2nd Day Trauma

Matthew 5-4Louis and I fully intended on writing up a humorous account of our frustrating travels to Rome and then Lebanon. One of our underlying themes throughout the MTI training was to live in paradox, and we will still post both of our accounts written through that lens. However, we need to take the time now to debrief with you a different lesson. Grieving & Loss. We knew we would be missing home and friends and family. We knew we needed to take time to grieve these losses in order to recover and move forward in our new lives here. We learned a lot about the things we were already grieving when we went to Colorado. We saw that we are prone to deny or avoid these pains, but that does not help us grow and will stunt our maturity and adjustment to a new country.

In conclusion, we came to Lebanon prepared to grieve and knew that the first month would be our time to do that in.

What we were in no way prepared for was what happened on Day 2 of being in Lebanon.

We arrived in Lebanon 4:30 pm on Thursday the 8th of May. We were staying with Pierre and Gigi, our team leader and his wife. Davy got sick Friday morning, our first morning in Lebanon. 6am he woke us up by throwing up all over us. He ate very little throughout the day and that night threw up his entire dinner. All night he would throw up anything he drank. In the morning I felt scared being in this strange country with a sick baby. I didn’t know why he was throwing up and while he slept hot during the night, he did not seem feverish. We decided to take all of our luggage to our new apartment, pick up the mattress for Louis and I and then leave Davy and I at home to try to hydrate him and rest so he could get better.

This plan progressed only as far as the mattress store. We put Davey on Louis’ shoulders and were joking around when Davey asked for water. Having thrown up everything for the past two days we asked him to wait until we left the store and then 30 seconds later he fell limp down Louis’ back. We immediately took him down off of Louis and he was unresponsive. His eyes rolled back in his head and he began to foam at the mouth. His arms tensed and shook and then went limp. We ran outside and sat on the ground with him  yelling and shaking him with no response and his lips turning blue.

A worker at the mattress store screamed for Louis to come with him. He jumped in the car and I followed with Pierre driving his car. I found out later that Davy stopped breathing in the car and Louis did CPR the entire fast paced, manic drive to the hospital. Just as they arrived at the hospital Davy began breathing again but was still unconscious. They took him in and took his vitals which had begun to return to normal right before making us leave to go to a hospital with a pediatric unit. We drove continuing to pray until Davey began to cry. The sound of his crying has been one of the most anxiety raising sounds in my life until that moment. I was so relieved and we all started crying. We brought him in to the emergency room where they performed a CAT scan and took blood work before hooking him up to an IV. Six hours later he was diagnosed as having experienced a seizure brought on by extreme dehydration and acidosis compounded by every other stress experienced in the previous five days. We took him home and cried for the rest of the night as he slept quietly between us in the intervals between us waking him up to drink.

David has made a full recovery.

In our training we discussed many categories of loss that would be unavoidable on the mission field. Several have hurt exponentially worse through this traumatic experience.

  1. The loss of “home”. The loss of the familiar makes this trauma even harder because of all the little things we did not have in place yet being only the second day we were here. We didn’t know where hospitals were, and didn’t have phones or internet to tell anyone outside of Pierre what was happening. We had an empty apartment with only mattresses to bring our still sick baby home to when we left the hospital. We still feel vulnerable and dependent.
  2. The loss of our support system. Not having the people we usually could run to even aware until days later was terrible for us. We couldn’t even send out an urgent “Please Pray!” email. We know that we cannot rely on your support the same way we have had it in the past, but we are feeling it painfully right now.
  3. Of course the largest loss experienced through this was the continued loss of safety. Already we knew the worry of so many followed us that we would not be safe. We knew that there was no more safety in Arizona than in Lebanon, but this has been an acute suffering. We were already prepared to struggle through the first few months deciding what are safe choices for Davy (food, drink, play, etc.). This experience concentrated the loss of safety, and has left us lonely because we fear the “I told you so” that will come from people back in America.

