After spending a few days in Disneyland we loaded up the kiddos and headed off to Utah. The kids and I were going to spend a week visiting friends, going through our stuff, and packing the trailer. (We finally got our own little house to rent). We got to Utah Tuesday afternoon and Symen was on a flight that night back to Mesa. The poor guy had to work while we played. We had a great week. We spent time with friends, hung out with grandma and grandpa, and got the trailer all ready for Symen to come pick it up at a later time. Friday night after packing the last few things into the trailer, the kids and I headed up to Heber to have dinner with Leah and the boys.
We had dinner and the kids went off to play. After a few minutes, Zane came back. He said he didn't fell good. So, he cuddled on the couch with Leah while we chatted. By the time we left Zane was doing ok. He had a little fever, but nothing too alarming. We got back to Grandma's house and I put the kids to bed. Zane did not want to sleep. We stayed up and watched tv. Around 4 a.m. he started to complain his legs hurt. I simply thought that he was getting the flu with achy legs. About 2 hours went by and he started complaining more and more. I tried heating pads, Motrin, every thing I could think of and nothing was working. I put him in the car to go get some Tylenol so I could rotate with the Motrin I was giving him. He fell asleep and slept for about an hour when I got him home. I had a full day ahead, a sick kid, and no sleep to go on. Emilee and Garrit went with Grandma and Grandpa VanderLinden, and I took Krew and Zane to pick up Grandma Becky at the airport. When I told my mom that I was going to drive home from Utah by myself, she insisted to drive home with me. Her maternal instinct was hard at work. I tried to convince her that I am a big girl and that I could handle it, however, moms always wins. Looking back, this is the first of many personal revelations that came out through this.
I put socks on Zane and loaded him in the car since he wouldn't walk or let me put shoes on him. We got to the airport to pick up Grandma, I moved a bag in the back seat that bumped Zane's foot in the process. He went into a tail spin, screaming and crying which he had not done up to this point. I told mom about our night and what was going on. Mom's first thoughts were, "Let's take him to the doctor." But I shrugged it off and agreed to see the doctor on Monday when we got home since this was just the flu. We continued on with our day. We met up with the other Grandparents and also the other kids for lunch. Grandpa carried Zane since he wouldn't walk and he ate a good lunch. After lunch we went to finish up some last minute packing. We were to meet Leah and her boys at a corn maze to celebrate Krew's birthday. We had some time to burn and I really wanted to go see Symen's cousin. They just had a new baby. So, Zane went with Grandma Tracee and we went to go see Ryan and Amy. It was a quick 15 minute visit, however, I just felt like I need to stop in and say "hi". We had our quick visit then we went and picked up Zane and headed over to meet Leah. We were running late, so Leah was already waiting at the gate for us. I loaded Krew and Zane into the stroller and was collecting my bag. Grandma Becky was wrapping a blanket around Zane when she took off his socks to see way he was complaining about his feet. To our shock his feet looked bruised with red and black marks and were starting to swell. His feet were definitely not like that when I put his socks on in the morning. The kids played at the park while we figured out what to do. I tried calling our family friend, Wade who is a pediatric surgeon. But no luck, so I left a message. I decided to take him to our old family doctor in Heber. I called Symen to let him know what was going on. He agreed, just take him to the doctor. Less then a minute went by and Symen called me back. "Jen, I don't have a good feeling about this. Take him to the ER." ALRIGHTY THEN!
With Krew and Zane, we went to the hospital immediately. Leah stayed with the other kids. The new hospital was the closest facility, so we went there to find absolutely no waiting or other people. They took Zane back right away. By this time Zane was in serious pain. He was screaming and crying while they took his vitals and put in an IV to give the little guy morphine. The morphine allowed him to relax and get a few ZZZ's. Dr. Hyde was perplexed by Zane. His test for inflammation came back positive and his white blood cells were sky high. There was a definite infection, however they rarely see multiple joints swollen at the same time and his vitals were all pretty good. Dr. Hyde stepped out to make some phone calls. While we were waiting Wade (the surgeon) called back. He told me to leave the hospital and take Zane to Primary Childrens' hospital in Salt Lake. When Dr. Hyde came back he said that he did not feel comfortable treating Zane. He would possibly need an MRI, his ankles tapped, or even surgery. So he sent us off to Primary Childrens'. They let us take Zane, instead of by ambulance, and they also left his IV in. Before we left he swabbed Zanes mouth for strep. I called Ryan VanderLinden to meet me at Primary Children's to give Zane a blessing. Good thing I took a few minutes to stop and say hi to them earlier. We got to Primary and they were waiting for us. They took us back to a room: room 22 (Jason's old baseball number). Mom and I both sighed in a little bit of relief. Jason was with us. I told them the story and they took his vitals. The doctor came in to look at him and ordered a heart scan, which later came back normal. The doctors were not sure what was going on. As they were deliberating, I had to go to the bathroom so bad. However, I was afraid to miss the doctors. Zane looked up at me and said "Mom, you can go. Grandma will stay with me." My big guy was still looking out for me. Ryan came and gave Zane a blessing that