The last 36 hours deserve it’s own blog post.
I suppose I should start back 4 days ago. We had just arrived back at the country house after our weekend in Houston. We were prepping everything to get back on the bus to head west with the goal of dropping Jacob off at the Missionary Training Center (MTC) on February 5th.
Campground reservations were made and our schedule included stops in Yuma, Las Vegas, and St. George, as well as a week in Disneyland. One last big hurrah before we said goodbye to Jacob.
The day we arrived at the country home, we remembered that Jacob still needed a flu shot before reporting at the MTC. Jake ran him down to CVS and got it done. We expected Jacob to feel under the weather for the next few days. Jake doesn’t react well to the flu vaccine and Jacob has had adverse reactions to immunizations before.
We didn’t expect him to be completely laid out. He spent the next afternoon in bed with fever and chills. The following two days were more of the same. We figured he just needed time to rest and recuperate. We continued with our plans to depart yesterday afternoon. We packed the bus while Jacob slept. It was quite the chore. You would not believe how much stuff we are able to fit on the bus! We spent hours organizing and getting ready to leave.
It was a bit of a madhouse. I was trying to finish editing some sessions, as well as prepping to be away from my desktop computer for the next three weeks. We were also busy washing a ton of laundry and hanging it to dry outside.
Our goal was departure at 4pm. We were going to boondock somewhere in West Texas as we made our way to Yuma. We were all loaded at 5:35pm. Jacob was resting in his bunk, Miss B was in her seat, I was on our bed, Josh and Sam were on the couches at the front. We pulled out of the driveway as the sun was quickly dropping below the horizon.
As Jake squinted from the sun in his eyes, he realized that he didn’t have his sunglasses. We turned around at the end of the road and headed back to the country house. We pulled into the driveway and while the bus was idling we heard a terrible racket in the engine.
Upon inspection it turns out that a mounting bolt for the alternator had backed out and the bolt was hitting the cooling fan which was causing the noise. A simple enough fix if we could get a new nut and lock washer. But at this point it was dark, and Jacob was feeling a little nauseous. We decided to call it a night and set out again in the morning. We could find the part we needed for the bus and let Jacob sleep a little more where he had access to a toilet in case of vomiting. After my last experience with vomit on the bus, I wasn’t too keen to try it again. As long as we left early enough the next morning, we’d be able to keep to our schedule.
We got the kids unloaded and set up in the house and Jake and I ran to town to look for the nut and washer and to get a thermometer to check Jacob’s temperature. While we were out we talked about how thankful we were. Had we not turned back for a pair of sunglasses and been stopped and idling, we probably would not have heard the noise. By the time damage was done, we could have been deep in the middle of No Where, West Texas stranded on the side of the road. With Jacob vomiting. Yes, we were very thankful that our Heavenly Father was watching over us.
When we returned home, Jacob was awake, but still not doing well. His fever was 103* and he had been vomiting. We decided to ask a friend to come help Jake administer a priesthood blessing. He came over immediately. During the blessing, Jacob was told that his body would be made whole and that he would arrive at the MTC on time.
After our friend departed, the whole family settled into one room to relax and we turned on a movie. It was about 45 minutes into the movie that it happened. I’m not sure I can even correctly describe the terrifying events that happened next.
Jacob was lying on an air mattress which was next to the bed I was on and Josh was on the other side of him on the air mattress. There was a commotion and as I looked over, Jacob was lying at an odd angle and his arms were rigid and flexed with his hands near his face. His face was bright red and his eyes were wide. He was trying to communicate but no words were coming out of his mouth. Between Josh and Jake and I, we got him into a sitting position on the side of the bed. His body was burning up. He started to speak, but it was as if his tongue were completely swollen. His words were slurred and his eyes were still wide and his body tense. We couldn’t understand what he was saying. It was as if we were watching him have a stroke.
The next few minutes were a bit chaotic. Jake and I rushed to get dressed knowing we were taking Jacob to the emergency room. For a moment we considered calling an ambulance (at least I did – I’m not sure what Jake was thinking), but then I realized we could get him to the hospital sooner.
