Wednesday, July 26, 2023

{Seabrook: Day Five}

 Wednesday I woke up with a swollen bottom lip...sunburn or an allergic reaction {who knows!} but it should have been a sign to just stay in bed!  I literally looked like I had gotten far too many injections in my bottom lip.  It was actually pretty hysterical.  The rest of the day...not so much. 

We headed back to North Beach and enjoyed just being together, taking long walks and finding seashells...or "she" shells if you are AJ. 

This sweet old man came by and just gave Beth all these for the girls.  So kind! 

That was the end of the sweet...within a few minutes, AJ was stung by a jellyfish right above her knee.  I knew that the ammonia in urine helps to stop the sting so AG {reluctantly} helped out her baby sister.  Bless.  But it helped! 

A short while later, we headed back to the condo for dinner and a little rest before getting dressed for the annual family beach pictures that we had planned for the evening.  

Bear finished up and headed on across the street to get his fishing rig set up before we came for photos and sunset.  We were just wrapping up dinner when Scott's phone rang.  Luke was screaming and saying "stingray in arm".  There was commotion in the background.  911 had been called.  Scott and I ran out the door and took off...knowing we were still a 10 minute walk away with no easy way to get to him.  

Scott drove to the nearest boardwalk picking me up off the street and we took off running.  Praise God there was not anyone on the boardwalk in our way.  Or if there was I certainly don't remember it.  It was like God opened up a straight line for us to get to him. 

I don't know if I can put into words the chaos that took place...I just hope I never have to see anyone I love so much in that much pain. 

Trauma takes on a whole new form when you've experienced something like this and can do nothing to take it away.  All we could do was react and try to stop it from getting worse.  

The barb was still in his arm.  Somehow, the kid, Miles, that Luke was near and helping cut the leader to get the stingray off the line as he's done countless other times was able to help him cut off the tail so the ray wouldn't keep batting around and causing more damage.  The kid's dad is a surgeon- and was on the phone.  Beach patrol wasn't even there yet.  Luke was in so much pain that he was in and out of it.  He couldn't breathe and his arm was numb.  The venom was continuing to release.  I grabbed a towel that someone had run over and put it on his arm as a tourniquet- we didn't think it had an artery but weren't sure.  Blood was everywhere.  On his clothes, in the sand, everywhere.  Scott said he needed to get it out.  I propped Luke's head up and held his other hand tightly making him focus on my eyes and breathing.  Scott said "this is going to hurt.  don't move."  Luke breathed along with me best he could.  The barb was out intact but the venom was activated and would be for two more hours as the jelly like substance clotted his blood and oozed out of his arm.  Beach patrol was finally there after others waved them down. Hot water on the beach was a lifesaver.  My son had just been punctured by a nearly 5 inch jagged barb and envenomated.  

We got in touch with friends in the medical field and realized that we needed his entire arm in hot water for 2 hours.  The hot water disperses and breakdowns the peptides in the venom.  The bad news is that it's worse than child birth and comes in waves of the pain going from 7 on a scale of 1-10 to over 10 as the venom releases.  We refused the ambulance once we realized they didn't have anything but a hot pack to put on him and had them bring him back to the condo to keep his arm in a hot bath until that part was over.  

We took Luke to MUSC Children's ER after that.  Another I can't honestly say there is anywhere else I'd rather be than in their care for moments like these.  They are the best.  

We had to keep a close eye on his vitals as there are lots of risks with being envenomated.  Luke's blood pressure was extremely high but oxygen saturation was still good.  I kept a running log in my mind of each set of vitals and was grateful to have knowledge of where we needed to be.  Once I saw him trending down after about 40 minutes, I knew we could stabilize long enough in the condo to get the venom stopped and then travel.  

Those waves of severe, intense pain continued...and led to lots of deep breathing and a couple of panic attacks.  An injury like this isn't just physical.  The psychological and emotional toll has been tremendous. 

This was as close as we came to waiting.  Luke found the golden retriever picture and sat down by it since it reminded him of his dogs.  For about 3 seconds.  Then, he was back.

I posted on facebook asking who we knew in the ER {while Luke was in the hot bath at the condo} and one of our fave Peds cardiologist's wife texted me immediately.  Geoff {Annabelle's attending} was in PCICU and Amanda, his wife, said "You know he will do anything for you."  I texted her back with all that had happened and she was my voice of reason.  She told us exactly what to do and where to go.  And had everyone aware before we arrived.  

You never know what God has planned...that long ride to MUSC that we used to take over 15 years ago in the dark and were taking once again.  God was showing me that He redeems it all...even when it doesn't look like it.  Nothing is wasted. 

Xray was in within 2 minutes.  It looked like the barb was in one piece but it is jagged so we wanted to be sure that nothing was left in his arm...and that nothing vascularly or muscularly was further damaged.  

My precious looks so small for such a tremendous injury. 

The thing with the venom is that it will continue to bleed out for a couple days. Why there is such a thing as venom I don't know! I just know it proves Satan is real and dangerous.  And that I want nothing to do with any of it.  Spiritual warfare is real.  The enemy wanted us here...BUT GOD. 

Lots of good irrigation to clean the wound and a couple stitches where it tore a bit more.  Everyone was amazed that Luke thought to cut the tail off and that the barb we took into the ER was what was just in his arm.  MIRACLE! 

His ability to think wisely under pressure is something that God revealed during this.  Luke said he thinks he may want to be beach patrol one day and we told him, that with the skills he showed us in those crucial moments, God may have more in store for him. 

My baby's been through it.  We were all done at this point...nearly midnight. 

How he really feels...bless him!

Stitches were done and Scott and I were ringing in 21 years of marriage in the ER at MUSC Children's Hospital after our son just survived a stingray attack.  We may have been looney at this point.  

We made it back to the condo and Bear slept on the couch to be close.  I think we got to bed around 2am. I didn't sleep well at all...finally getting to sleep and then jumping back to wake as the evenings circumstances were replaying in my mind.  Grateful Bear slept well though! 

The girls were the first awake and joined us in bed for some snuggles.  This is what 21 years of marriage looks like! 

Sweet boy...doing the best he can. Not at all how you want your vacation to go.  He isn't one to sit still and this is going to be tough.  But HE IS HERE.  All Glory to God! 

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