Friday, September 19, 2014
When we were in Seattle this past August, most of the time was already planned for Rowan. He had lots of doctor appointments, plus his bone marrow aspirate and biopsy at the hospital. One night when we had a little down time though, Rowan and I shared some fries and had a drink at the hotel bar. Our bartender/server was a really nice local guy who took great care of us. He was trying to give Rowan some recommendations of where he should go sight see, and where to go eat. Rowan told him he could only eat potatoes though and that he was there because he had doctor appointments and a bone marrow biopsy. This started a conversation, and the sweet bartender really showed a lot of care and concern about Rowan. He asked us our names, how long we would be there at the hotel, when Rowan's procedure was, etc. He was such a nice man.
The day after Rowan's BMB, we received a call to our room that there were tickets waiting for us at the Seattle Aquarium, provided by our new sweet friend at the hotel bar. Brian, Rowan and I went down to the Aquarium the next day. When we went to the front desk and told them that Daniel sent us, they immediately pulled out an envelope from under the desk. Not only were our admission passes taken care of, but Rowan had a $50.00 Gift Shop Gift Card as well. We were blown away. What a nice gesture from a virtual stranger.
Here are the pictures from our visit to the Aquarium. What a special day. What a great gift we were given...(and I don't just mean monetarily).
Rowan has wanted to hold my hand every night when we fall asleep, ever since he saw this t-shirt in Seattle:)
He loved the Octopus...
Except when the tentacles grabbed him...
and when they looked like they were sucking his brains...
The Star Fish were cool...
The Jelly Fish were awesome...
(Love the wonder in his face in this one...)
There were so many beautifully colored fish and coral...
Rowan also really liked the seals...
But his favorite exhibit, by far, was the Otters!!!
He watched them for a very long time...
We were so very grateful for the family time, especially after the long week of doctor appointments and procedures.
And Rowan made sure to make Daniel a special thank you picture card just before we left the hotel, and we dropped it off at the bar for him. I hope it made it's way to him, or that he finds this blog post... because he should know how extremely grateful we are for his kindness and generosity, and he should see what a great time Rowan had at the Seattle Aquarium, all because of him.
After we dropped off Rowan's picture at the hotel bar, Rowan told me "There ARE good people everywhere, you just have to go meet them."
Thank you Daniel, for being one of those "good people".
Rowan is right you know... there are good people everywhere, and I hope you all get to go meet some yourselves today:)
Tuesday, September 16, 2014
After Rowan's hematology clinic appointment today, the local doctor called and left me a message letting me know that some of last weeks special test results had come back. These labs were ordered by the specialists in Seattle, because of a "clue" they found on some of Rowan's earlier tests. The were highly sensitive, very specific tests. Unfortunately, the results were not normal, and indicated a definite problem. However, the local doctor said he would have to forward the results to Seattle to see what the assessment and recommendations would be. I immediately emailed Seattle, and basically asked "OK, what does this mean? And what do we need to do?" I got a response back very quickly, but it wasn't what I was looking for. The doctor explained that this was "new uncharted territory", that this was not typical, and that I would need to bear with her as they tried to figure Rowan's now further complicated, unique health issues.
My flawed, adult, human reaction was frustration, worry, impatience and concern. Rowan could sense that, and asked me what the tests said. I tried to explain the very little that I did know and communicated what the doctor had said about us being patient while she tried to figure it out. And he said, "So, I'm so different, so unique, that the best doctor in Seattle...no probably in the country, doesn't know what to do about me yet? Doesn't understand what's wrong with me?" He started shaking his head from side to side. But then I noticed that he was smiling...like REALLY smiling... eyes wide open, jaw dropped, in awe, smiling. Confused by his facial expression, I said, "What are you thinking Rowan?" His response humbled me instantly. He said, "Wow. I'm just speechless. God must have big, Big, BIG plans for me!"
I know I say it all the time, but this kid teaches me how to be a better person every single day!
I hope you all treat your trials like a badge of honor like Rowan does. I hope you all realize the big, Big, BIG plans God has for you too.
Saturday, September 13, 2014
Rowan and I went to visit the Patterson's at their ranch today. Rowan always visits Chrissie's gravesite when we do, and today was no different. What a special time (again). Here are the precious photos...
First of all, here is the picture he drew to take there. He wanted to put it on Chrissie's grave. He said that the left side was "What I see looking up at Chrissie in Heaven", and that the right side was "What Chrissie sees looking down at me."
This is Rowan praying at Chrissie's pink gravesite. Her horse Navidad is praying too.
The flower is the yellow sunflower that Rowan brought with him to lay at her grave.
This is Chrissie up in the sky with light all around her, shining down from Heaven.
She has pink heart shaped wings, and she is pink too (her favorite color).
Here is the picture and the sunflower, tied with ribbon, ready to go...
Here is Rowan, at the Patterson's home with his picture and sunflower...
First he got to visit with Mattie, Chrissie's sister, and the rest of the family.
Then we headed down the hill to Chrissie's gravesite.
Rowan did tie the picture he drew on the pink iron gate...
...but her sister Selah had other plans for the sunflower...she was NOT letting it go.
Praying for his angel friend.
I believe he said "Dear God thank you for taking care of Chrissie in Heaven, and I just know that she is happy there. Thank you. Amen."
Rowan blew her kisses goodbye.
And then we said goodbye to Chrissie's precious Momma Lorraine.
This visit alone, up to that point, would have been special enough for any one single day...
but on the ride home, the day became monumentally special.
