This is our's crazy, it's hectic, but most of all it's fun!

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Part five: Now or never

Ryan got sick on Saturday morning. I was to start a new job the following Wednesday. Needless to say that did not happen. I was prepared for my last day at TLC to be that Tuesday. I had shed the tears knowing I was going to be returning back to work full time and leaving a job I really enjoyed. I worked at a church at their Mother's Day Out so I taught toddlers three days a week.  Yes they were extremely challenging some days, but my gosh did they love you and love you fiercely. I was leaving a wonderful boss. I was leaving a bunch of sweet ladies and I was no longer going to be working where my kids attended "school". It was definitely bittersweet.

Monday morning, I gained composure enough to type out an email to what was to be my new boss. I explained the situation and  told her my main priority was to my family. To my husband whose future was quite unknown. She was very kind and understanding. She wanted me to come to work for them and even gave me the opportunity to wait a few more days and see if there were any improvements with Ryan and whether or not I would be able to give her an approximate date of when I would be able to start. While thankful, I understood she had a job to do. The university I was to start working at was to have classes start in a little over a month and I knew they needed the position filled as soon as possible do serve the students properly. She sweetly offered the same offer later in the week for a hopeful new start date, and I responded the same. Ryan was my priority. His health, recovery, and rehabilitation at home was the number one thing on my plate. I am thankful for her kindness and patience, but it just wasn't meant to be.

I felt so blessed when my old boss at TLC asked if I wanted my job back. I quickly said yes and felt a complete sense of relief when she told me my job would be there when I was ready to return. Which I hope is after just one more week! We have been so blessed with both our jobs. Ryan's company has gone above and beyond for us. God has blessed us so richly with our employers and we are forever thankful for the outpour of love and support from them.

Tuesday the kids went to school like any other day. They needed that routine still and it would give my mom a break from them. We all know how busy a 3 and 18 mo old are! I got the sweetest pictures of the teacher's kids wearing green shirts in support of Ryan.

A feeding tube was started and Ryan handled it very well. At this point Ryan was believe to have sepsis and they were still hoping that cultures would be produced even though it was becoming more and more unlikely. There were still no answers. At this point we simply started praying for a real problem. We kept thinking that maybe if we knew the problem we could hopefully figure out an answer.

Wednesday I was to head home for the first time. I hadn't really had much sleep because I was constantly in fear that someone would come open the door and deliver bad news like the first night. Yet it never happened. Claire had shots that morning so I decided to come home, take her, and hope to add a little bit of normalcy to their lives if even for a few hours.

As soon as I walked in I was immediately thankful for Haley, Allison, and Erin who had stayed the night with the kids that first night and next day and had my house picked up. I had an overwhelming fear that I would walk in and everything about Ryan would slap me in the face. Or, I would see my house in its typical disarray and simply crumble because not only my house but my future with my husband was a mess.

Thankfully, my dad left immediately after dropping me off, likely knowing that I needed to be alone.

I went to our room where my anxiety was the highest because I expected to see the crumpled sheets how we left them. I was immediately grateful that the girls had made my bed and it looked put together. I went into our bathroom where Ryan's closet was open and I stepped in there.

This is when the devil try to win. He tried to convince me that the time was now. Now was when I needed to pick out what I would be burying my husband in. It's sad, but true. Morbid, but real. I remember touching my favorite shirt, tears streaming, and the overwhelming fear I had at that moment thinking I was going to be a single mom.

Then, God spoke to me and I listened. I wouldn't be burying my husband. I would be bringing him home soon. I shut the other voice out, confidently walked out of that closet knowing Ryan was coming home.

I took a shower letting the comforts of my own home consume me. I had about 30 minutes before my mom would be bringing the kids over so I laid down to catch a nap. I had been running on fumes and it literally felt like 5 seconds of my eyes being closed when I heard the door open and my little one's voices. It was time to put my mommy face on.

I took Claire to get shots while mom kept Wyatt at the house. I was already frazzled, so the last thing I needed was to try and wrangle to two while in a doctors office. As soon as the doctor walked in to Claire's room the first thing he asked was, how's Ryan? It spoke volumes to me. Volumes. Dr. Harrison is a great doctor to our kids, but it meant so much to me for him to ask about my husband.

