Our friend Debbie Allen (who is as close to a ministering angel as a human can get) has stood in the gap for us like Nehemiah for the last few days. She sent Lorrie and I the message below today.
I arrive. Jacob's been wiped out with fever all day. It's been like this for a week. Jacob is in 'mummy
|Much Needed Rest|
Sadly, Jacob is about to feel worse. The nurse has just finished infusing another chemo. The hope is that this one will knock down the leukemia raging through Jacob's brand-new bone marrow. The chemo won't eliminate the cancer, but might give him a break from the fevers. Last night's was nearly 105.
However, the side effect of this chemo is nausea. Though Jacob wears an anti-nausea patch, and the nurse infuses an anti-nausea medication, it's not enough. She brings in a third.
After diligent work on the part of Jacob's nurse, his fever dips enough that he feels better. His temperature is 'only' 101. Instantly, Jacob is up, alert, smiling. He feels well enough to open some Christmas presents from his family.
Lorrie, Marshall, and all the kids have been down with a respiratory virus and fevers of their own all the last week, preventing them from visiting Jacob. Sadly, germs don't take a holiday so that families can be together for Christmas.
Jacob opens his gifts. Soft slippers for his fluid-swollen feet. A hoodie and sweatpants. A video game from grandma. And two pair of the one thing he asked for: skinny jeans.
We manage to temp him into eating two popsicles and half a bratwurst--the only food he's consumed all day.
The nurse changes the dressing over his central line, an important, but uncomfortable process of peeling off adhesive over an open wound, and swabbing it with a stinging solution. Thankfully, this happens only once a week.
The fever returns with a vengeance, and Jacob's window of feeling good disappears. 103, heading to 104, where it will hover all night. The nurse comes in with a bouquet of massive syringes in hand. Each medication will be infused through his central line. Jacob goes back into 'mummy mode', and we try to keep him from layering on too many blankets against his extreme chills, as they'll increase his fever.
Time for the meds that have to be swallowed. This is tough, as Jacob's nausea is still present, and he's reluctant to unwrap himself and sit up. He also has to take the dreaded nasal spray, an important medication, which works to prevent dangerous fungal infections. He has to pump two squirts in each nostril and hold it there. However, the solution burns his sinus passages, and it's just one more thing for a sick boy on a rough day.
Sunday, 10pm, 11pm
Monday, 12am, 1 through 6 am
The night passes slowly. Every hour, and many times, ever quarter hour is interrupted by beeps. One beep means his oxygen mask slipped off and his O2 levels are falling. Another means the IV bag is running low. Still others alert the nurse that one of the many medication infusions is finished. The nurse checks Jacob's temperature and blood pressure at least every hour, and sometimes every 15 minutes after certain medications. Then there are bathroom visits and cold compress changes. Jacob's nighttime is often busier than the day. It's a wonder he gets any rest. Thankfully, the staff is so courteous and sensitive, lovingly and quietly doing their job to care for Jacob.
A volunteer comes in to check on Jacob. She stops in to see him every Monday. The love she has for Jacob is evident in her words and on her face. She prays for him morning, noon, and night.
She tells me two things.
1. Jacob is the glue on this floor. He is beloved by the doctors, nurses, and staff. He has made a deep impression in the lives of those who work here.
2. Marshall and Lorrie's words and actions, and Jacob's attitude have started a ripple effect. She says those ripples have become waves of impact--and their effect has not even reached the shore.
Please continue to pray for this family walking a road none of us would volunteer for. Pray for physical healing so they can spend time with Jacob. Pray for God's presence and discernment as they navigate the next steps. Pray for the fevers to ease.
And pray for those waves to reach every shore God intends.