16 years ago my life changed. As a young inexperienced first time mother, I almost killed my daughter and not a day goes by that I don’t feel blessed that God had a hand on our lives.
The week before my daughters 3rd birthday, I noticed that she wasn’t feeling well. She had no energy and just laid around all of the time. She always seemed to get sick around the holidays and I thought maybe she had the flu. With her 3rd birthday being the next day, I decided to take her into the urgent care pediatrician – in hopes that he could give her some medicine to make her feel better. I didn’t want her to miss her birthday party, but never in my mind could I imagine what was about to happen.
But before I go on with the story, let me give you a quick back story and tell you that doctors intimidate me. I’m not intimated by many people, but for some reason doctors intimidated me. Perhaps it was their years of schooling, their white coats or my lack of understanding of medical terms, whatever it was – I always took them at their word and had I not questioned this doctor, it’s possible that my daughter would be dead now.
I believe the doctor didn’t know what was wrong with my daughter. So he lied to me, told me she had an ear infection and gave me a prescription for amoxicillin. I believe he choose to tell me she had an ear infection because it was not something I could see visibly. I thought it was strange that she had an ear infection, since she hadn’t been tugging at her ear and I couldn’t grasp why that make her so tired? Something just didn’t seem right, I guess you can say my mother’s intuition kicked in. So I stepped out of my comfort zone and started questioning the doctor. I can’t recall all of the questions I had asked, except for one. “Was it normal for her to be this yellow?” Then he replied with, “That’s not her natural color?” I said no and I guess something triggered in him to make him want to do some more research and told us we needed to get a blood test.
It was a Saturday and all of the labs were closed, except for the adult urgent care, which was the office next to his. He told me to go over there and get her blood drawn, but they didn’t want to do it. I explained the situation, had them call the doctor and they finally agreed to draw her labs and I’m so thankful that they did. By the time we got home, we received a phone call telling us that we needed to go to emergency room right away and the on call pediatrician would be waiting for us.
We got to the emergency room and waited and waited and waited. There was no doctor to meet us and while we were waiting our daughter seemed like she was feeling better. We had been going about this for over 6 hours and were exhausted. Her birthday was in an hour and since I had scheduled an appointment for Tuesday with her pediatrician, we decided to leave the ER and go home. We told the front desk, but she didn’t seem to care, scratched our name off the list as we left. I had no idea her situation was life threatening when we left.
I don’t know who God had checking up on us, but someone did. We started getting calls at 12:30 am from the emergency room nurse asking us where we were at. This nurse tried to convince us over the phone to come back. I told her no and if this was so important, why didn’t they seen us right away. She gave a gazillion reasons, but I wasn’t listening. I’m freaked out now, in tears, not sure what to do, praying about the situation, asking God for clarification and that’s when I received a phone call from a doctor telling us we needed to come in. I thought to myself, if this doctor is taking time to call us, it must be serious, but I was still hesitant to return. I can remember him telling me that he understood if I didn’t want to go back to that ER, but I needed to take her to an ER tonight. He also promised that if I came back, they would see us right away, so we did.
As soon as we returned to the ER, they admitted her right away. While they were admitting her, I asked the doctor if she had an ear infection and he said no. What I didn’t know, was that blood test showed she had leukemic cells and she needed a blood transfusion right away because her hemoglobin level (which is basically the cells that carries oxygen from the lungs) was at a 2. The normal level for a child her age would be in the range of 11-13. That’s why it was so important for us to get bring her in. Had we not returned she probably wouldn’t have made it through the night. Later she was diagnosed with Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia. At the time I thought what a way to celebrate her birthday. But needless did I know – that it was indeed a celebration.
There were so many things that went wrong that night. I didn’t see it at the time but God showed us grace through so many people. From the lab agreeing to the test, the person who was checking on our ER status, the nurse who called us, the doctor who called us and I’m sure even more people that I’m not aware of. I’m so thankful that I can share my story and I’m thankful that God didn’t let this dumb 24 year old mom be afraid to question a doctor and let her pride get in the way of returning. Most of all I’m thankful that God healed my child and we are able to celebrate her 19th birthday today.
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