Claire did well with shots and we went home to get some time in with Wyatt. We played hard and before I knew it was time for naps and time for me to get back to Little Rock. It hurt my heart to have to leave them so quickly, but it was even more painful being away from Ryan.

I got back to the hospital and Dr. Jones let us know that it was now or never for something to happen.

All along we were simply maintaining. Trying to keep Ryan alive with no major hiccups. We had finally, they believed, reached a point where something had to happen.

They were going to do a procedure to find out just how much his heart was pumping. What it's true function was. There was two possible outcomes in the situation...a heart balloon pump or an impella. While it was confusing and overwhelming getting all the info at one point from Dr. Jones after talking to Ryan's nurse Ashley we learned what we wanted was the balloon pump for it was less invasive and would allow us to come back to the CCU versus being moved to the CVICU.

We were told that in the early evening. I think my anxiety was extremely high because this was the first time we were really going to be proactive. Plus, I was horrified of what may they would find out regarding Ryan's EF. In the back of our minds we knew that heart transplant had been mentioned and as bad off as Ryan was it was evidently a possibility.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Part four: Seeing our babies

We have two babies. By babies, I mean we have a little boy who turned 3 in April and a little girl who is 18 months old. They are our world. While most people say I don't know what we did before we had kids?! I do know... I slept more, relaxed more, spent less money, swept less floors, and knew what "me" time was. I also never knew what love like that could feel like.

Ryan and I went to the hospital in the middle of the night. They went to bed at our house with us there and woke up to their Mimi instead. Wyatt is at the age where he asks 7658 questions a day. I know he was constantly asking about Ryan and at first we simply said he was just sleeping. It was easier that way. He understands that when you are sleeping you just sleep until you need to wake up. No true concept of time so it was easy for us to say sorry, daddy is still sleeping when he asked to talk to Ryan.

I went two whole days without seeing the kids during the hardest time of my life. A time when I needed their love. Luckily my best friend lives minutes away so my parents brought them to Haley's house so that I could see them, but still be close enough if something went south with Ryan.

It was so emotional. These little souls who are full of such innocence were now before me and all I could see in them was their daddy. It hurt my heart so much. While I knew that God would take care of Ryan there were moments the devil tried to take over and say and if he doesn't? What will you do then? It was again me having to push those thoughts out and confidently tell my children that their daddy would wake up soon and he would be home soon.

I sat a lot in silence just admiring my babies. These two precious gifts that the Lord trusted us with.  I am so thankful for friends that just let me be. That are okay with silence. That don't feel the need to talk, but rather to just listen.

To hear those babies laugh, to give me nothing but positive energy was just what I needed that day. I needed to see those little pieces of Ryan that I had been missing and what could only be found in our children.

Back at the hospital, Ryan had to be paralyzed as well as knocked out cold because they didn't want him to know he was paralyzed. It was good though because he was flailing around like a mad man. Well, maybe not flailing but definitely trying to get the vent out and that was definitely not okay. It was mostly a waiting game at this time. Just waiting to see how his body responded. They did say that dialysis would have to be started because his had complete kidney failure. Instead of doing the usual dialysis they had to do CRRT which takes a tiny bit of blood, filters it, and returns it to the body. It's easier on the body and for Ryan it was the only way they could get even a tiny bit of fluid off him. Ryan maxed out at 190+ pounds. To give you a point of reference, on a good day Ryan weighs maybe 150. His body responded well to the CRRT. They still had him on high oxygen from the vent and his PEEP was extremely high which is not ideal. I can't even tell you what the PEEP really is even after all those days of carefully watching it. I do know that his vent was at 100% oxygen and his PEEP was at 18 and it was not good as long as it was going on. The rest of the day we just asked for prayers that his vent would be lowered and that his heart would start performing better.

This is also the day that my friend Brooke had someone design the green ribbon. It immediately was plastered all over Facebook. I was blown away by all the support. Seeing the support from all the green ribbons was incredible. I honestly couldn't scroll through Facebook without seeing it everywhere. I like to think, whether or not it is true, that all those green ribbons were those who were constantly praying for us, and it was a lot.

People constantly surprise me. The people who were praying for my entire family was such a blessing. We are a testament to how the power of prayer works. I hope if you take away anything from Ryan's story it's to not get lazy or comfortable with your prayers. Prayers for you or on someone else's behalf. 

