A Side Trip on our Road Trip

by GfG on July 7, 2013 · 1 comment

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I had high hopes for our drive to San Antonio this past Friday.  We broke a Brouse record by having the entire family packed and all luggage loaded by 10pm the night before our departure.  I was even willing to get up at 5am to get the final items, load the kids, and fix a cup of chai latte (not necessarily in that order) so we could be on the road no later than 5:30.

The best laid plans of mice and men… and moms… often go astray.

It started at our Independence Day celebration: Paul Louis got out of the pool to lay down.  On his own.  His choice.  As in, no one made him get out of the pool.

Yup, weird.

Then he started acting “not himself” at our friends’ and running a temperature.  We gave him Ibuprofen.  He needed it again six hours later and the fever was higher.

out of pool

A sweet friend texted at 3:10 am with heartbreaking news that her parents were in a car wreck and her mother had died.  Her father was in the ICU.  Would I pray?  Of course!  The tears mingled with my prayers.   Not long later, she asked me to call and we prayed together.  What an honor it is to stand in the gap for others.  It was hard to sleep, thinking about what she was having to face in those moments.

{Please pray for Toni as her family grieves.}

Then, what I thought was the biggest glitch in my best laid plans, Paul Louis woke at 4:30 in the morning crying.  Temperature was 103.  Yikes.  After giving him another dose of Ibuprofen, consoling him, and setting him up on the sofa, we considered just loading up.   Yet, the time up in the night wasn’t encouraging that, safety-wise.

We went back to bed.

Only to have a bright and chipper little boy (far different from the same little boy hours earlier) AND in our bedroom beginning at 6:00, asking when we would be ready to go.  Then Esther came in.  Then Phoebe.  Then Chloe.   Pretty much, every fifteen minutes a Brouse kid, eager to be on the road, popped into our room.

We ever so gently told them to not come back in our room until 7:30. Or maybe not so gently.

At 8:00, we finally hit the road.  Three hours after my idyllic plan.  I was confident we could make up the time.  Why yes, I can be delusional sometimes.  Paul loves to remind me of that character trait/flaw.

Paul Louis declared that :59 of every hour was trading time for the snack bags (my best ever tip for long trips with kids).  Everything was looking good to be at my sister’s for dinner time.  Especially if you consider dinner time any time before 8pm.

Then…. A funny thing happened on the way to San Antonio.   I glanced back to the third row of the suburban and saw something strange and startling.

Paul Louis’ right eye was swollen.  Nicely swollen (can one describe swollen as nice?).   Parental discussion ensued in the front seat and we questioned the children.  Possibly the questioning resembled interrogation.

After a while, it was obvious the eye wasn’t done swelling.  And the left eye was joining in on the fun.

I hopped back to the first aid kit and grabbed the Benadryl.  Gave Cutie Boy a dose and prayed that’s all we would need to do.  An hour later, his fever was fully back and the eyes were laughing at me and my Bendadryl.

We stopped for a potty break and to look up an urgent care in Carlsbad.

Did you know there is a Carlsbad, California?  It has lots of urgent care facilities. The receptionists are very friendly.   Carlsbad, New Mexico?  Not so much on the lots or friendly.

We found one finally and Paul got in line (the clinic didn’t open until 1:00).  He texted me some concerns about the “urgent care” and wondered if the DEA might be showing up during our visit. The patients sounded a lot more like customers.

The line moved through the now open door, so I hopped out of the suburban with the patient and carried him to the clinic.  A smiling gentleman in a coat and tie held the door open for me and then ran.  Almost literally.

Turns out, that was the doctor.  I had just missed his announcement to the waiting crew that he was leaving for an hour.  Seriously.

We loaded back up and left Carlsbad.  Texting back and forth with Laura/aka Dr. Mole (our favorite pediatrician) including photos of Paul Louis and me doing examinations as instructed in the third row of the suburban, in the middle of nowhere, New Mexico, she advised us to get to an ER.  So, we discussed whether Fort Stockton or San Antonio was the better decision.

