Friday, December 25, 2009

Our Christmas phone call was NOT what we expected!!

Our Christmas Day started out VERY unusual!! Because Sammi was transferred to a new area a week ago, one that hadn't had sisters in years, she didn't know how the Christmas phone call was going to work. She told us she would hopefully find a member who could text or call us and let us know her plans. This morning, at 8:00, the phone rang with caller ID saying: LDS Church! WOW!! I grabbed it and was completely surprised to hear President Hale's voice on the other end wishing me a Merry Christmas!! Interesting...he wanted to give me an update on my daughter...even MORE interesting... I couldn't quite figure out why the mission president would be calling to update me on my missionary's phone call time. Well...that wasn't it. Here's the story:
Sammi has always had a very hard time swallowing pills. For years, we crushed them if we couldn't find a liquid equivalent. Several times, she has tried swallowing one only to have it stick in her throat until she can choke, gag, or throw it up. It's so sad to watch and we feel completely helpless! As she's gotten older, she's gotten a bit better. She can swallow medicine daily for ADHD and allergies; but, if an antibiotic is needed, we still usually ask for liquid. The pharmacist looks at us like we've gone nuts and gives us HUGE bottles! Evidently, yesterday morning, Sammi took her normal daily pills. However, this time, the Allegra decided not to go down. She choked, gagged, tried to throw it up but nothing worked. She struggled throughout the day, called the mission nurse who called the Area Doctor in Orlando, and tried to work through it. After SEVERAL phone calls, they finally decided last night, that since she couldn't swallow her own saliva let alone anything else, she'd better go be checked out at the hospital. She and the three sisters she lives with along with the Zone Leaders who live nearby, headed over. Because it was Christmas Eve, there weren't any specialists on call so they admitted her and called someone in to check her out this morning. Elders Zubia and Hirschi gave her a WONDERFUL blessing and Hermana Schulthies spent the night with her. Hermanas Vance and Felton went back to the apartment to sleep. This morning, they brought all of the Christmas presents over to the hospital and had their own little Christmas morning in Sammi's room. SOOOOO sweet of them! She said it was actually kind of fun but she still wishes they could have been home (in the apartment). President Hale said he would be going down to Miami to see her later today and if we hadn't heard from her, he would let her use his cell phone to call us. We were to sit tight and wait to hear from her or he'd call us again with more information. HOLY COW!!!!!!!!!!!!
She called us about 9:00 to tell us he had authorized her to use the missionary cell phone. She asked us to get the married kids home and she'd call again at 10:00. We were able to talk to her for about 35 minutes. She sounded WONDERFUL!!! Fortunately, she felt great except she couldn't swallow (she kept spitting throughout the phone call :D ). They came to get her for an x-ray so she said she'd call us back. During the x-ray, they had her swallow some stuff so they could watch it travel down her throat to see what was going on inside. She couldn't swallow it but enough trickled down to show that the pill was STILL lodged in her throat! They needed to get it out since it hadn't dissolved. She called us again to update us and talked again for 20-25 minutes until they came to get her. She said she was sure President would let her call again to update us after the procedure. He actually called us but we'd already been updated.
She called again an hour or so later to say that all went well, she could FINALLY swallow again and was drinking water like crazy! The pill had only dissolved about a third and they were shocked how much it blocked her esophagus! She said there was some swelling and a bit of ulceration because of the pill sitting there so long. They were going to keep her overnight for observation but were also going to let her eat a meal at 7:00. She was THRILLED!! We finished talking, she said a sweet family prayer, and reluctantly, we hung up. It was so emotional!!!! Worried about my baby girl and wanting to be there to take care of her, grateful she's become so independent that she can handle things on her own, and SOOOOOO glad she's in the Lord's hands and that He's the one taking care of her as she serves Him! She was AMAZING!!!!!!!!
Later this evening, President Hale called from the hospital and asked what Sammi's history had been after one of these episodes. She seemed a bit scared and wanted to take all the precautions the hospital could give her. However, at the recommendation the Area Doctor, a friend of President Hale's here in SLC, and talking with me, he was going to try to get her to check herself out. Evidently, the hospital is well-known for having patients stay longer than is necessary. He assured her that she could go back if necessary. He said he'd call us if there was any more news.
How grateful for a loving, compassionate President who is a "Dad" to all our precious kids! The down side of today has been hearing my baby is hurting and I'm not there to take care of her. The upside of today has been I got to talk to her and she's doing AMAZING!!!!!!!!!! They have a baptism tomorrow and she's SOOOO excited about it! She loves the people, she's excited (yet VERY nervous) to learn Spanish, she LOVES serving the Lord and is doing so well!!
I LOVE MY MISSIONARY AND THE REST OF MY FAMILY!! (I'll post pictures as soon as Sammi sends them.)

Elders Hershi and Zubia--Zone Leaders who came to the ER to give her a blessing.

Hermana Vance--one of her "roommates"

Hermana Vance LOVES to play with Sammi's hair!! She's in HEAVEN!!

Hermana Schulthies--Sammi's companion

Her very own Apostles picture from Mallorie. She was SOOO excited to get this! There weren't very many printed and we got 4 of them!!

Sammi sleeping, and probably drooling--given the fact that she can't swallow!!--and Elder Goodale and Elder Parry. They are so funny and smart! They were supposed to have lunch with them at a members home. They aren't in her ward, but they know the member.

FINALLY she got water!!! She drank almost all of that in the first 10 minutes!

Her FIRST Supper. YUM!! "I had carrots, rice, string bean soup, mandarin oranges, golden loaf cake (whatever that was DELICIOUS though!) and SALMON!!! Yes, I was THAT hungry that I ate some of that salmon. Not a lot, but yes, I willingly ate it!!!"