Part three: Trust

There are things in life that overwhelm you. Moms, I'm talking to you. Think about that first day you're left alone with a newborn. You're pulled in ten different directions at one time, but somehow you survive the day.  This is how it felt that first day in the hospital. At times I wasn't sure if I was coming or going or if this was all just a dream. Our immediate family was there first along with Trey who helped so much getting the word out to all Ryan's friends.  By the late afternoon the waiting room was packed. I so wish I had a picture to show Ryan of how nearly every seat taken in that waiting room was for him. I am so thankful the chaplain suggested to someone to pass around a sheet of paper and have everyone sign it.

I knew Ryan was loved. I know how lovable he is. I know how he can captivate any room he walks into. I know people are naturally drawn to him whether they like it or not. 

I'm just lucky enough to get to do life with him. 

I'm not sure how many people were there that day. I do know the next morning I counted 64 names, but that wasn't even close to the number of people who stopped by for a few minutes and missed the paper. 

That was a testament to how wonderful a person Ryan is. The person who everyone thought was their best friend. Most people meet someone and they simply become an acquaintance. With Ryan, he makes you feel like you are the most important person in the world. Special. He does it so naturally. It's an admirable trait. 

I never once was bothered telling the story of the day's events. If I'm being completely honest, it helped me. The nonstop talking was good for me. I needed my mind occupied. I needed to tell people that they could help me and Ryan by just praying for him. I needed these people more than I probably realized at the time. 

That evening when the last person left for the day I established my ritual that I had every night. I went to the bathroom, brushed my teeth, and then headed to the chapel. 

That was MY time. The quiet time I had each day to really reflect on what was happening, where God was taking us as a couple and family, and where I shared what I desperately needed from Him. Each night, without shame, I did the ugly cry. Those nights sitting in that chapel were some of the best nights I've had. The calm I felt walking out of there to head to bed is what peacefully led me to fall asleep each night.

The first night was the hardest of course. I couldn't completely turn my mind off and the fact that I had been up for nearly 24 hours didn't seem to matter. I finally drifted off to sleep when I was abruptly awoken around 3:30 with Ryan's nurse stepping in there. As soon as she said "Mrs. Davis" I think I stopped breathing.

She turned on the harsh fluorescent lights and our family who stayed that night in the waiting room poured in as well when she let us know that Ryan was okay, but that he coded once again. They aren't entirely sure why it happened, but thankfully they got his vitals right back to where they were and he even asked to see me. I immediately went back and stayed with him for an hour until I felt comfortable enough to try and fall back asleep.

That would be the last time that Ryan ever coded and would need CPR. Like I said, they aren't sure why it happened, but the fact that they got him back where he needed to be was good.

Nothing else major happened that morning. He was responding well to his meds and was stable.

It wasn't until that afternoon when Dr. Jones came out and we gathered around when he delivered the second biggest blow. They had found that Ryan had numerous blood clots. Later, we would learn they just referred to him as one big clot. The good news in all of this was that Ryan didn't have any in his legs. In the beginning, I was the only one getting to go back and see Ryan, but it was at this point that Dr. Jones told us that we all needed to go back and see him. It honestly felt like it was to be our last goodbyes. Dr. Jones told us that we needed another miracle to happen. Then, he got up and walked out.

It's devastating knowing that you're helpless. There's nothing that you can do other than rely on your faith. I prayed constantly. I had faith that God knew what he was doing and that one day He would show us the why. I never once during this entire ordeal asked why us? Why Ryan? What did we do to deserve it? I simply sat and listened and believed I would soon understand. I was given the perfect opportunity to glorify God in every way. I mean, He had shown us what miracles He can perform when He brought Ryan back. Without hesitation I knew that's what had to be done. I would thank him, along with hundreds of people, for blessing us so far. I would ask that God's will be done whether I agreed with it or not. I trusted Him with every being in my body.

I'm a control freak by nature. It's one of my more prominent flaws and like the others, I am working on it. Sure, I could definitely work harder, but at least I try a little. Shameful? Yes. Easily fixed? Maybe. When you're no longer able to be the one to be in control you have to have a lot of trust. God gave me the opportunity to sit back and let Him take the reigns, just like we should do in every aspect of our lives. Sadly, I think a lot of times we push Him out and think that we can do it all ourselves. We are so wrong. I'm guilty of it, and I know that I am not alone.

