Thirteen year ago, when Luke was not quite 2.5 years old, he got sick and it seemed viral. Fever, sleepiness, etc. He would awaken each morning, eat breakfast, fall asleep watching a movie, maybe eat some lunch, sleep for several more hours, maybe eat dinner, sleep until morning. After a couple of days of this I took him to the pediatrician who said it seemed viral so there wasn't much to do.
A few more days, frequent calls to the pediatrician, some trips to the pediatrician, and we finally ended up in the hospital on the night of February 13th. I remember the date because we weren't dismissed until around 2 a.m. We kissed and said, "Happy Valentine's Day" as we worried over our very sick boy.
If I remember correctly, we ended up at the hospital with him twice. The pediatrician was very worried about meningitis but never would do a lumbar puncture to test for it because she was afraid if Luke didn't have it already he might catch it at the hospital. He had such weird symptoms. On some occasions his neck was quite stiff and other times it wasn't.
At some point during this time we cancelled a ski trip. Luke was just too sick and lethargic to leave. The whole time was surreal. I spoke with the doctor all the time, visited her office several times, yet no diagnosis was ever given and nothing ever really changed.
After two weeks (!!) of this I was horribly worried and didn't know what to do. Luke was my only child and I was afraid I was losing him. He had been sleeping in our bed so we could monitor him (while still not knowing what we were monitoring other than a possible spike in temperature). We had been praying over him nonstop, it seemed, but this night we prayed differently. We basically said we knew Luke was in God's hands and trusted God with Luke's future, whether that future was for life or for death. We knew He was the Great Physician and He could do what our earthbound pediatrician couldn't. In the deepest part of our hearts, we gave Luke to God.
The next morning looked exactly like the last two weeks. Luke woke up, ate a little, then was halfheartedly walking around our living room. Then his knees buckled under him and he couldn't get up or stand or walk. I laid him on the couch and he promptly fell asleep again.
Looking back as a more experienced mom, I want to yell at myself for not taking him straight to the ER. I guess I didn't because we had already been and nothing ever happened.
I continued to pray over him as he slept. After a couple of hours, he woke up and was PERFECTLY FINE. My sweet, good-natured, train-loving little boy was back. Just like that.
Our brother-in-law is a doctor and after hearing the symptoms (after Luke had recovered) he thinks Luke had viral encephalitis, which is an acute inflammation of the brain with symptoms such as headache, fever, drowsiness, fatigue and confusion. Poor appetite can also be a symptom in children. It certainly fits. Some people who recover from viral encephalitis have lifelong issues as a result. The only lingering problem we thought Luke might have was decreased arm/hand strength, but another pediatrician told us that likely wasn't the case.
I don't know what to put in a memorial box other than a picture of young Luke. I suppose I could put a piece of my heart in there, too, since our children are exactly that, aren't they? What I can't put in there is the knowledge, the deep heart knowledge, that God is in control and we aren't. While I'm not glad that Luke was so sick I am ever-thankful that God gave me that lesson as a new parent. It's so easy to worry over every little thing, isn't it? It's so easy to forget that God is their Eternal Father and He loves them more than we do, as impossible as that seems.
(I don't have any digital pics from Luke's early days...so we'll have to settle for one at his 13th birthday party. The years go sooooo fast, don't they? He hardly looks the same now.)