A lot has happened since Friday morning and it all leads to happy news. I just thought I’d tell you that here in the beginning so you don’t feel the need to brace yourself for bad news. Max woke up!!
But let me go back and write about the day leading up to that amazing answer to prayer. Max continued to be in a lot of pain after my last post, which was written in the early morning. Typical to encephalitis (an acute inflammation of the brain, and in Max’s case the area around the brain, as well), he would wake up every hour very agitated for 3-5 minutes then quickly fade and fall back asleep. As he was beginning to regain his ability to talk and move, these 3-5 minutes were excruciating for us both.
He was in terrible pain, disoriented, and confused, and started getting up on his knees and turning around on the bed. His senses were totally out of whack as he would panic and yell out some heart-wrenching things like “Mom? Where are you? I can’t find you, Mom!”
The nurses and techs were incredible and exemplified to me how to talk him through those moments but allowing me to be the nurturer who stayed close to his ear, singing Amazing Grace and the lullaby I always sing to him when he is sick and choking back tears as I told him over and over how much I loved him.
As hard as those moments were to endure, there was humor too. God knew exactly what I needed to get through it and he supplied it abundantly.
Anytime a medical staff would poke around he would become highly agitated and assume that person was Mike. He was still very much out of it and confused but he’d say “DAD! Stop it!” One time he said, “Dad! I want my arm to be free! This is an EMERGENCY!” and one time he said, “Leave me alone! I am M-A-D!” I mean, how can you not laugh? And remember how I was talking to him about Angry Birds? I continued to do that throughout the day and night; the subject became my go-to topic when I reached a point of exhaustion and couldn’t think of anything else to say. Well, one time he mumbled to me in his confusion, “I can’t remember where I put my bird.” It just made me laugh.
Later on in the morning, I became convinced that he started to recognize me. I had laid down with him in bed when he was crying and it calmed him down almost immediately. I got up once he fell asleep because it was quite uncomfortable in that hospital bed, though. A few minutes later he woke up and cried out for me, wondering why I wasn’t sleeping with him in the bed.
These are all signs that he is making great strides.
Also, one time he said “hey mom” and reached out his arm in the air toward me. His vision wasn’t back yet so he missed me altogether but it was a sweet realization that we were on the right track toward healing. I was so thankful for those moments when he showed signs of waking up that were pain-free.
By the way, they did not want to give him any pain meds if they could help it. He had Tylenol every 4 hours for his fever and it helped with the pain, too, but there was a fine line between controlling his pain and not letting medication affect the progress we were starting to see. So hard.
Anyway, I just want to skip to the exciting part now.
In the early afternoon I knew I needed a break and decided to leave with friends who gave me a ride home so I could sleep. Max was having his MRI and Mike, Nana, and Aunt Jen (did I tell you she drove up from Atlanta?) were there, so it was a good time to leave. I had laid down for a few minutes and the phone rang.
Jen was calling to tell me Max woke up!
And not only did he wake up, but he had an entire conversations. He asked, “where am I?”
This is what Mike wrote on his Facebook status:
Max just woke up!!!
I had a whole conversation with him.
Max: “Where am I?”
Me: “You’re in the hospital. You got sick buddy.”
Max: “I don’t remember any of that.”
Max: “Did this really just happen?”
I gave him a new yellow angry bird stuffed animal.
I set it off the bed.
Max: “Can I have the yellow bird back?”
**and more stuff**
Our awesome nurse came in, heard him, and said, “I’m about to fall on the floor and not because of the heat. I know you’re a very religious family so you never know what might happen.”
Next status update:
Nana: “I got you the green pig from angry birds”
Max: “I could never have too much stuff from you Nana.”
Oh man. He still knows how to work it.
(photo taken on Saturday morning)
(needless to say, I came back to the hospital as soon as I could! Faith drove me down and we brought dinner with us then she took me home and I had a good night’s rest, humbly worshiping and praising the Lord for His incredible power as I drifted off to sleep during a thunderstorm.)
And today…he continued to improve and he no longer needed to be in the PICU. The neurologist checked him out and said everything looks really good.