Sunday, August 15, 2010

One Sick Girl

She went from this:
(photo shoot with my friend Jenny, Wednesday night)

to this:

in less than 24 hours.

I still can't believe that I am writing this from the Phoenix Children's Hospital
while my sweet Annie Pie is recovering in her hospital bed next to me.
Thankfully, she is doing much better now.

The respirator is out.
The fever is gone
and she is alert and on the road to recovery.

We still don't have a conclusive diagnosis as to what virus attacked her body or if it even was a virus. The MRI ruled out any seizure activity or disorder.
But anyway, here is what happened:
Thursday she came home from school and told me she had a little headache and was tired. I told her to rest on the couch and gave her some Tylenol. She had tumbling class at 6 p.m. and she didn't want to miss it. She felt better so I dropped her and a friend off at class.

My friend brought Annie home from tumbling. I wasn't at home. I was out doing some visits with Relief Society. Hannah fed Annie some dinner. Annie said she felt tired and after she ate she rested on the couch for a bit. Then she decided to go upstairs and take a shower. She came back downstairs and rested on the couch again. She was watching "So You Think You Can Dance" with Nico and Haley. Nico started noticing that Annie was kind of out of it but thought she was just tired. Then she remembers Annie saying something out of the blue and weird. Nico told her to go upstairs to bed because she thought she was starting to talk in her sleep. But Annie didn't move. Then Nico tried to talk to her again and Annie just stared at her and wouldn't answer. Nico yelled up the stairs for Michael to come and look at her because she just looked strange to her. Michael came downstairs and tried to get Annie to answer him. Her eyes were open but kind of rolling around. She wouldn't answer him and he could tell something was really wrong. Nico called 911 for help.

The paramedics came in minutes. Haley said she was the one to run outside and flag them down. About this time, Hannah sent me a text message, which I ignored initially. I just let my phone buzz. But then a minute later it was buzzing again and I decided to look and it was Michael calling. I knew right then something was up. Somehow I didn't answer his call but I checked Hannah's text. This is what I read:

"Don't want to freak you out but we think Annie might be having a seizure..ambulance is coming..she is having a hard time breathing and won't talk to us.... "

Would you jump out of your chair and freak out? Because I did. We were visiting with Judy Taylor and her mom and sister and bless their hearts for understanding our quick exit. I started shaking with nerves I couldn't even drive. Amber drove me to our house where sure enough: ambulance and fire truck were in front of our house. I ran in and they had Annie sitting in one of our dining room chairs. They were shining a bright light into her eyes and she made no recognition that anyone was even there. It was the scariest thing I have ever seen. Her head sort of flopped around. They put her on a stretcher and we left for Gilbert Mercy. I rode in the front seat shaking uncontrollably. I was so surprised about that too. I kept telling myself to calm down but I couldn't. I remember turning around in my seat to get a glimpse of Annie laying on the stretcher and all I could see was her left hand clinched up tight. When I saw that I knew something was going on with her brain. When we unloaded and they were pushing her into the e.r. I also saw her left foot do the same thing. Her toes were curled under.

The next part happened so fast I barely remember the order. The doctor explained to me that he needed to put her on a respirator right away to help her breathe and then they were taking her for a cat scan as soon as possible to rule out any stroke or bleeding. They were asking me questions about if she had been sick, or what her day was like. I told them she had been at gymnastics but I didn't pick her up so I didn't know if anything happened. She also had been to the dentist for two shallow fillings but I remembered that the dentist told me he didn't need to use any medicine at all. I told them about her headache and how I gave her Tylenol.

A Social Worker was introduced to me at some point and I remember thinking, "this must be bad if I need a social worker." I know they are there to help but I think it made me more nervous. She was very good to me though. She explained everything so clearly. Sometime through all this, Michael arrived and so did my friends Jenny, Tishia, and Amber and her husband Scott. I needed everyone of them and was so glad they were there. I still was amazed at how bad I was shaking. Michael surprisingly was very calm. Usually we are the other way around! At some point I remember the social worker telling me that I needed to be prepared for Annie to be air lifted to Phoenix Children's or St. Josephs. They were contacting the hospitals to see who had a bed available. That didn't help my nerves either.

