2.27.2010

Primary Children's Medical Center and Madi

After becoming a fan of Primary Children's Medical Center on Facebook, I felt a desire to share our story and gratitude on their post "Child First and Always." This is the first time I have done so since the hospitalization, not because I am not full of immense appreciation, but because it is so personal and sacred.

It will be 8 years in May when my daughter was admitted to Primary Children's Hospital for Scarlet Fever and an aggressive, virulent strep infection that had killed two Utah children a few days prior. Our oldest daughter, Madison, was admitted to Utah Valley Regional Medical Center and began to receive intravenous antibiotics. After 24 hours of hospital care, she was not improving but getting worse. Her pediatrician, Dr. Daniel Johnson, suggested we contact a specialist at PCMC. He warned that it would likely take considerable time to reach Dr. Meyers. 

Then, a miracle unfolded, Dr. Meyers (noted physician who headed the team to separate conjoined Herrin twins) answered the call as she stepped inside her car parked at Utah Valley Regional Medical Center (Dr. Meyers had just finished a clinic in the very hospital my daughter was staying.) She was at the foot of my daughter's bed within five minutes of the call. Incredible!
 
Dr. Meyers quickly assessed my daughter and ordered an ambulance to transport her to PCMC in Salt Lake City. Before being lifted onto the gurney, Dr. Meyers took a permanent marker and traced the outside line of my daughter's red, infected abdomen. After hugs and teary goodbyes from nurses and doctors, Madison was placed in the back of the ambulance. I accompanied her sobbing most of the 40 minute drive. I could see the pained looks of the EMTs as they watched me. No false asurrances were made, but a real sense of compassion was conveyed. Dr. Meyers would meet us at PCMC. 

Madi was put on emergency stand-by surgery. If her swelling grew, she would be immediately whisked into the operating room. For the next two days, teams of doctors, dressed in white lab coats, piled into Madi's room watching for any changes in her condition and carefully examining to see if the infection had spread (outside the permanent marker line). 

In the meantime, Madi received boluses of a full range of antibiotics delivered through a central line to her heart every hour around the clock. She burned with fever for 48 hours. It was an excruciating time. Madi was often delirious and in terrible pain. Her room was kept dark while she had a high temperature. It felt like a continuous, dark night--a nightmare I was caught in. Over this time frame, my heart felt like it was being squeezed. I could barely swallow or talk as a lump seemed permanently lodged in my throat. I was heart sick and heart broken. But this would all change in the course of a couple days. 

The antibiotics finally worked and she was on the road to recovery. If the antibiotics had not won the fight for Madi's life or if she had contracted an allergy to the antibiotics, or if the strep strain was more powerful than the medicine, a very morbid surgery was the second alternative. The surgeons would have to cut out all the infected tissue which may have included muscle and bone. 

We are grateful every day for Primary Children's Medical Center! It was a "storybook illness" (like Beth from "Little Women") with a fairytale ending. Madi fully recovered after three weeks of hospital care. Now, we have the privilege of parenting a beautiful, talented teenager and continue to enjoy watching her grow into a young woman, because a very renowned, important, and busy doctor put a child first and always! Thank you to Dr. Rebecca Meyers and all the staff at PCMC who made a difference in our child's life--who make a difference in children's lives every day! You are my heroes! 

I have not shared this story publicly, because my feelings have been tender and the experience so very close to my heart. I still can not relay our experience without too much emotion even with eight years passed. We were blessed. No question. We had ward members and neighbors who fasted and prayed for our daughter's recovery and we know that is what made the difference in our daughter's outcome. There was a real possibility of heart damage, but that was not to be the case. She is healthy and strong.
Now, every time I see my daughter perform the violin or give a speech, I get choked up. I am reminded that I may not have had the choice experience of watching my daughter grow and learn. Today, she is a thriving, somewhat over-achieving teen. I regularly thank my Heavenly Father for this gift. I cherish it!  

Now for a practical tip from a nurse: Always finish prescribed antibiotics even if symptoms improve unless otherwise advised by a physician. When people stop taking an antibiotic before it is gone, bacteria is strengthened and antibiotics are weakened! Be vigilant!

 

 


 

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