As I finished dressing, I took in the scene around me. Josh and Sam standing in the midst of the mayhem, fear on their faces. Jacob, sitting on the edge of the bed, his tongue hanging slightly out of his mouth, a look of confusion on his face. Jake pulling a shirt over his head. I took a deep breath and said, “It’s going to be okay. The blessing told Jacob that he would be made whole and he would arrive at the MTC on time. Jacob is going to be fine.” At that moment, I knew that no matter what was going on with him, he was going to be okay.
We gave some last minute instructions to Josh as we hurried out the door. Jacob needed support on both sides from Josh and Jake to get to the car. My heart was pounding out of my chest. I was afraid, yet knew that I needed to trust in the power of that priesthood blessing. Jake put Jacob into the seat in the van and buckled him up like he would a child. Jacob’s speech was still slurred as he tried to communicate with us. We pulled out of the driveway as I texted my family and our friends in Houston to let them know what was going on.
As we rushed toward the hospital, we heard Jacob speaking in a normal voice from the backseat and it stunned us. Jake began to quiz him; asking him what day it was, where we were, and how old he was. He was coherent and able to answer the questions. We then asked him if he could remember what had happened.
He said that he was mentally aware the entire time, but his body wouldn’t respond. He couldn’t speak or move properly. He felt as if he were detached from his body. He described it as feeling inside out. We arrived at the emergency room shortly afterwards. Jacob was able to walk with a little support from me.
I watched Jacob, sitting across from me in his pajamas, as we waited for our turn to be seen. I knew I was witnessing a miracle. A miracle with so many little threads that it was obvious that our Heavenly Father was absolutely aware of us.
We spent almost four hours at the emergency room. During those four hours we could physically feel the prayers of all of our friends and family. The nurses drew blood, tested urine, gave IV fluids, and administered a ct scan. They confirmed that Jacob had the flu. Though they insisted that it was in no way related to the flu shot he received a few days earlier. I don’t buy that. Everything else looked normal. They had no answers for what we experienced. The doctor suggested that it might have been an allergic reaction to the Nyquil we had given him an hour or so before the episode. I don’t buy that either.
I think something happened. And I think we witnessed a miracle. In fact, I don’t just think that. I know that.
We fell into bed at 4am this morning exhausted, but grateful. Grateful for so many things, but mostly to be known by The Lord. This morning it was obvious that we would be staying at the country house a while longer while Jacob got better and to watch and see if anyone else would be affected by it. I started the process of rescheduling what needed to be rescheduled, knowing we wouldn’t make it to St. George by Thursday to teach a workshop.
Jacob slept comfortably most of the day today. He’s still running a bit of a fever, but seems to be doing much better. Unfortunately it seems as if Josh will be the next victim of the flu as he is running a fever now himself, which is not too much of a surprise considering he and Jacob have been sharing a bed.
Jake and I spent a portion of our day discussing options. Looking at our previous plans and realizing that they no longer fit. We’re down to counting the days until Jacob reports to the MTC. Just 15 more. For now we’ve decided to continue to trust that Heavenly Father is not only watching out for us, but is directly involved in our plans.
The Spirit that we feel has been stronger and more palpable than at any other time in our life with the possible exception of when our daughter Juanita was stillborn. There is no question that Jacob’s preparation for his mission has been filled with miracles and oversight of a loving Heavenly Father.
We feel strongly that we need to stay here to rest for a bit while everyone recoups. I think that means that all we had planned for the next few weeks will fall to the wayside. Surprisingly, everyone is okay with that. We had a family council today to talk about what was happening. The boys all felt like more rest and less rush was the answer for our family.
The pace we have set over the last 6 months has been break-neck. Our schedule has been rigid and unrelenting. We’ve been and gone and seen and done. The territory we’ve covered is quite impressive, but it’s time for a rest. We have a welcome, safe spot here at the country house. I think we’ll utilize it a while longer.
A thought occurred to me today. It has been mentioned several times by different people that we should write a book about our experiences on the bus. The idea intrigued me, but I had no idea what I would write about. We’re having an adventure, yes. But was it book worthy? Probably not.
This morning however, I knew what I would write about if I ever decided to. I would write about the answers to prayers, tender mercies, and miracles that have enveloped The Big Blue Bus Tour. Time and time again, we’ve seen the hand of The Lord. The last 36 hours we’ve seen it in a way that is undeniable. Our plan has been turned on its head and we’re okay with that. Because we know that what awaits is better than what we could have planned ourselves.