Monday, March 4, 2013


Home. Isn't that a comforting word? We've all been hoping for the day that I could go home with my parents and meet all my friends. Home and Love. In my world those two words are inseparably connected! Hopefully it's the same for you. I made it home. Just not the one we were originally hoping for. This Home is even better! There is no pain, no sorrow and I am looking forward to my parents, family and friends joining me here soon.

Well, last I wrote, we were all celebrating that I had peed and my settings were going down! It was exciting. I was trying so hard to get better, I guess I just wore myself out. When mom and dad came back after the nurses shift change, I was struggling more and more to breathe. They kept changing my settings and giving me medicine, and my skin kept feeling tighter and tighter. But I kept peeing, because that had made everyone so happy before. I guess, this time they were too worried about everything else to notice as much. The doc had to come back in around 11 to get me back into a good breathing range. He said he wanted to talk to my parents about "options". Then he told them about different medicines or things that they could do to help me. They decided to paralyze a lot of my muscles and give me some Fentanyl for the time being. After my oxygen came back up, the doc left to get some rest. Around 3 I was still doing good, although it was a little scary not being able to move, I could still look around at my sweet parents' faces and that gave me comfort. Soon I heard the nurses saying they had found a place for my parents to get a little rest.

About an hour later, everything went fuzzy . . . things started beeping, nurses surrounded me, giving me what they called "an epi" over and over, pushing on my chest and saying things like, "come on buddy, you can do it!" I was trying so hard! I heard them talking to my parents and all the sudden, a couple nurses left my bedside quickly and I heard my mother saying, "I'm sorry, I'm sorry, just take care of Marshall." I heard them telling her to sit down, she must have been struggling. We all were! Soon, instead of feeling the pain and pushing, I was looking around at a bunch of stressed people, and a tiny little baby in a bed. They couldn't hear a heart beat. They tried with a stethoscope and couldn't hear a thing, then they tried with a doppler (how'd I know that word? Somehow I knew all the words they were using!), they thought they heard something, and kept pushing on the tiny little baby's chest. Things became a little strange, but comforting. One second I was looking around at everyone, the next looking up at them. Soon, the doctor came. They tried more medicine and more pushing, xrays, and lots of prayers. The weird thing is that I could hear a lot of the prayers. I could hear some of their worried thoughts! The face on the little body grimaced a couple times.  I was looking around at everyone again. As I turned and noticed my parents staring intently at the bed, I realized that the little guy was me, my body at least. I heard the doc telling my parents that we had an asystolic baby. They were keeping the tiny baby, me, oxygenated but my heartbeat wasn't functioning. He suggested having my mother hold me.  I heard her frantic thought, "no, not yet. What if he can still make it?!", and I felt a tremendous amount of love.

I felt the burning of hope surrounding my parents. Hope can be a hard thing to understand. As I sat watching them, I thought back to the day they found out the news that I was going to come early. They had hope that I would live, but it was guarded. I did live, and as I continued to grow stronger and stronger, so did their hope. They began to hope that I would be able to come home and be with them, and that I would have no negative effects from all this trauma. It grew and grew. Other people were also praying and fasting for me and hoping that I would live. As I sat watching my parents and thinking of all the family and friends hoping for this same thing, I realized what the hard part of hope is. Hope, TRUE hope can't simply be the hope for good things to come - that type of hope is too easily crushed when the good things we want don't happen, like what my parents are going through now. True hope is always hoping FOR the best, while hoping THROUGH the worst. For example, my parents were still hoping that I would live (what they saw as the best thing), but I also know that they have hope that no matter what happens we'll be together forever. Their ultimate hope is a knowledge and belief that because of Christ's Atonement, all will be well in the end. If we can just rise every time we fall, and trust every time we despair, and love every time we are able during our short journey on earth, having our lives filled with the light of Christ - the Atonement makes it possible to live together forever with our loved ones when there is no end to time. And all our hurts will be made right, all our scars will be mended and we will be WHOLE.

