The Family Plan

If the forecast calls for a blizzard, you might as well plan on some Penrod drama. ¬†During the height of the Blizzard of ’97 in Colorado Springs, our son, Jake, decided it would be the perfect time to enter the world. ¬†The fact that every blasted thing on base was closed, the streets were impassable and the hospital said not to leave our house made no difference to him. ¬†Happily, everything worked out and Jake was delivered safely.


Ten days ago as the forecast was predicting the Blizzard of ’16, I thought that I had food poisoning. ¬†After 24 hours of that fun, Jim decided I needed to go to the hospital. ¬†I figured it was either that or death, so I took my chances. ¬†Turns out I had a partial small bowel obstruction. ¬†I assure you, the irony was not lost on me. ¬†The hospital admitted me, Jim made sure I was settled in my room and that I was, in fact, not going to die or need surgery right that minute and hurried home to beat the storm. ¬†Zack requires a lot of maintenance on normal days, we did not want Jake to try and take care of him during a blizzard.

Saturday as I was in my hospital bed realizing that Zack is much stronger and way braver than I, my phone rang. ¬†Jim was calling to ask me the phone number of our friend who happens to be a physician. ¬†Um…. Jim does not worry. ¬†Jim does not freak out. ¬†Jim NEVER calls the doctor.

Turns out Zack was pretty darn sick.  He had a little stomach bug overnight and woke up lethargic and looking pretty awful.  After watching him for a few hours and watching the snow falling faster by the minute, Jim started to realize that Zack needed help.

Our friend,¬†Sarah, soon arrived and took Zack’s vitals and they were not great. ¬†I guess his heart rate was in the 140’s and his systolic pressure was 50. ¬†She called the paramedics to see if it would be possible to get some IV fluids and some Zofran for Zack (thank goodness Z has a PICC line). ¬†Normally, the paramedics would not do that without transporting Z to the hospital, but the blizzard was pretty bad.

When they arrived, the ambulance got stuck in our neighborhood.  We live in a great subdivision and word got out that we needed help and soon many neighbors were digging the ambulance out and sending it on its way.

Sarah stayed with Jim and Zack until she was sure everything was going better.  Jim put Zack to bed and all was well until Zack climbed into bed with him around four in the morning.  Jim said that those were the only steps Zack took during this whole time.  In the morning, it was obvious Zack was not doing better.  Sarah came back down and she and Jim decided that Zack needed to get to the hospital.

Once again, our neighbors came to the rescue.  One of our neighbors has a snow-worthy truck and he volunteered to drive Jim and Zack to the hospital.  That was a big deal because our hospital is over an hour away in good conditions.

Back to my story. ¬†I was trying hard not to get too worried, but Jim had sent me a picture of Zack and I knew he was bad. ¬†The nurses on my floor allowed me to go down to the pediatric ward to see the nurses there. ¬†Because Zack has been in the hospital a lot these last few years, the nurses there are our “hospital family.” ¬†They were awesome and talked to me and helped calm my fears.

Interestingly, one of the surgeons on my team was Zack’s surgeon’s resident for his first two surgeries in 2013. ¬†I told him what was going on and he made sure that the Emergency Department knew Zack was on his way. ¬†He arranged for me to have a hospital pass to leave the floor and meet Zack and Jim when they arrived. He also arranged it so that I could stay with Z in the PICU. ¬†My nurses even came down to the PICU to take my vitals and bloodwork so that I did not have to go back and forth. ¬†I cannot even begin to tell you how amazing that was.


Getting an X-ray in the Emergency Department.


Two of Z’s amazing PICU nurses.

Zack was admitted with a very low sodium level and dehydration.  We would later learn that his sodium level was probably not quite as bad as we originally thought.  We could tell that from some later tests, but it was still not great.  While he was in the PICU, he was able to see President Obama land on Marine One at the hospital and thought that was pretty cool. He was soon transferred to the regular pediatric floor and has been there ever since.


Puppy therapy makes everything better!

I’ll save that story for another day. ¬†I will tell you that he is still in the hospital and doing well. ¬†The doctors are working hard to get his sodium levels and output under control and investigating a few other things. ¬†We anticipate that he will be coming home in the next few days. ¬†I am not able to update this blog there because my computer will not connect to their wifi and the wifi on the pediatric floor stinks. ¬†I promise to update more once we are home again. ¬†Until then…


Hug your babies!

~ Dawn