Tuesday, April 14, 2009


For spring break this year, Tabitha made reservations for us in Las Vegas for Friday night and then three nights in Sedona, Arizona. We were going to return on Tuesday because I had a work commitment.

I brought along my computer with the hope of updating the blog every night like I have on past trips. I figured I would start with the obligatory photo of the kids frolicking at a rest stop along the interstate. I would then post a few photos of the family enjoying our time in exotic Las Vegas. Tabitha had other ideas:

"Why did you bring your computer?"

"To update my blog."

"Why don't you spend a little time with the family instead."

"Umm... okay."

Abigail and Aidan try to not get blown away in the desert.

We arrived at the Venetian in Las Vegas on Friday afternoon and checked into our room. While Tabitha and Aidan napped, I showed Abigail the canals of Venice (in Las Vegas). We had dinner at one of the restaurants in the hotel where Aidan pulled his usual routine of screaming his head off, refusing to eat, and then complaining he was hungry. The waiters and other diners were amazingly accommodating.

Aidan, in a more contemplative state of mind, enjoyed the wide ledge of our suite window.

We hoped to show the kids the lights of the Strip at night but we were all too tired to go out after our post-dinner gelato. We were the earliest people to bed in the entire city on Friday night. We checked out on Saturday morning and drove over to the Bellagio. We parked the Jeep and checked out the tulips and butterflies in the Bellagio's lobby. We walked to the M&M Store and chose our own colors (pastels for Abigail, blues for Aidan, and dark chocolate for me).

Abigail in the butterfly house at Bellagio.

We travelled east from Las Vegas, crossed the Hoover Dam, stopped for lunch in the bustling metropolis of Kingman (actually much bigger than I remembered), and headed east on I-40. The plume of smoke on the horizon turned out to be a fully-engulfed semi, stopping westbound traffic for miles. We soon arrived in Flagstaff and headed south on Arizona 89 to Sedona.

My family standing in front of some rocks in Sedona.

So far the trip was unfolding as planned. We checked into our hotel in Sedona, went for a chilly nighttime swim, and ate a delicious dinner at the hotel. Aidan again pulled his usual stunt (Hint to waiters - get the food out fast. Hint to Tim - don't take your son to nice restaurants). We went to bed early again.

Abigail enjoying a swim.

Aidan loves shallow water.

Warming up by the fire.

On Saturday, Abigail complained her eye hurt. It looked normal so we didn't think too much about it. On Sunday, the skin around her right eye was a little red and puffy. Abigail said it hurt more. That night, I could hear her crying in her sleep. At about 3 AM I woke up to check on her. Her right eye was swollen and red.

I called Kaiser to find out if they had any facilities in Arizona (they don't). I spoke to a nurse and described what Abigail was experiencing. I couldn't tell if she had a fever but she seemed a little warm. The nurse recommended we go to the local Urgent Care in the morning.

Even the view from the hospital is beautiful in Sedona.

On Monday morning, I took Abigail to Urgent Care. The doctor was concerned so he called the local ER. Dr. Dean at the ER wanted to examine Abigail. I dropped Tabitha and Aidan off at the hotel and took Abigail to the ER. By this time, Abigail had a fever and the skin around the eye was very red and swollen. Dr. Dean determined she probably had peri-orbital cellulitis, a serious infection of the skin around the eye. Abigail had a CT scan and they started IV antibiotics.

Dr. Dean laid out the options. He recommended we admit her to the hospital to continue the antibiotics. The hospital in Sedona did not have pediatric beds so she would have to go to Flagstaff. If untreated, the infection could migrate behind her eye causing loss of vision and possibly death. Dr. Dean said, "This is a medical emergency."


After collecting myself, I called the hotel and made arrangements to check out that night. They made reservations for a hotel in Flagstaff for us and called a taxi to bring Tabitha and Aidan to the hospital. Tabitha rode in the ambulance with Abigail to Flagstaff while Aidan and I drove the Jeep.

Later that night, I dropped Tabitha and Aidan off at our hotel in Flagstaff and returned to the hospital to spend the night. Abigail wanted to go home. She was frightened of getting more shots and staying in the hospital. I told her she had to stay in the hospital so she could get better. She had a difficult time the first night.

Abigail's infection began to improve after the first night but she was still running a slight fever. Tabitha had her hands full trying to keep Aidan occupied. Grandma Terry offered to drive out to Flagstaff to see Abigail and take Aidan back home with her. She drove to Flagstaff Tuesday evening, spent the night at the hotel with Tabitha and Aidan, visited Abigail on Wednesday morning, and then returned to California with Aidan (900 miles of driving in 24 hours).

Abigail was feeling much better. She drank chocolate milk, watched movies, colored, charmed the nurses, and received a syringe full of antibiotics twice a day. I read, updated my Facebook, and drove back and forth between the hospital and the hotel. I slept in Abigail's room every night on a fold-out bed. Tabitha read, swam in the hotel pool, napped, and waited for me to pick her up so she could visit Abigail.

Coloring books!

A delicious hospital meal.

She's getting out today!

On Friday morning, Abigail was released from the hospital. I was also glad to be out of the hospital so I could wear pajamas and sleep in a real bed. We checked out of our hotel and drove home that afternoon.

Abigail on a rock at a rest stop on I-40.

Tabitha is engrossed in her book.

Abigail takes a good photo.

Abigail is doing much better. She will take oral antibiotics for another week. She returned to school today. We are thankful for all of the prayers from our friends and family members.

I picked up a flu bug at the hospital and spent Saturday and Sunday in bed. I missed an awards ceremony for work on Thursday, used up two weeks of vacation time instead of one, and paid an extra $700 for a hotel I used only for a shower and breakfast. Thankfully, our insurance will pay for the hospital stay. In all, it was not a very good vacation.

I love the Flagstaff area. It's close to the Grand Canyon and is surrounded by trees. It has a local university (Northern Arizona) and a population that enjoys outdoor activities. I'd really like to visit some time.


dean said...

Life happens. Sometimes it bowls you over. All's well that ends well. (I think someone famous coined that phrase.)

Sara said...

Sorry that your vacation didn't turn out as planned. But I'm so glad Abigail is doing better. I got teary eyed just reading about it.

Sally said...

Me too...so thankful Abigail is all well.

brian said...

I had no idea...

Sorry to hear about your little girl and thank God she's OK now!

(But really now--a fully engulfed big rig only gets ONE sentence? I'll never understand you guys :)

TimB said...

The semi was off the freeway on the other side so I saw it only for an instant when we drove past at 75. If it makes you feel any better, I had the taste of burning rubber, metal, and plastic in my mouth for the rest of the night. Next time I will put the vents on recirc before I drive through the smoke.

Catherine said...

I followed your Facebook updates throughout this and just prayed Abigail would pull through easily and you guys would be okay. I'm glad to read the detailed version...so sorry you've all had to go through this but glad it has turned out well!