The moments in between
We are home from the ER. Frustrated, a little scared, but home. So far a very similar experience as the early stages of Amy's encephalitis in 2009 - but we are very hopeful it will not develop like that situation did and that Caleb will improve instead of getting progressively worse. The doctors basically don't have an answer for why Caleb is having throat swelling and trouble breathing, so they advised home treatment with Benadryl and ibuprofen, rest and plenty of fluids. His chest x-ray and rapid strep culture were negative (not a big surprise, as we are probably looking for an immune reactive process, not a bacterial or viral infection).
Caleb is sleeping in our bedroom again tonight so we can keep close tabs on him. Please keep praying that, if this is a reaction, it will be short and limited and he will recover quickly with no further worsening or complications. And for swift and wise medical treatment and decisiveness on our parts as parents if he does get worse. It is so hard to know when to go to a larger medical center - but that is what we will have to do if he ends up as sick as Amy did in 2009.
We have gotten so good at fitting normal life in between crises, as a family. In between my ER visit Friday night and brief hospital stay into Saturday afternoon and Caleb's events of Sunday, we had a wonderful 24 hour period celebrating Aaron and Katy's birthdays with our St. Cloud family. I think it is this ability to rapidly shift gears from the "survival mode" demanded by crisis situations to the "thriving mode" you use in times of calm and peace that has allowed our family to continue to flourish despite a lot of hard times and high pressure over the past four years. It also helps that our kids have learned from our example to have a sense of humor about the curveballs of life! Upon learning Caleb was headed back to the ER tonight, Katy burst into a little song to the tune of "Back in the Saddle Again": "Back to the ER again, oh, it's back to the ER again, friends..." which had the girls, Caleb and I all giggling. Whoever said it first was right..."you might as well laugh or else you'll cry."