we were supposed to drive to tucson on christmas for the missionary-kid reunion, which we decided we were going to attend after all--just before the deadline to register. so i was immensely excited. i love planning trips, getting ready, talking about the fun times ahead, the anticipation of new things. now i would get to introduce thomas to a bunch of the kids i grew up with! and we would get to remember my childhood in mexico, and how formative that experience was to my life. i felt a grace to go. holly had sent us a check for gas money!--what a sweet christmas present!!! and i really felt that we were all going to get a boost on this journey. change of scenery, get out of the rut we have seemed to be in lately... we celebrated christmas a day early in high excitement, and drove down to san diego christmas day, to spend the night with friends, planning to travel on to tucson on the 26th.
sparrow had had a cold the week before. i was so happy that she had kicked it a few days before we were due to leave. but the day after her coughing stopped, she got a new little cough, a very little one, and i was SO worried. why are you coughing!?! thomas said it was nothing. but sure enough, the cough got worse and worse and by the 25th she was so ill that all she did was lie around all morning and shriek instead of talk. shrieking. all. day. i was really not inclined to cancel the trip because of a cold so we prayed for her and headed down to san diego anyways. i was of the opinion that 2 days in the car wasn't gonna hurt her too much. it would be either sitting around in the car or sitting around at home, right?
the shrieking, however, did not stop in the car or at our friends' house. i had just run out of elderberry syrup (powerful natural cold fighter), and of course all the stores were closed christmas day so i couldn't get her any. it just seemed to be getting worse and worse. i felt so bad for sam and judy that their christmas was getting overtaken by this high-pitched wail... we tried EVERYTHING to get sparrow to calm down. movie, milk, blanket and pillow, hot water bottle, back rub, mac and cheese, stories... we would ask her something: "do you want some mac and cheese?" (which judy had specially made for her) "NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!" or she would periodically just burst out into painfully loud cries. what have i done? by nighttime i was so scared that this was something serious--meningitis? should we take her to the emergency room? no. no. all they would do is give her tylenol after waiting around for hours. i knew how hospitals worked. and she had a cough. this was not meningitis, i told myself. just a cold. but i had never before seen her this way, even though she gets PLENTY of colds. we kept inquiring as to where she was hurting, and all we got out of her was "MY MOOOOOOOOOOOOOUTH!!!" but her breathing was semi erratic and like shallow little contractions. other symptoms: fast-beating heart, lethargy, pallor, bad breath, high irritation. (she kept screaming at sam and judy's dog, poor pup.)
i sent out a text message to some friends asking for prayer because i didn't know what to do. i was ready to turn around and drive home that night. lauren, who is in naturopathic med school, responed to my text with the strangest treatment suggestion: put a pair of wet socks into the freezer, then put them on sparrow's feet. cover with dry socks. wrap the rest of her up so warm that she is sweating. leave the wet socks on all night, and they will be dry by morning. "knocks out most acute illnesses." thomas especially was QUITE sketched by this proposal, but i was desperate. sure, she would hate the wet socks. but she was hating life anyways, so might as well. so that is what we did to see what would happen. the night was awful, and golden wasn't doing so hot, either. she wasn't sick, but she knew she was in a strange place and had a hard time going to sleep. at one point i got off a brief phone call with holly and walked back into the room. sparrow was shrieking in the bed. golden was wailing in her pack n play. thomas was in the bed with a pillow over his head! he had given up. hahahaha...(i found out later that he was getting sick at that point too.)
i crawled into the little bed with my butt falling off and trying not to inhale sparrow's germs too much. crying, praying, i managed to doze off a few times and survive the night. the next morning we made our coffee and headed straight for home. sparrow's personality was back to its normal chatty self! wow. what a relief. she was still coughing, and we were exhausted. arizona was out of the question by then. she would have infected the other children anyways.
and that is the story of our family christmas trip 2008. bizarre! i was so disappointed to have missed the reunion. but as always, God knows best.
here's to prayer wet socks!