Instagram Post From Jamie: "Say some extra prayers for this girlie please. She is being life flighted to primary children's hospital for really bad diabetes. So glad we figured things out. Nothing breaks your heart more than to see your child hurt. Love you Kycie Jai!!!"
I hung up the phone in disbelief. LifeFlight? Jamie told me the labs had come back and Kycie's blood sugar was extremely high. 1134, where normal can be between 90 and 110. As a precaution, they recommend flying Kycie to Primary Children's Medical Center (PCMC) in Salt Lake City. It would take a little while to get Kycie ready, and LifeFlight would not be there for another 50 minutes or so. My MRI would take about 20 minutes. I decided to have them push me through and finish the MRI of my shoulder. The MRI machine sounds like a jack hammer and I am supposed to lay still in one position until the scan is finished. I couldn't collect my thoughts and my mind jumped from rational to irrational.
I couldn't believe they were LifeFlighting Kycie because of diabetes. I obviously didn't understand the disease and how deadly it can be. I fought back tears as the scan seemed to take forever.
They finished and I was quickly shown to the dressing room. I changed and a nurse or doctor ran with me through the halls from imaging to the emergency department. When I got to Kycie's room it was full of people. Nurses, LifeFlight, family and friends. I believe they were just about to get her started on insulin or had just started her on her insulin drip when I arrived.
Kycie was pretty quite, crying out every once in a while for Jamie or for a drink of water. Jamie would feed her ice chips and reassure her that everything was going to be okay. I started to scramble to get things arranged at home so I could go north with Jamie. They told me that I was not allowed on the plane with Kycie because it would be too much weight. Jamie was permitted to go, but I would have to drive. Jamie's little sister would go to the house before me and pack a few bags. It was Friday evening around 3:30 - 4:00 pm. I assumed that we would be in SLC through the weekend and was hopeful to get back to work by Monday.
There was a lesson in a Sunday school meeting a few weeks before that had a profound impact on me and Jamie. It was during the last hour of the three hour block of meetings. I'm not sure what the lesson was about, but we were discussing prayer, particularly family prayer. The guys in the room were kicking around ideas that could help make family prayer more reverent and spiritual. Funny stories were told about how fights can break out during family prayer between siblings, or how the prayers become repetitious and insincere.
Someone raised their hand and shared what their family was doing during family prayer. He said a rule was made that before you can "ask" the Lord for anything, you must first "thank" Him for TEN things. I thought this was a good idea. Our kids prayers usually sounded something like, "Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for this day. Please bless..... Please bless.... Please bless...."
I discussed the idea with Jamie and we put it into practice. It surely didn't help with the reverence part of things, but it did help the kids slow down in their prayer and think about what they were thankful for.
Before prayer at the Terry house, we must first decide who is saying it. We try and go in order, but Kycie was never able to understand why it wasn't her turn every single night. Many nights we ended up saying two prayers. Whose ever turn it actually was, and then one from Kycie. I would close my eyes and hold both hands up. Each time Kycie or one of the boys would say something they were thankful for I would count down from ten. The kids would close one eye but keep the other eye open to see the count down. They would start to giggle as whoever was saying the prayer would start to struggle to think of things they were thankful for. We would start to hear things like, "I'm thankful for carpet. I'm thankful for air. I'm thankful for fingernail clippers." Their eyes would scan the room looking for things they are thankful for.
It was time to go. I had already given Kycie a priesthood blessing during a brief moment of privacy before they moved her to the gurney. I hugged her tight and told her how much I love her. I assured her everything would be just fine and that mommy would be with her the whole time. As they moved her into the ambulance I took one last picture and gave Jamie a kiss and hug. They were loaded and ready for a short drive to the St. George airport.
At ten minutes to 5:00 the ambulance pulled away with my two girls. It was raining in St. George and throughout the entire state of Utah that night. It rarely snows in St. George. However, during the 310 mile drive north to Salt Lake City there will be a nearly a 1,500 foot change in elevation. It is the end of January and as the sun goes down, so will the temperature.
I ran home to gather bags and change vehicles. I loaded the bags into my truck and made sure my mom had everything she needed to help with the boys basketball games the next day. I could tell the boys, especially the older ones, were worried. I gave them each a hug and headed out.