So, I trusted Him and He provided. He continues to provide for us each day that we are home with our children and Ryan gets to love on them. He will provide and be there for us as we tackle surgery tomorrow to remove the mass on Ryan's adrenal gland.

He loves us and He walks beside us every step of the way. All we have to do is let Him.

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Part two: Surviving day one


1. an effect or extraordinary event in the physical world that surpasses all known human or natural powers and is ascribed to a supernatural cause.
2. such an effect or event manifesting or considered as a work of God.
3. a wonder; marvel.
4. a wonderful or surpassing example of some quality

When Dr. McCracken told us we needed a miracle to turn a corner the only option we had left was to continue to ask for prayers. We so desperately needed these prayers and by this point it was simply by word of mouth. Word spread quickly of Ryan's illness. My phone was blowing up and I was fiercely trying to keep everyone in the loop because I knew the more people who knew the better off we were. 

We learned quickly there was little hope for Ryan. His entire organ system was shutting down. They told us their plan of action was to transport him to Arkansas Children's Hospital where Ryan would receive an ECMO since Baptist didn't have all the parts needed. They said this was the only option they had since his lungs and heart were barely working. At this point we were fine with the decision. All along we trusted the doctor's calls. A short time later they returned and delivered the devastating news: Ryan was no longer eligible for the ECMO. Candidates are ran through a checklist. One of the major requirements is that there is brain activity. This is when we learned that Ryan had none. A devastating blow to say the least. I'm human...I'm flawed. To hear your husband has zero brain activity hits you like a ton of bricks. You instantly picture his quality of life. You picture trying to explain it to your 3 and 1 year old. You remember signing the papers of your trust stating neither of us wanted a machine keeping us alive. Then, then you push out those thought and say no. Stop. This is not what's going to happen. He's going to be okay. The doctors did give us a glimmer of hope saying they believed Ryan's body was just in shock and that hopefully there would be activity once the initial shock wore off. They said they would be checking vitals every 15-20 minutes hoping they would see a change.

And we did.

Within 45 minutes we were told there WAS brain activity, Ryan was awake, and wanted to see me. 

We had received our miracle we so desperately asked for! God is good all the time. 

I got to see Ryan. SEE Ryan. He opened his eyes and he was IN there. My heart was full. As soon as I walked in the nurse asked Ryan if he knew who I was and he nodded yes. Then I asked my own questions and he responded appropriately. Relief flooded me knowing that my husband was there. His brain function was normal as far as we could tell. I knew that he could beat whatever it was that had made him so sick.

I guess now is a good as a time as any to say that during those two hours after we got to have a small visit with Ryan before they intubated him was when Ryan coded many times. They literally worked on him for two hours trying to get him back. It was a miracle that he was able to get stable and we are forever grateful that the doctors and nurses worked on him as long as they did.  Ryan had no prior medical history. No drug use. No illness. Nothing. The two things that he had going for him was the he was healthy and young. Those two reasons alone are why they chose to work on him for as long as he did. Dr. Jones, the cardiologist that we absolutely adore, told us the room was a mess from everything they were poking him with trying to get him back. It was only after the fact of learning this that it made perfect sense why Ryan was lifeless when we got to see him in CCU.

Ryan's pupils were blown. This, to a normal person (me), meant nothing when I heard the neurologist say it. The nurse even showed me, but again I was ignorant. Later, on the day we toured the hospital with Dr. Jones he told me that was when he thought Ryan was braid dead.

Slowly, however, his pupils returned back to normal. To God be the glory!

The rest of that day was pretty uneventful. The ECMO that was at once our only option was now off the table. Ryan was so far from needing that now and it was answer to our prayers. It was incredible that this was our first real victory. We were all on such a high and this is when our tensions eased a bit. The doctors kept Ryan sedated because it allowed his body to rest which it desperately needed.

 We had nearly survived the first day before the next hiccup occurred.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Part one: The beginning

It's hard to determine where Ryan's story should begin. It's hard to look back and realize just how close I came to losing Ryan. Becoming a widow. Learning to raise my children as a single mom. That, throughout this entire ordeal, was my number one fear. I sometimes wish parts of it were a blur, but they aren't. They are perfectly stored in my memory. Strangely I am thankful. It's probably best to do this in parts. A 32 day stay in a hospital with those first few days being a complete rollercoaster will get lengthy. So, let's start with part one.