Several factors (one of which was Paul Louis’ gargantuan eye) pointed to Fort Stockton.


The doctor took one look and said, “This is a very sick little boy.”

Blood was drawn, IV started and meds commenced.  He almost slept through all of it because of the Bendadryl and lack of sleep.

hospital WEB

The ER doc was pretty sure it was all an allergic reaction.  I saw that as a viable option, but the fever was a concern.  Granted, they could be two different issues, but…

Laura had been saying/texting the whole time that she was concerned it was a sinus infection.  It is a common issue (gargantuan eye lids) in children with undiagnosed sinus infections and it can be dangerous.  An infection that close to the brain, swelling other areas and such… never good.

She really wanted us to get a CT.

Then a funny thing happened in the ER.  Funny as in amazing.  Our doctor said he was willing to talk to Laura on the phone and make a plan with her for Paul Louis’ treatment.  Seriously.

So… they talked.  Then we had a CT scan.  It, in fact, confirmed a sinus infection (this scary eye gig is common in children and can get very serious, very quickly).

Our son was admitted to the hospital for overnight IV antibiotics and observation.

Our pit stop in Fort Stockton turned into a mini-vacation in what I’ve always considered a lame dot on the trip map between Kerrville and Albuquerque.

Paul took the girls to a hotel for the night and I settled down in the chair bed.  Our night was less eventful that I imagined it would be. Pokes and prods a few times in the night, but my amazing son handled it great.

Praise God, in the morning his eye looked like he had received a left hook hit instead of some kind of cartoonish animation.

Saturday am WEB

I rejoiced.  I also counted the hours to San Antone (four) and got ready to leave.

No such thing, said the doctor team.

Clearly, my best laid plans stink.

While there was much improvement, he needed to be fever free for twenty-four hours and get more antibiotics.   The girls loved the hotel pool and breakfast buffet and the television, but they were wearing thin with Fort Stockton.

Paul hopped online and chose a couple of goofy things to do while Paul Louis received his treatments that afternoon- and napped over two and a half hours!  I napped half of that snuggled next and had some dark chocolate with sea salt.

We both needed all of that.

He was looking so well and responding to the treatment perfecly AND was fever free for almost twenty-four hours, that the doctor team agreed to let him go after his 5pm IV meds.  When I told him everyone wanted to see how well he looked because they had been praying… I kid you not… he flung his arms out for the photo said, “I’m sending them hugs for praying!”

hugs WEB

We were all so very glad to leave Fort Stockton and get on the road, but we all filled with gratitude that Paul Louis was ok now.  His sisters ran down the hall to hug him as we walked out.  I will never forget that sight… or how it felt.

This is how he looked Sunday (we are sending Laura daily photos to keep up with his care).  Like nothing every happened.  Precious.

Sunday WEB

While this side trip wasn’t planned or desired, I trust the LORD in setting it in Paul Louis’ life.  In my life.  In my family’s life.

I’m grateful we were near an ER.

I’m grateful we had a wonderful and persistent pediatrician friend who loves helping.

I’m grateful the ER doctor was humble and caring enough to talk with Laura and make a together plan with her and us.

I’m grateful Paul Louis responded to the antibiotics.

I’m grateful our church offered help for the hotel stay and friends sent money to cover the unexpected meal needs.

I’m grateful for the prayers of family, friends, and Facebook followers.

It wasn’t the most fun way to start our two week trip in Texas, but this side trip was ordained by my loving God.  That’s good enough for me.

How was your weekend?

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Papalou July 8, 2013 at 4:06 pm

Wow! I did not want to see the pix but…..it is nice to know that God is good and has blessed our little boy…Way to go, PL! Love that smile…hope the rest of the trip is borrrrring compared to Ft. Stockton. And thanks to that lil angel of a doctor in SA…she’sAsweetie!


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