filled the room with the spirit. I felt as though a tremendous weight had been lifted when Ryan told me afterwards, "He'll be fine, however he has a long road ahead of him." The doctors were delayed in returning back to us for what felt like an eternity, allowing Zane's pain to escalate even further. The poor guy could only cry in pain and there was no way for me to comfort him. I had to ask 3 different times for pain medication and finally I got them to give him some. They were hesitant because they were not sure what treatment they needed to use. The doctors came back and said that he had Rheumatic Fever. We were told that his other joints may start to hurt, however, we were cleared to head back to Arizona. Also, that we should follow up with his pediatrician on Monday. So, with prescriptions in hand we left the hospital at 11:30 p.m. We got home and into bed around 1 a.m. Grandma Becky and I slept for a few hours, then we got up, loaded the car, and tucked all the kids into their spots. And off we went, we had 12 hours of driving ahead of us. The drive was going pretty good. Zane's pain was under control, thanks to the drugs, and the other kids were just enjoying the ride. We got to Kanab and stopped for lunch. Poor Zane was still in his hospital gown from the night before. I took him into Subway, he ate his lunch, and just before I gave him his pain medication then started complaining that his legs hurt. Grandma Becky's first thought was we need to take him to a doctor when we get home, I reassured her that the doctors warned us that it may travel. So, I gave him his medication and he settled in for the next leg of the trip. Right before we got to Lake Powell, Zane threw up on his prized lion blanket. We stopped in Flagstaff and topped off the gas we were so close to being home. The kids had been doing GREAT up to this point and I just wanted to get home to my husband and relax. We just made our way out of Flagstaff when the doctor from Primary Childrens' Hospital called. She simply said "We got the culture back from the first ER Zane went to and shows bacteria in his blood. You need to get him to a hospital right away." I informed her that I was 3 hours away from Phoenix Childrens' and I would go straight there. She called ahead to let them now we were coming. Then chaos began. For some reason at this point everyone went into melt down. Krew was done being in his car seat, so he started screaming. Zane was in pain, so was crying. Emilee, has been listening to me talk to the nurse and is worried about Zane, so she started crying.
Grandma Becky started making phone calls, and I am driving with a mission to get to the hospital. I first called Symen and told him to meet me a PCH. (Phoenix Children's Hospital) Next we called our family friend, the surgeon, who was already at PCH working. I will never forget the calming but concerned words "Jenny, you need to get that boy to hospital quickly, but be safe." I can't even describe the panic that came over me. My nerves and mission to reach the hospital launched into full blown emergency. I had to stay calm and focus on driving safely though.
Racing through the mountain and traffic into Phoenix, I was hopeful to avoid being pulled over. We made it to the hospital, by the grace of God. Symen was waiting, pacing. He grabbed Zane from the van and we headed into the hospital. Symen sat with Zane while they took his vitals, I was filling out the paper work and re-telling the story. It had been 48 hours since this started, two nights of very little sleep, and I just finish driving the most stressful 3 hours of my life. I finally broke down. The nurse was great; she let me cry it out then it was back to "I have everything under control."
We called Wade and he started to exam Zane along with a few other doctors. It was great to have a familiar face with us. After they got done examining him, they still were not sure what was exactly wrong. Wade had already booked the operating room for early in the morning, just encase we needed it. The plan was to take Zane in the morning and check his ankles for infection. The procedure would tap his ankles and test for the infection. A positive infection would require a surgical procedure to flush out all of the infection around the bone. Now with a plan in place, Zane finally received medication to help him sleep without pain. We were moved to an overnight room where Zane finally had a good night sleep. Symen and I... not so much. We shared a pull out chair and worried all night.
At 5:30 a.m. they took us down for surgery. The nurse talked to us and Wade came into talk to us. Fortunately, Zane was still asleep and did not even wake up before going into the operating room. Finally, we walked with him down the hall and gave him a kiss and said "see you soon buddy." A hour and half later Wade came out. Both of Zane's ankles were infected, so they cleaned them both out. According to Wade, Zane's liver was starting to fail and if would have waited another day he would have been in the PICU. Wade also told us, for a sick as he was, all his vitals were good. That is what was confusing them. Finally, Zane was going to get better. He was out of the woods, however, they still need to check everything else to make sure that the bacteria did not settle anywhere else.
The rest of Monday and into Tuesday Zane was pretty sedated. The next week was full of x-rays, echo cardio grahams, and IV's. It was a really long week. However, we are very blessed. We caught it early and were able to keep him out of serious trouble. His other joints, heart, and bones all came back clear. The doctors and nurses at PCH were amazing. One night Zane's IV had to be re-done. The kid was not having it. They worked with him and were kind and patient with him.
6 months later, Zane is doing fine. He has no side effects from his ordeal. He does have some cool scars, a new favorite monkey blanet that he got from the ER in Utah, and an amazing story.