They unhooked me from the machine, and placed my fragile body in my mother's arms. My parents looked stricken. My nurses and my doctor looked stricken. I did my best to comfort them. I hope they felt me there!  I heard my sweet mother's thoughts and prayers. . . "Please no. Please bring him back. He's shown us miracles, please can't we see one more! Did I feel him move? Wasn't I good enough to keep him? I can't do this!" My father sat holding my mother close, pleading and begging Heavenly Father. I heard words like spare, deliver, protect, preserve, and sustain, repeated a lot. "You promised..., you promised...", he demanded inwardly, unable to finish the sentence. I heard a reply to him and understood: "When you placed Marshall in My hands on the day he was born, My promise was peace for your soul."

They moved my heart-struck parents, my Grandpa and Grandma Thornton, and my middle name namesake - uncle Jonathan - to another room. My Grandma and Grandpa Stout arrived. They each took turns holding my frail body. My aunt Bekah and my uncle Nathanael came. Other family members and friends were able to make it. Eventually they brought in pictures of me, and things from my bedside to give to my parents. My pal Woody, and the leads to my monitors. . . and still my sweet mother prayed for a miracle. My heart ached for her!

Some of my dear nurses came in to see my body and my parents. One of my nurses mentioned that I just completed my mission on earth faster than the rest of us. And my other nurse said, "overachiever!" It made my mom smile. I was thankful. I want to be near my parents often during this hard time! All the nurses were crying and consoling my parents, wishing they could have done more. Expressing the desire to turn back time. They said sometimes they think they can decide what's going to happen. That they can save everyone, but then God reminds them Who is in control. One nurse talked about how excited she had left the previous night. Going home to tell all her family how the little baby had peed (still embarrassing). She said, "That's so Marshall - wanting us to go home with lifted hearts by showing us that he could still pee." I sure tried to lift the hearts of all those around me! I just feel this gigantic amount of love for everyone, and I hate seeing them sad. So, even if I was struggling, I sure tried to lift their spirits! I think I learned that from my parents. They sure love everyone a lot, and try not to let it show when they are struggling. Please friends, help me watch over them! I know they are strong, but they sure took a blow today!

Time is a strange thing. Earth-life is but the blink of an eye. Trust me, I know. But when you're there . . . when things seem their bleakest time seems to slow down, but the good times just fly by and sometimes you sure wish you could change the speed, and all your loved ones could be back together again. Please believe me when I say, it will happen. You can be together forever. And when time is trudging on at the pace of a crippled snail, remember I believe in you. I love you. More importantly, Christ loves you. You can do hard things! I will sure miss you all! I'll be watching over you, but I'll be pretty busy too! Please treasure each other and the time you have together. I know I sure treasured mine! Although it was hard, it was definitely worth it!


Sunday, March 3, 2013

Code Yellow

Sometimes adults are hard to figure out!  It takes me a while to figure out why they get so excited about some things.  For example, this evening before my parents were leaving, and the nurse was changing my diaper, they all started cheering.  Everyone came to my bedside and they were all talking about how excited and happy they were.  They kept telling me good job and how proud they were of me.  I was trying so hard to figure out what new thing I must have done, then come to find out they were all cheering because I had peed!  Really?  I thought I had shown them that skill before.  In fact, I'm pretty sure that I have demonstrated it during a diaper change, or right after they changed me so I could get more attention.  And earlier today, my doctor did a dance because of my oxygen levels!  He's never done that before.

