• Sunshine will come

    Rain, Little Kidneys & COVID-19

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    Where to even begin? Take a seat, COVID, it’s not your turn.

    Before the Storm

    When March rolled around, I had no idea the mayhem that laid in store. I was excited for Birthday Month, well, as excited as someone in their late 30s can be about birthday month. With our trucking business fully staffed and running smoother, this was going to be the first birthday my hubby was going to be home to celebrate with me in years.

    And, it was on a Friday, so the possibilities looked pretty darn good!

    Birthday flowers. This gorgeous arrangement got me through some rough days! | gypsy magpie

    There were reports of a crazy virus that was rampaging across Europe but, other than a Utah Jazz player coming down with it, we didn’t give it much thought here in our small corner of the globe.

    The first week of March, my big dude and his brothers went to Vegas for their yearly basketball tournament watching man trip. The second they were on the road, I started tearing into our master bedroom. For 10 years I’ve slept in a baby poop brown bedroom and it finally felt like the right time to tackle the project. Our master is ridiculously big, so the project was a little daunting not only in regard to the amount of work but also the cash needed.

    I finally saved up some money, bought a stack of wood, and emptied the room.

    Taught myself to skimcoat drywall. That was an adventure! | gypsy magpie

    Rain

    Three days into the project, my youngest daughter’s 2-week long stomach bug started ramping up. Five days in, we were sent to the ER of our state children’s hospital. She was admitted and the world stopped turning.

    My spunky 10 year old’s kidneys had shut down and nobody could tell me why.

    Admitted to Primary Children's Hospital | gypsy magpie
    The view from our room at Primary Children's Hospital | gypsy magpie
    Beautiful sculpture of a little girl blowing bubbles at Primary Children's Hospital | gypsy magpie

    The guys rushed back from Vegas early. The bedroom project was left abandoned. And then the virus came.

    The first case of COVID-19 in our county was a student at our local high school. School was dismissed and my two oldest kids were sent home to quarantine for 14 days. A couple of days later, the entire state education system shut down and all students were sent home. All instruction and lessons were put online.

    Kidney biopsy | gypsy magpie
    This piece of art of children playing really touched my heart while staying at Primary Children's Hospital | gypsy magpie
    Keeping a 10 year old occupied while in the hospital is no joke! | gypsy magpie

    In the meantime, I was trying to keep a 10-year-old happy in a locked-down hospital. On March 17th, she underwent a kidney biopsy. On March 18th, our 9th day of the hospital stay, we woke up to a 5.7 magnitude earthquake shaking the room.

    An hour later I received the news that my dear friend had passed away from the rare form of cancer she had been battling.

    The chapel at Primary Children's Hospital. Safe place. | gypsy magpie

    4 hours after my heart fell apart, we were sent home.

    COVID had become a worldwide pandemic and the hospital was preparing for battle. The biopsy results showed improvement in her kidneys and doctors felt she would be safer from the virus at home.

    I was taught when to administer meds and how to take her blood pressure, then we were driving up the canyon as fast as we could.

    COVID has come and the hospital went into lock-down | gypsy magpie

    Full biopsy results came a week later.

    On March 26th, my baby girl was diagnosed with Membranoproliferative Glomerulonephritis or MPGN. From what we’ve been told so far MPGN is an autoimmune disease affecting the glomeruli or filters of the kidneys. Until our daughter undergoes more testing, we won’t know what type of MPGN or what caused it. For now, she is on a pretty nasty cocktail of steroids, immunosuppressants, and blood pressure meds and is sheltering at home.

    Her body isn’t strong enough to fight sickness or infection at this time so no visitors and no going out. For a very extroverted social butterfly, the social isolation has been the hardest part for her.

    Trying to find a bit of happy during quarantine by searching for eagles | gypsy magpie

    Last week, I finished up the board and batten accent wall and painted the bedroom.