The cat scan came back negative for the bleeding so they told me that she would be riding in an ambulance to Phoenix Children's Hospital. I was relieve at that. I was dreading a ride in a helicopter and I felt better that she wasn't having a serious brain injury. We decided that it would be better if Michael rode in the ambulance with Annie and that I could go home and pack up a few things and meet him at the hospital. Amber, Jenny, and Tishia were going to drive with me.

Michael waited at the E.R. with Annie while a special nurse ambulance was called to transport her. Michael rode in the back with her and the nurses and he said it was really hard to watch her. Her body was very restless and out of control. We arrived at the ICU about the same time as them. We were asked more questions about where we had been, what she has done in the past week and if she had been sick at all. I told them about the dentist, the gymnastics, and then I remembered that she was sick for a day before we went out of town for the Whiting Reunion and that a few of us came home sick from the reunion.

They treated her with antibiotics and we settled in to watch and wait. My friends stayed with us til 2:30 in the morning. They were such a great comfort to me. Sometime after they left is when Annie started getting a high fever. She would wake up every half hour or hour and thrash around uncontrollably. We would help the team of nurses hold her down so they could get more meds into her to help her relax. I can't really remember every detail. It was such a blur. At some point I had time to get Michael's Blackberry and get on facebook and put a plea out for prayers. I was so scared for her. She needed more than medical help. The ICU nurse had told us that she was worried because Annie was unresponsive. She could not get her to squeeze her hand or blink her eyes. Annie stayed this way for the next 10 or so hours. The nurse would try every hour to get her to wake up and squeeze her hand. It was around 10:30 a.m or so that Annie finally moved her fingers ever so slightly when the nurse asked her to. She wasn't out of the woods yet but she was making progress. She was still on the respirator and she still needed to have spinal fluid drawn from her back.

The fever kept coming and going and they were concerned with that. They didn't want her off the respirator until she was more responsive and they knew the fever was going to stay down. But everytime the drugs wore off, Annie was combative and trying to pull the respirator out of her mouth. Sometime Friday afternoon? night? the doctor decided to take her off of it. I was so happy. It was making her so miserable. They drew the fluid from her back and then took her off the respirator. She still wasn't awake or talking at all but she would start to follow simple commands like squeeze my hand or wiggle your toes. It was such a comfort to me to see that. I had been so worried.

So gradually she started getting better. Saturday we started noticing that she was asking the same questions over and over. And she really couldn't remember things we had just told her. She would tell us that we had 4 eyes or two heads. She had a nuerologist come in to see her and she couldn't pass some of her tests. She also had severe mood swings. She would be laughing one minute and then crying and upset the next and then confused and tired the next.

And that is where we pretty much are at right now. After every nap, she wakes up better. She is remembering more and not asking as much. We are still at the PCH but out of the ICU. She can get released when the spinal fluid results come in. It takes 72 hours for those results. We hope to be home tomorrow and hope she continues to get better and better.

I still can't believe that this all happened to her.

I can believe that the prayers of all my friends and family are healing her. I am so appreciative of everybody's kind wish and thought for her to get better. We were reading facebook tonight together in her hospital bed and it made her so happy to know so many people care about her. Everytime a text comes on my phone she wants me to read it to her.

I am so grateful that she is getting better and I am so grateful for friends and family.

We are so blessed by you all.

Thank you.


coca-cola angela said...

Tiffany, thank you so much for making the effort to post this! I am at work crying my eyes out, but it's so good to hear that she is doing better. It's wonderful to see the ward come together to support you (I get to break my fast in about 30 seconds...yipee). Anyway, please let me know if there is anything you need. Again, thanks so much for the post, it's so nice to get the whole story in your words. Prayers for your family!

Jenny said...

We love little Annie. Get better soon! Our thoughts and prayers are with you

Crystal said...

That is so scary! I am glad that Annie is improving! We will continue to send prayers your way!

Lindsey said...

So glad she is doing better. Let us know when she is home and up to seeing visitors. I am sure Abby would love to come and say hi!

Lindsey said...

So glad she is doing better. Let us know when she is home and up to seeing visitors. I am sure Abby would love to come and say hi!

Lindsey said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Karen Brown said...