Rowan asked me as we pulled out of their property, "Mom, how did you meet Lorraine?" I said, "Rowan, you remember, we were in the hospital at the same time they were." His reply was, "No Mom, I remember how I met Chrissie, but not how you met Lorraine." I said "Well, first tell me how you met Chrissie". He asked, "The first time?" And I said , "Yes".
Keep in mind...Rowan never DID actually meet Chrissie in person. They were both seriously ill children in April of 2010. Rowan was hospitalized with a life threatening septic infection, and was in PICU 1 at Methodist Children's Hospital. Chrissie was undergoing open heart surgery to correct highly complicated life threatening heart/lung defects. Rowan was moved out of PICU 1, to a regular room upstairs, the day Chrissie was moved into PICU 1. She coded and was placed on life support. Rowan had been doing better, but made a turn for the worse and his fever spiked to 106.7. They had to call PICU doctors upstairs to care for him in his room. They brought in the chilling blanket, a machine that pumps ice cold water through a blanket, to surround Rowan's body, in an effort to get his temperature down. I remember how scared I was. It was the worst fever he had ever had. Right before that temperature spike, I had been reading Lorraine' blog about Chrissie's Journey. I knew that she was a mom with a gravely ill child, just downstairs at the same hospital, but I had not met her. Suddenly, Rowan opened his eyes, sat up, looked over at my laptop and said "Mommy, we need to pray for that little girl, she's here too." In my mind, as I looked over at my laptop, I thought, wow, he recognized that she is in the same hospital from that picture. That is all that I thought. Tonight, I learned differently...
On the way home tonight, as our conversation continued, Rowan explained the first time he "met" Chrissie. Rowan said, "the first time I met her was when I had that really bad fever in the hospital and they put those ice blankets on me. She came to my room. She sacrificed her life for me." This was four years ago mind you. I said, "What do you mean? You saw that she went into the same PICU room that you had been in before her?" He said, "No Mom, she came into the room I was in. She made my fever go down. That's how she saved me."
Silence. Speechless. Tears. Chills.
Rowan broke the silence, "Mom, it's almost like heaven is for real. She was in my room. I think she sacrificed her life for me."
I had to pull over to talk to him, ask more questions, etc. Sure, he had nearly a 107 fever that night, so he could have been delirious. But, this was four years ago! How could he have such detailed memories now? And his story jives with what I remember happening that night, I just didn't know he meant she was literally "IN his room".
More history... after the night Rowan is talking about, Chrissie's Mom Lorraine and I met a couple days later when I went down to introduce myself and meet her and see if she needed anything. Rowan started drawing pictures for Chrissie's room soon after that, when he started doing better. He and I prayed for her every night we were there. For 30 days, they were both there in the hospital still. Rowan got better though. He got to go home. Chrissie died the night Rowan was discharged home though. Actually, he is the one who told me that I should check her Mom's blog. When I did, I saw that she had just passed away overnight. I have plenty of posts since then about Rowan's special God-connection with Chrissie, but I never understood how it truly began. How could I? Tonight it became clear...
Rowan did meet Chrissie...he met her in his hospital room, just upstairs from her own hospital room, while he was battling a nearly 107 degree fever, with machines cooling his body, and she was on life support downstairs, with machines breathing for her and pumping blood through her body. I believe him. I have to. You can if you want.
I explained this conversation to Lorraine, Chrissie's Mom, tonight. We were both in awe. We have always felt their special connection, but neither of us understood how this connection was formed since she died before he could ever meet her in person. Lorraine and I both started wondering exactly when this "meeting" took place...and that is where this story gets even better.
I used Lorraine's blog posts, and both of our Facebook posts, and pictures from late April of 2010, and I cross referenced them all. Low and behold, Rowan was on the chilling blanket with that extremely dangerous high fever the night of April 27th into the morning of April 28th. Guess where Chrissie was? Her PICU room was being converted into an operating room for emergency surgery. They had to open her chest up because she had internal bleeding, and blood clots that were blocking the ECHMO machine from working. Twice they performed surgery on her in that room that night/morning. She visited him when her chest was opened up, wide open, life support not working properly because of clotting/bleeding problems. His fever broke when she visited him, which is why he says "she saved my life." How can you not believe? Rowan doesn't know specific dates, he doesn't read my Facebook posts, or Lorraine's blog, yet his story 100% correlates with what he was going through and at the same time Lorraine was posting about what Chrissie was going through.
Here are photos of Rowan at the time of this incident...so, so sick...
This is the machine that was shooting cold water through the blanket that was covering him.
Here are pictures of Chrissie during this exact same time...fighting for her life...
Finally, here are the Facebook posts and blog posts that show the date stamps, that show us what each of these precious children was going through during these profoundly important days.
Lorraine and I both believe Rowan. I would even without these photos and dated posts. But Rowan's story, when combined with them, it just all makes sense now. Chrissie's chest was open, her heart exposed, when she came to visit my son's room that night. And both of our families lives were changed forever. We are so grateful that God has given us this story, this gift, this connection between these two angels...one on Earth, and one in Heaven.
...who never met in person, but whose spirits met in Rowan's hospital room, while they were both fighting for their lives. Thank you Christyn Joy Patterson- "Chrissie"- for saving Rowan's life that night. Thank you God for giving us glimpses of Heaven, here on Earth, through these children's special connection.
And thank you Lorraine, for taking the time to wait until Selah went to sleep tonight, and for her to let go of Rowan's sunflower for Chrissie, and for taking the time and effort to walk it back down that hill in the dark, and placing it exactly where Rowan told you he wanted to lay it on Chrissie's grave. These pictures made him smile from ear to ear. He says thank you! We both do.