    Our mattress is finally out of the family room and though the room is far from done, there is a little more sense of normalcy in the midst of all this chaos. To say my anxiety is through the roof would be an understatement. Having the luxury of a functioning bedroom feels immensely necessary at the moment, even if it’s far from done.

    The rest of the project is just going to have to wait and that’s ok.

    My 2020 birthday card | gypsy magpie

    In the midst of all the darkness, it feels hard to see any bright spots but I’d be remiss to not acknowledge them. Because they are there… and full of light.

    Tender Mercies:

    • A month before all this went down my daughter, who has never been able to swallow pills, suddenly had the whim to learn. She taught herself by swallowing gummy bears! What would we have done if she couldn’t swallow her 8 pills a day?
    • Our small-town clinic had another nephritis case a few years back, so when I brought my daughter in and the PA saw the odd signs, he knew to jump into action. She didn’t seem that sick at all which is why I’d put off taking her in for as long as I did. Oh my goodness there is so much guilt there for me, you guys! But it doesn’t serve so I have to let it go. Because, really, how could I have known? I’m grateful for that other child, whose experience taught the clinic what to look for and what to do. How I would love to hug her mother right now!
    • Due to the current COVID pandemic, the whole state is under stay at home orders. My daughter doesn’t look out the window and see kids playing and feel left out. Her schoolwork is all online and easily accessible. The school even set up a way for the kids to chat and play games together virtually. What a gift for a sick little girl! Thanks for taking one for the team, y’all! You don’t know how much it means to her ;)
    • Experiencing an outpouring of love. For months before this, I was feeling incredibly alone and unseen. I’ve been reminded over and over again these last few weeks how much my family is loved. Hundreds of people praying and fasting for my daughter- that is powerful. I can’t begin to describe how much that support has lifted us, but specifically me. Thank you.
    • Having our small trucking company fully staffed so my husband could be home through all of this. If you know us, you understand the miracle this is. There hasn’t been a spring in over a decade that my husband hasn’t been on the road. What a blessing those 2 truckers are to me right now. There is absolutely no way to thank them enough for the security and peace they have given.
    • Time together as a family. I’m sure my teenagers will tell you they have had way too much of it, but having my family together without the busy-ness and expectations of normal life has been so healing. The other night I walked in to find my 3 girls snuggled up under the covers in a blanket fort. My 15-year-old animatedly reading Harry Potter to her sisters. I can’t remember the last time that has happened. I quietly slipped away back down the hall with happy tears streaming down my face. A precious moment among many that I hope to never forget. When other than in a forced stay at home situation, would my family ever have the time to do what we have done this past month? How would I have logistically kept it all together? Our calendar is normally bursting at the seams with lessons, games, and obligations. There is no way I could have done it. What has been a horrible experience for most of the world, has been a tender mercy for me.

    Still Raining

    I won’t lie and say all is well because it’s not. I am beyond stir crazy and my emotions are on the verge of boiling over at any given minute. On top of that, I feel like I’ve been going through mourning. Mourning the life we once had, the life she should have had. I am tired, angry, sad, overwhelmed, and grieving.

    Still raining, but sunny days are to come | gypsy magpie

    But, despite everything, I also have faith that one day this will all feel old hat. That there is still a wonderful, rich life waiting for my baby girl.

    On Monday, I shared some thoughts on my Instagram after a particularly trying experience. I ran across a quote by R.M. Drake that hit me square in the face. It reads, “Do not lose hope, please believe there are a thousand beautiful things waiting for you. Sunshine comes to all who feel rain.”

    A neighbor's message of hope during COVID-19 | gypsy magpie
    Sunshine comes to all those who feel rain | gypsy magpie

    Good things truly are in store. Amazingly beautiful things. Even in times of COVID pandemics, earthquakes, and kidney disease.

    Just no alien invasions or volcanic eruptions for the time being, if you please.

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1 Comment
  • Teri Pyne
    8 April 2020
    Reply

    This was an incredible way of expressing everything you have been feeling….I LOVE it, as I Love you and our baby girl Annie.