That year we met our $10,000 family deductible

photo (84)Well, my friends, 2014 has been a special one. And when I say special, what I really mean is that it has been the hardest year of my life. So yeah, special is code for kind of crappy.

But also filled with some really wonderful, joy-filled moments. That’s what happens when you spend your days and evenings (and lately, your nights) with a dancing, singing, laughing, big-eyed toddler who LOVES life. It’s contagious. And that’s what happens when you’re married to a man who can find adventure in the mundane, who can whip up a gourmet breakfast out of nowhere and surprise you while you dry your hair and try desperately to get yourself out the door to tackle another day. And another doctor appointment. And when you have coworkers who pray when you text them to say your daughter is having yet another asthma attack and you’re afraid you may have to take her to the hospital.

Here is our last six weeks, in a nutshell:

  • 9 doctor visits total for Mr. Right, Wrenn, and me
  • 9 diagnoses ruled out by the neurologist for Will’s facial pain. We know it’s not shingles, meningitis, cancer, multiple sclerosis, lime disease, inflammatory tissue disease, a bug bite, a spider bite, or a blocked sinus. We know because we have tested FOR ALL OF IT.
  • 1,000 asthma attacks for Wrenn (at least it seems like it – poor baby girl, we can’t seem to get it under control)
  • 1 ER visit for Wrenn’s asthma
  • 1 ER visit for another family member
  • Countless hours sitting with Wrenn on the floor of the bathroom, with the hot water running and the room filled with steam, trying to calm her asthma while entertaining her with Barney videos on my phone
  • 1 MRI (again)
  • 1 round of lab work (again)
  • 5 rounds of steroids
  • 1 double ear infection
  • 2 antibiotics
  • 1 case of the worst diaper rash I’ve ever seen thanks to those antibiotics
  • 2 new inhalers
  • 2 wrist braces
  • 2 possible surgeries (one for Mr. Right that has since been ruled out, and one for me if my brace and therapy don’t fix my wrist tendonitis)
  • 1 random bug
  • An average of just a few hours of sleep most nights (there have been many nights when we’re up with Wrenn’s asthma almost all night and I’m lucky to get two hours of sleep). On the other nights… insomnia. Because, stress.

And those are just the ones I’m willing to share. We have been stressed to the max, running on almost no sleep and pretty discouraged. Mr. Right and I have had to learn to be an advocate for our baby girl, as we push the doctors to find a plan of care that will decrease her asthma attacks as well as keep her safe during the scary ones. I have talked to the nurse at our doctor’s office so many times that we’re practically best friends. I have a careful, hand-written medication list on our fridge because there are so many medicines I have to give her every day. I have finally convinced them to start a preventative daily treatment to see if we can curb the attacks before they start. And between you and me, I’m tempted to never leave her out of my sight ever again. That’s not possible, what with working and life in general… but it has become an act of faith to leave her with anybody else.

Even the last two times I’ve taken her to the church nursery, they had to call me to come get her because she simply cried from feeling so bad, and couldn’t get it together.

It has been an overwhelming and discouraging time, made worse by sheer exhaustion from being up most nights. We are tired. And we are fighting to see and name the blessings we know we have been given, even during this stressful season. It’s just a season, I keep telling myself. Just a season.

photo (83)

I know for a fact many of my friends have walked through similar seasons… filled with different challenges than the ones we’re facing, but hard nonetheless. Being a mom and a wife are so hard. Watching your loved ones hurt is so hard. Trying to do life when you’re really run down is SO HARD.

And in the midst of this crappy 2014, I have a daughter who waves “bye bye” to her books when I say “the end,” who leans in to give me kisses for no reason, who loves to chase around our poor dog and whole-heatedly scold him, “NO,” who says “moo!” when I ask “What does the cow say?” and “woof woof!” when I ask “What does the dog say?” Who loves to wrap her arms around me and nuzzle her face into my shoulder at bedtime as I rock her to sleep.

We are so blessed. I just have to keep reminding myself of this, over and over and over. Blessed. Please don’t let me forget.

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