I am happy to say though, that by the grace of God Ryan is still with me and our children today.

Saturday, July 12, 2014 is a day that is just as important to me now as say my wedding anniversary, my children's birthday, and my husband's birthday. Ryan nearly lost his life on this day and it was the day my faith was strengthened.

It was any normal Friday.  Ryan came home from work, we went to a fundraiser, went to dinner with friends, came home, went to bed. Around 1:30 Ryan started throwing up and I didn't give it a second thought. I simply thought that his dinner didn't agree with him. He continued to throw up and when he didn't stop and then proceeded to dry heave I crawled out of bed seeing if he needed anything. This is when he started coughing very deeply, so deeply that he began coughing up a pink blood tinged mucus. I just thought it was from throwing up so hard and dry heaving so while worried, I was thinking it would stop. We tried laying back down a couple of times when the coughing continued and that's when I told Ryan I was calling mom to come sit with the babies and we were heading to the hospital.

We got to the Dardanelle hospital and there they did a chest x-ray and diagnosed Ryan with what they believed was a blood clot in the lung. The immediately said that we were heading to Baptist in Little Rock. I think this is when Ryan and I both realized the severity of the situation. He was taken to Baptist by ambulance and once he arrived we didn't see him for close to an hour. The three of us (me, Ryan's mom, and step-dad) were taken from the large emergency room waiting area to a private room where we were told the doctors would be with us shortly. My heart began to sink and my throat tightened making it hard to breathe. Honestly, I expected the worse, but as those doctors came in,  sat down and said, "He is a very, very sick man and we do not know what's wrong with him" my world was crushed. Doctors are supposed to know what wrong. They are supposed to deliver the answers and in this case they couldn't. They told us they would need to sedate him and put him on the ventilator in order to run some test and figure out what was wrong with him. They told us that we would be able to see him, but it needed to be quick because they needed to hurry and figure out as much as they could. I went back to see him and I saw it. I saw the fear in Ryan's eyes and I put on my brave face. Whether or not it was actually brave to him is beyond me, but I think it was at that moment that both of our fighting spirits kicked it. Ryan fighting for his life, me fighting for any and every prayer I could get out of someone. Ryan told me, "take care of our babies" and "I love you". I told him he was going to be fine, I loved him, and I would see him soon. It was the truth. No matter what happened, whether Ryan walked out of those doors of the hospital or he was greeting me in Heaven one day Ryan was going to be healed, loved, and we'd be reunited again someday. The hardest moment was kissing him, not knowing the outcome. I returned to the waiting room where the first thing I did was call my parents and update our closest friends. Then, I posted on our church's Facebook page asking for prayers. I knew Ryan needed prayers. Prayers from those that know us, prayers from those that don't. Soon after being in the waiting room a chaplain came by. The first prayer from someone who didn't know us. The first, but definitely not the last.

We sat for nearly two hours until we finally saw a doctor again. If you've never been in an emergency type situation, you must know that seeing the doctors turn a corner is the single most nauseating thing ever. You can't breath, your heart rate increases, and they can't get to you quick enough. They told us that Ryan was finally half way stable that they felt comfortable enough to move him to the Coronary Care Unit. Unbeknownst to us, this would be his home for the next 16 days.

One of the first things the doctors told us was this was going to be a rollercoaster. It was going to be a constant up and down.

They didn't know what was wrong with Ryan.

The doctors they had on board were the kidney dr, lung dr, heart dr, infectious disease dr, blood dr, and neurologist.

When they got Ryan in CCU and stable they came out and told us that we could go back and see Ryan. My husband, once full of so much life laid there completely motionless. If anyone could look dead, but still be living it was Ryan at that very moment. There was nothing there. Nothing. Little did I know that at that very moment literally there was nothing. No brain activity, just machines keeping his body working.

After we got to see him we were back in our little private room in the CCU waiting room. That would be my living quarters during Ryan's stay. This is when Dr. McCracken (lung) came in to talk to us, tell us what she believed, ask us questions, and the minute before she left she said, "we need a miracle and we need it now."

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