Wow, Annie, you know how to keep life exciting. Keep getting better and better. All your cousins need your spark and enthusiasm.

liz said...

SO glad Annie is doing better. What a super scary experience for you and your family. She's been on my mind and in my prayers.


ps. Tiffany now I get to bring YOU Chipotle once you are home! ;-) Not that it makes this any easier.....

Andrus Family said...

We are so relieved to hear that Annie is doing better. We are keeping her and your family in our prayers. Your family has been there for us in time of great need, please let us return the favor in any possible way. Get better are so loved!

Mary said...

Yeah for Annie getting better. Yeah for the whole Brown family making it thus far through this tough time.
Yeah that you have so many friends to help and support you.
Yeah that we have our faith to help us and others during tough times.
If there is anything I can do to help let me know. You are still in our prayers.

Diana said...

annie- we love you and pray for you throughout the whole day. So many people are praying for you throughout the world, including my family and Ray 5th ward. Keep getting better, we love you!
Tiffany- thanks for your post. This breaks my heart! I can't imagine how hard these days have been for you. I am so sorry.
So glad she is getting better. Please let us help in whatever you need.
We love your family. Diana Ferre

Nichole and Jeremy said...


Thanks for sharing this. love you so much and your whole family. I am still so curious as to what brought this all on.

Hope she gets to feeling better really fast. Love you


Kathy Owens said...

Such a scary time!! I am so glad to hear that things are looking better! Wish so much that I could have been there to be with you, but am very grateful that you have great friends down there. It is very evident how much you guys are loved . . . we miss you and love you guys! We will continue to keep Annie and all of you in our prayers.

Jenny said...

I am thrilled that Annie is ok. It's crazy how 1 day can make a difference. She really scared us!! We love you Annie and are SO happy you are home safe and sound.

Michelle said...

Annie and family-

We are so grateful to hear that you are getting better! You will continue to be in our hearts and prayers. Please know we are here for you if you need us! We can't wait to see your wonderful smile again soon!

Aaron, Michelle, Kylie, Hanna, and

Sarah Phipps said...

I am so glad that she is getting better! I cannot imagine what your family has gone through the past few days! It was crazy to think you were at my house visiting not too much earlier then going through this rough experience! I hope she gets to come home soon and be back to herself again!

Marisol said...

I am so glad she is getting better everyday. That must have been so scary! I will keep praying for her.

Marisol said...

I am so glad she is getting better everyday. That must have been so scary! I will keep praying for her.

Paul & Lisa Watson said...

Thanks Tiff for posting. Friday I was talking to Francie and we were both crying and I had to leave work. we were sad we couldn't be there for you but I am so glad to see what good friends you have to help you through this time. Glad Annie is doing better! What a crazy scary deal! Tell Annie we love her and are praying for her recovery.


McB's said...

From Jenny's post it looks like you guys are home now :) I'm so happy and if there is anything we can do, please don't hesitate to say something! Hope she is feeling better!

Tim said...

Annie - we wish you a speedy and full recovery. And stay away from watching "So You Think You Can Dance" - that is obviously what caused the reaction here. Maybe it was the terrible Disco numbers they throw in every once in a while. ;-)

We love you and are praying for you.

Cami said...

Wow! Tiffnay and family, my heart truly goes out to you. You have had to face and deal with many scary/unknown situations this past week. There is nothing harder, that I have atleast experienced, than having a child in the hospital because they are sick, and there are no answers.
Sweet Annie is a fighter. She is so loved. I am crying right now because that is such a scary feeling, for all involved. Brain issues are really scary, so I feel like I can empathize with you, in a way. And seeing your child intibated. That is very nerve wracking to see! I am sure you sat in her ICU room just not feeling like there was a light at the end of this challenge. I wish I could reach out and hug you! When our daughter was recenlty hospitalized, and still to this day, this is what I cling to: It is so nice to know that our Heavenly Father is in control, He has His reasons for testing us, and what a comforting feeling that is. To know that he is walking hand in hand with you and your family. My prayers will be with your family and Annie.
oh, and p.s. I can't remember which daughter called for Michael upstairs, but good for her for being intuned with Annie; seeing and knowing that something was just not right with her but she could not voice it herself! What great big sister's (and brother) she has!

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