered his stroke!

The thing is, I KNEW that something was wrong before this! I told doctors and nurses that something was wrong! I told them that I thought that he was dehydrated and that he needed IV fluids! The doctors kept telling me that they wanted him to be dehydrated, because his lungs needed to get clear. I told them that I understood that, but "What about the rest of his body?!"

Of course, I was just his mom! The doctors did not take into account the fact that Gavin had C-Diff and was constantly having bouts of diarrhea. They didn't take into account the VERY HIGH doses of dieuretics that he was getting. They didn't take into account the fact that Gavin's mom might actually know her son better than all of them put together! The doctors did finally give Gavin an IV, but it was too late!

Gavin suffered his brain injury and it's all because he was dehydrated! Gavin ended up back on the ventilator and on tons of machimes. Gavin's organs even began to shut down. His kidneys and liver weren't working properly and he was a mess! Shortly after this is when Gavin began having seizures as well!

I thought that he was going to die. Doctors and nurses thought that he was going to die. I knew that it was from dehydration, but no one wanted to commit to this reality.

In Josie's story, she died and doctor's told her parents that "this shouldn't have happened and if we had listened to you, her mother, she would be alive today." This is what the mother had been waiting to hear. The hospital offered this family a settlement for their loss. The family didn't want this money, but they took it and started a foundation with the money. They wanted their daughter's death to have good come from it.

Obviously, Gavin did not die from the mistake that was made. But, his life and our family's life has changed forever because of this mistake! Gavin could be sitting up, crawling and even walking today if things had been done differently. This is a hard pill to swallow everyday!

The Josie King Foundation created ways for hospitals to not make similiar mistakes, mistakes that took their daughter's life. They started something called, "a rapid-response team." This is a team of doctors and nurses that are on call to come investigate a patient's condition. This team can be called by a family member, who may think that something is not right with their family member or they can be called by a nurse who is concerned with the condition of one of their patients. The number is given to the patient or family when they are admitted into the hospital. This team will come and check the patient thoroughly and make sure that things are not being missed.

Man! I wish that the hospital that Gavin was in had had this team on board for me and him! I surely would have called this number and insisted that his care be investigated further!

This type of thing could have saved Josie's life and it could have prevented Gavin's stroke! I have been told that the "ball was dropped in Gavin's care" and that things should have been done differently. This doesn't change the fact that Gavin will always be like an infant. And, it sure does leave this Momma feeling guilty every day of her life, thinking that things could have be very different today if I had just fought harder for my son!

After reading this article and crying, I got on the phone with our hospital and talked with the patient relations department. I asked if this type of response team was a part of their hospital today. I was told that it was recently added to their team. While this made me happy to hear, it also made me wish that it had been done sooner for Gavin and others like him! There are statistics that say that between "44,000 and 98,000 people die each year from medical errors." The article said that it is "one of our country's top killers and that 70 percent of all unexplained medical events resulting in death or serious injury occur because of a breakdown in communication, as in Josie's case" and as in Gavin's case.

I have to live with this mistake forever. I wonder why Gavin is still alive today and Josie is not? I feel the need to make good come from this mistake. So, please inquire with the hospitals in your area, about whether or not "rapid-response teams" are set up in your hospital! This could make all the difference for you or someone that you love!

Gavin is here today for some reason and I am so thankful that he is! His life may be very different than it could have been, but it's still a full life and he brings so much fullness to others that are blessed to know him! God has a plan for Gavin and a plan for all of us! Be ready to fulfill God's plan for you each and every day! And, be thankful for the abilities that He has given to you!

"Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ." Galations 6:2