It rained the entire drive, but thankfully never turned to snow. One of the flight nurses told me she would call as soon as they landed. The plane lifted off at 5:35 pm and it would take about an hour to get to SLC airport. I had just passed Cedar City when I was talking on the phone with a friend from Richfield. His son had been diagnosed with T1D a year earlier. He told me to expect to be there for 3 or 4 days! "What in the world could they teach me in 3 or 4 days?" I was so naive, knowing absolutely nothing of what it takes on a daily basis to manage a child with T1D. He said there would be classes on what T1D is, how it affects the body, what can happen if not monitored closely. There would be classes with a dietitian who will teach you how to count carbs. This was the first time I realized T1D has little to do with sugars and everything to do with carbohydrates.
I hung up with him around 6:40 pm and was several miles north of Cedar City. My truck alerted me to another incoming text message. This one from Jamie. "Call me now! Kycie is having a seizure and they said they lost her vitals." My heart sank. Crazy thoughts had been going through my mind all night. Silly things such as, what if the plane crashes? Never did I consider something would happen to Kycie. She was perfect in every way. She had diabetes. What could possibly go wrong?
I immediately called Jamie. When she answered she could barley talk as she was so upset. "Kycie is having a seizure and I heard them say they lost her vitals. I think we are losing her. I'm so scared. I have to go. I'll call you later." I accelerated the truck over wet roads and through the stormy night.
Jamie's mom was already on her way to the hospital and was ahead of me. I still had over 200 miles to drive. Jamie's oldest brother was already waiting at PCMC for Jamie and Kycie to arrive. My dad and brother left to meet me in Scipio so I wouldn't have to drive alone.
I passed Cove Forte and started into a small canyon. Fog had settled and was mixing with the ever present rain. The freeway turned sharply to the left and I almost didn't make the turn. I told myself I had to calm down and slow down.
Jamie and Kycie left the St. George airport via a fixed wing airplane. The flight would be about 50 to 60 minutes and then they would be transferred to an ambulance for a 20 minute drive to PCMC. Kycie slept for most of the flight, waking up occasionally asking for a drink. The plane landed at the Salt Lake airport at 6:35 pm and everyone moved to the ambulance. Jamie was sitting next to Kycie and had just texted her brother to tell him they were on their way when the crew started to shake Kycie and yell, "Kycie! Kycie! Kycie!" The nurse pounded on the glass yelling, "Lights on! Get to the hospital now!" The ambulance suddenly became chaotic. Jamie could only cry as they worked on Kycie and sped the final 15 minutes to PCMC. The nurse did what she could to console Jamie. She quickly sent me a text and then a text to her brother. "Something is wrong. Things are not good."
A team of doctors and nurses rushed Kycie into a room. Jamie stood in the hall with only her brother to hold her. She watched in disbelief as 10 or 15 different people worked to save Kycie's life. As they attempted to intubate Kycie, she suddenly vomited. They turned her to the side, and started to suction out what they could. As the suction tube was in Kycie's mouth, she seized again. This time, the extreme tightening of her body caused her to bite down on the tube so hard that her top front tooth busted off and the other tooth was handing by skin.
The rest is a blur for Jamie. She remembers sitting in the hallway crying. Her brother holding her and assuring her Kycie will pull through. Jamie then finds herself in a Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) room with Kycie connected to all sorts of tubes and wires beeping unfamiliar sounds. Kycie's eyes are closed, there is dry blood on her mouth and chin. Her chest slowly moves up and down with the help of the ventilator.
I pulled up to the front door of PCMC around 10:00 or 11:00. I jumped out of the truck and ran inside. Patiently waiting as security takes my I.D. and gives me a badge. I do not remember walking into the room. I do not remember what I said or did. I do not remember what Jamie told me or what the doctors and nurses told me.
I do remember the nurses leaving the three of us alone. Jamie, Kycie and myself would spend countless hours alone together over the next 6 months. This was the first of many prayers we would have together. With the curtains closed, I knelt on one side of Kycie's bed and Jamie on the other. I softly held my daughters hand and reached across the bed for my wife. Holding my two girls hands, I closed my eyes but found myself unable to speak. The whooshing sound of the ventilator would click with each breath.
Just as I was composed enough to start a prayer, Jamie gave me a slight squeeze of my hand. I opened my eyes and she whispered, "Don't forget to say 10 things you are thankful for."