Monday, June 17, 2013


This weekend was supposed to be relaxing. I had it all planned out: lazy mornings, watching Riggs play while Steve and I sat together and talked about everything that had happened over the week. Getting out in the sun and laughing together while Tutka swam in the river. Those were the dreamy images filling my head as I laid in bed Saturday morning before getting up or even opening my eyes. I could hear that Steve was already up with Riggs and I was grateful he had let me sleep in a little. It was 7:30, my favorite time to wake up and start the day. And I had gotten to slowly wake up on my own, rather than being startled awake by the sounds of sad little cries coming from Riggs' room.

About 30 minutes later, that peaceful morning was gone and replaced with frustration and worry. Riggs' hand was very swollen, the skin tight and hot to the touch. It was another mosquito related incident to add to an already lengthy list and a week filled with anxiety and pity every time I looked down at my poor lumpy and swollen little boy. First it had been his face, his eye nearly swollen shut and barely any sleep that night with all the itching and the upset stomach. Then later in the week the right side of his head swelled up above his ear, red and hot to the touch and I went to bed with my stomach in a knot again with worry, only able to sleep after giving it up to God in prayer.

Today it was his poor little hand. We were worried enough about how swollen it was, and then after changing his clothes, fear quickly replaced the worry. We discovered he had red streaks shooting up his arm from his hand, bright and angry, all the way up to his armpit. That meant infection. I knew that our pediatrician in Anchorage was open in Saturday, but I wasn't sure what time they opened. I decided I'd check once we were in the truck and on our way into town, because either way we were going to the hospital. Riggs seemed to be his normal self, he just seemed a little tired and manic. I tried not to think about it on the drive in and talked to Steve about other things to distract him too. But when finally arrived at the hospital and made our way up to the floor where his pediatricians office is, we were both jittery and on edge. The red streaks had gotten a bit worse during the 40 minute drive. We were there 10 minutes before they opened, but they let us in to get checked in a little early. I asked what doctor was in and was so relieved to hear that it was our favorite in the group practice. I quickly and silently thanked God, and felt a peace begin to wash over me. God was in control of the situation, and I finally remembered that.

We got into the little exam room and Riggs was stripped and weighed and his temperature was taken and we were all relieved that he didn't have a high fever (the nurse was so sweet and calm even though I could tell she was worried too). Dr. Monterossa came in and was so calm and good with Riggs and quickly prescribed some antibiotics for us and told us what to watch for in regards to the swelling and the red-streaks/infection. She was very serious with us and didn't try to candy coat things, which was refreshing. We felt much better just knowing what to watch for and what was actually worrisome versus what was typical for the situation.

It's been one of the worst years for bugs so far this summer in Alaska and she said the bites have been causing more reactions that usual. She couldn't tell us exactly what had happened to Riggs, understandably, but she guessed the mosquito that got him on the hand had had some sort of extra bacteria that had caused an infection which was traveling up the lymphatic system in his arm. If the redness didn't subside over the next 24 hours we needed to bring him back in. She suggested doubling his probiotics while he was on the antibiotic and making sure he was drinking plenty of water too. She mentioned that icing his hand would be helpful, but also acknowledged that most 17 month olds wouldn't just sit and let you keep an icepack on their hand for 10 minutes, so she told us to "do our best". 

Writing it all out it doesn't seem as scary as it was for us at the time. And I guess we were a little bit dramatic with our emotions. But it is just so hard to see your child suffer and not know what exactly is wrong with them and how bad it really is. In Riggs' case it was serious but nowhere near life threatening. Yet for us it was the scariest thing that has happened to him yet, and I guess I am thankful for that. Being a parent is so much harder than I imagined it would be. The stress and worry and the depth of my love for him can just completely overwhelm me at times. But despite weeks like this that seem to be filled with incident after incident, I wouldn't trade it for anything.

We saw improvement in his infection within 12 hours, which was very reassuring. Steve's cousin Ivan came back to Palmer with us to stay with us for Saturday night. Steve took him shooting in the afternoon and Riggs hung out in his bug net in the car. Can we say paranoid? But I do think I am a little tiny bit justified in my paranoia ;) I sat in the truck for a bit with him and then was overwhelmed with what a beautiful day it was and got out to take some pictures.

Then we went over to the Smith's house for pizza. They were cutting the hay so it was a busy day around the 'homestead' (as I endearingly call it) but Steve and Ivan had fun riding Ginger and I had fun talking and laughing and watching the babies play in the house with Sarah and Vivian. Such lovely way to spend a Saturday evening, especially after such a shaky start to the day. I'm so thankful for friends that feel more like family and that love my baby nearly as much as I do!

I am so in love with their house. 
Every time I come over I just stop and stare at it and take in its history and charm. 


  1. Oh this poor little Riggs... I even had this knot in my stomach while I read your post. Suffering children is simply the worst... I´m so glad he is better now and so glad he has such loving parents!

    Your saturday evening looks great and your freinds are lovely. I love Sarah´s girl... she´s gorgeous and Sarah so beautiful too (like you are)!

    Such awesome mamas in Alaska... wow :-)

    Good Night Honey!

  2. So glad the antibiotics are helping. A very scary situation but it sounds like you handled it perfectly. Sending healing thoughts Riggs way.