I think I'm starting to figure it out a little bit.  I think the more you know the more thankful you can be for your blessings.  See, what I didn't know at first because I wasn't feeling well and hadn't been listening as much as usual, was that because I was SO sick the past few days, my blood vessels had started leaking fluid into my body, which explains why I look like a marshmallow!  You would think that because of the swelling and leaking, that they would stop giving me so many fluids, but I guess the leaking made it so they had to give me more fluids, so that enough fluid could make it to where it's supposed to go.  And did you know the kidneys are responsible for processing the extra fluid and waste and getting rid of it from your body . . . through your pee.  See, I didn't know any of this!  The nurses also said that I hadn't peed for over 30 hours, and they were very worried that my kidneys weren't working.  They explained to my parents that there's not a lot you can do fix the kidneys, so they were just hoping that they would come around.  I guess the swelling and things they feel like they can deal with and will eventually go away, but only if my kidneys started working again.  So the fact that I peed showed them that my kidneys were functioning again.  And the doctor dance - that's because they've been able to lower my ventilator settings, another good sign that I'm recovering a bit.   So, you see, once I knew all that, I realized how thankful I should be because I had peed and how excited it should make me!  Sometimes those blessings are easier to see in others, and we miss the small and large blessings in our own lives because we just don't know enough or don't pay enough attention.

I'm glad that everyone celebrated with me.  I still really feel yucky and hope that my body can overcome this infection, but my parents and I are learning together to celebrate our little blessings, as well as the big things, like my kidneys.  I heard that a lot of people were praying for me and my parents again and I know it helped!  I wouldn't have known to be thankful for that if my parents hadn't told me!  I sure feel a whole lot of love for so many people that I haven't met yet.  You all have been so great to my family, and I can't wait to meet you.  I'm working hard on getting better, please keep praying for me! 

Love you all!

Code Blue

I've never seen so many people around me before! So many new faces and very concerned voices. I had been pretty tired since yesterday, and only managed to open one eye to look around every once in awhile. My dad kept calling me pirate-eye, but I don't know what that means. I slept through the night and most of this morning, too tired to move much. I was also feeling pretty hot - which was nice at first because my feet and hands have been so cold - and soon became uncomfortable. That's when I noticed all the people around me.

It all went by in a flash, and I only caught glimpses of everything that was happening. My incubator was open. A green bag was blowing big breaths into my lungs. There was more beeping. Someone was pushing on my chest really hard. One nurse said something about Epinephrine. I heard my old friend the Oscillator turn on. I started shaking. I stopped shaking and the green bag was back. Then I started shaking again. And then my mommy and daddy were there.

They told me later that I was just leveling out when they arrived. The shaking got more and more intense from the oscillator as the doctor adjusted the settings to stabilize me. Finally, after there was enough oxygen in my blood and not too much carbon dioxide, the amplitude on the vent came to rest at 44 and the mean pressure at 28. Those numbers are a whole lot bigger than ever before. If you don't believe how high they are, just watch my whole body quake.

When things started to calm down, my parents held my hands and feet, and my mom sang for me. With doctors and nurses and technicians all around us, she sang to me songs of peace (my favorites are Abide with Me, 'Tis Eventide; Be Still my Soul; and Edelweiss). I opened my eyes now and then to look up. My dad was worried and kept mentioning that I was just staring off into space. I wish he could've seen what I saw. It would help him worry a lot less if he could see who else has been with the three of us, resting strong hands on our shoulders. I did start looking at my parents too, and they seemed to like that.

I'm getting sleepy again. But before I go, I should probably mention the cause of all of this. The doctors say they think it is an infection: most likely a bacterial infection in my blood from my picc line. It gave me a fever, made me lethargic, and caused my lungs to fill with fluid. So now I have an IV in my foot, another on my head, and the picc line in my arm for now. Each line is connected to a machine that is giving me antibiotics, bicarbonate, fluids, and the sedative that is making me slowly fall asleep. With all these fluids going in, I'm starting to live up to one of my nicknames by looking white and puffy like a "marshmallow."

The next two days could be pretty rough, but it'll all work out. My mom and dad are by my side, and Heavenly Father is on my side. I also have the greatest nurses, respiratory therapists, and two doctors instead of one: the one on-call, and the one who has a few days off but came in anyway when he heard I was struggling. They are my heroes.