Make sadness your ally. God’s solution for solving these losses is sadness. Rather than something to be avoided, the sadness and grief allows you to let go of what you cannot have in order to make room in your heart for what you can have. It is important to feel safe to grieve. (Paraphrased from Hiding From Love by John Townsend) We have carved out this time to make less decisions and do less so we can take even more time to grieve, and to grieve well.

Please know that all the pain and feelings you are feeling are valid. We want you to feel the grieving along with us rather than try to minimize it. Grieve Well.

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8 thoughts on “2nd Day Trauma

  1. Through many tears, I am praising our dad for his care and provision and goodness and mercy for the man who raced you to the hospital, for his telling Louis to give him breath, for your continued faith in Father’s goodness, for your desire to serve, to suffer, to rejoice in his hands in spite of fears and fury which we are promised to encounter but often here in the states, do only superficially. In having children, the dad shows us the depth of our need to depend, a love for someone of our own blood that we didn’t know was there before, a love for the provision of a mate to share the pain. It is these experiences that will deepen your marriage because you realize that it is a picture of his relationship with us. Hold that baby Davy close but then let him play and grow, knowing he is in such good, good hands. Dan and I are with you too. With love, care, and prayer,Connie

  2. So – I’m not a blubbering mess as I’m sitting in the office at work reading this, but I’m definitely in tears, and definitely glad I was the only one in the office while I was reading both this and Louis’s post. Thanks, guys. And be prepared for a novel of a comment as pay back. 🙂

    I remember having to work through a lot of those emotions in Ireland both while I was in the hospital with malaria and after being released. Well, in Romania, too, because I was on a flight from Dublin to Bucharest within 48 hours. The hardest part of it for me was when my teammates and most of my World Race squad mates left for ministry in Romania while I was still in the hospital. A girl from another team on my squad (that my team had never been paired with) was in the same hospital, and one of my squad leaders (not the one I knew) stayed behind with both of us. Contracting a life-threatening illness was scary enough without the people I’d been living with almost 24/7 for nearly nine months having to leave me behind.

    A couple of weeks later, on the World Race updates blog, there was a post with an update on my condition (and others as well, because another person on another squad had gotten malaria, too, but not started showing symptoms until they were at their ministry site). Some of the parents started questioning not only why we’d gotten sick, but the methods we’d chosen for illness prevention (in my squad, it was across the board… everything from prayer alone to every possible immunization and medication). It was difficult to read, and I had to bite my tongue because I knew any response I made at that time was going to be angry and defensive. I’d taken the appropriate precautions, and still gotten sick.

    Point is – it’s going to happen. Sometimes there is something you could have done differently, but sometimes there isn’t. And I know it’s hard, but I also know you know it’s going to be worth it.

    Grieving with you, friends.

  3. So sorry to here of your horrible experience and glad David is better. My prayers are still with you and I know your grieving period will be over soon. It is hard to go to a new place and it must be even harder in a strange culture. You will be okay, because God is there with you.
    JoAnne Herrick

  4. Hugs….ohhh, Annie and Louis, PTL that Davey is okay and that you found help!!!!! No where are we completely safe and I think that is the hardest part of life…..besides being on the other side of the world from your family circle…..grieve, pray, hug, cry, laugh, and love each other as He loves us!

  5. You and Louis have to be the bravest people I know . Praise God that David has recovered. No one has the right to tell you I told you so. You are obeying God’s call and God will be your safety. Lord please continue to be with Louis and his family keep them in your care and please let them know that you are right there with them in Christ’s name amen

  6. So glad that it all worked out in the end. God truly does give us trials to make us stronger and continue our growth. It is very evident that this worked in your case. Please know that even though you may not be able to contact us on a daily basis that you guys are in our prayers every day.

  7. Thanking our Lord for His mercy and loving protection. Overwhelming. Kurt and I continue to pray for the three of you and your ministry. Much love.

  8. I’m so sorry to hear of the near loss of your child. I can’t imagine the fear, anxiety, and pain you went through. The good Lord was protecting you and put the right people in your path to help. May he continue to protect you in your gracious journey. As you live for Him, He will take care of the rest. God Bless!

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