What's Going Down

Monday, June 17, 2013

The Full Report

Where do I start?

Last week, we stayed at the Marriott Sabal Palms Resort in Orlando with my husband's entire family for a family reunion. On Friday morning, the women of our group decided to go shopping at the Outlet Malls while the men would take the kids swimming at the resort pool. We left around 10:30am. 

At about 11:20 I received a phone call from by brother in law, Marshall. He very calmly said (something along the lines of), "Alissa? There has been an incident at the pool. Lucas went under water. He is not breathing. There are emergency people here working on him right now." We immediately took off for the car. I had handed my phone to one of the other women as I hyperventilated my way through the maze of an outlet mall. Before we could even reach the car (maybe three minutes later), Marshall called my phone back and relayed the message that they were able to get Lucas breathing again. I immediately dropped to my knees in the middle of the mall. I was not okay. 

We got the information that Lucas was being taken by ambulance to Dr. P. Phillips Hospital with Matt. We got in the car and took off for that hospital. As soon as I arrived I noticed Matt getting there at the same time. I ran to catch up with him. As it turned out, Matt had run into our hotel room to get his wallet and the ambulance had taken off without him. Which was fine. Fix my baby. The resort had immediately offered a towncar to take Matthew to the hospital. The wrong hospital. The ambulance had taken Lucas to Celebration Hospital. Both my ride and Matt's had dropped us off and left. So, we were stranded at the wrong hospital. I was able to get ahold of our car and had them turn around and come back. 

Finally, we arrived at the hospital. As soon as we did, they took us to Lucas. He was sleeping. I walked over to him and fussed and rubbed him for a moment and called his name. He woke, opened his eyes and started crying for a second and then went back to sleep. Within a couple of minutes, my husband and his brother, David were able to give Lucas a Priesthood Blessing. They placed an NG tube up his nose and down his throat into his stomach to remove the contents of his stomach. He had swallowed a lot of water. He started screaming. These are good things. He cried for about twenty minutes saying over and over, "Take it out of my throat, you're hurting me, please!" I am told that the fact he was talking so quickly after was a VERY GOOD SIGN.

From there, we were transferred (again, by ambulance) to the Florida Hospital for Children (Walt Disney Pavilion) Pediatric Intensive Care Unit. Best hospital ever. By about 5pm Lucas was waking up enough to request a movie (and food which he wasn't allowed to have) and by 9pm, they had removed the NG tube and was allowed some apple juice. All miracles. 

The next morning they took him off of oxygen and he was on room air only. Around 10am they allowed him to have a bowl of Fruit Loops. By 11am, we were cleared to go home. We left the hospital at 1:05pm. About 25 hours after it all started. 

We don't know how long Lucas was underwater for or for exactly how long he had not been breathing. The doctors estimate that it could not have been more than a minute or two (too long in my opinion, obviously). My husband was at the other end of the pool when it happened. He was swimming with one of our other children. Lucas is a very adventurous kid and had been practicing underwater swimming in an area of the pool that was three feet deep. Where he could touch. He does not know how to swim by himself. He wears a floating device when we go to the pool. He had been wearing it, and took it off. My husband told him several times to put it back on, but Lucas is Lucas.

Lucas doesn't remember much about the incident. What he has said was that he was jumping up and down in the water. We think he just wandered into an area that was above his head (he's not very tall). 

Lucas was pulled from the water by Dr. Robert Kazim and his sister Dr. Debra Kazim who just happened to be 1.Staying at our resort 2. At the pool at that moment. Dr. Robert is a Pediatric Anesthesiologist. His sister is also an anesthesiologist. I am told if you want anyone in the entire hospital doing CPR on your kid, it's a ped anesth. My pediatrician started crying tears of joy when she heard. The Drs immediately started CPR on Lucas. Chest compressions, breathing, everything. They saved his life. It is estimated they did CPR for about 5 minutes when Lucas started breathing again on his own. 

I am also told that of the adults at the pool that day, over half of them were Physicians. 
My son has a host of guardian angels watching over him. Our Heavenly Father has just made it abundantly clear that my son is a very important person and that He has something special in store for him. 

I know that a lot of you who will read this are not of my faith (Latter-day Saint - Mormon) but I need to take this opportunity to bear testimony.

I know that my Heavenly Father loves me. I feel of His love every single time I look at my son. I know that He has brought my son back to me for a reason. I know that I need to be doing a better job as Lucas and ALL of my children's mother. It has been made clear to me that other things in this life are not important. Nothing is as important as these little people we are raising. I know that my greatest joy in this life and the next will come from my family and I need to be making a greater concerted effort to make them my first priority. Things don't matter. Money is unimportant. Fame, fortune: irrelevant. 

I also know that the Lord has given me the amazing gift of seeing the way His hand is working in my life. I am so grateful. I have never felt more loved. When I look in the mirror, I see myself, but I almost don't recognize myself. I look like a different person. All things in my life will be forever colored by this incident. I see things through the lens of the near-death experience of my son. No one in our family can ever be the same. 

We are different. We are better. And we are working to become people worthy of the blessings that we have ALREADY been given. 

I'm sure there are things I have forgotten, but for me the main point of all this is that MY SON IS ALIVE and GOD IS GOOD!


Jenn Nielsen said...

Wow, Alissa. Thanks for sharing your heart wrenching story with us. So horrifying, yet so many miracles! Your testimony touched me deeply as a mother and a daughter of God. Thank you, thank you, thank you for sharing it with me.

I'm SO happy that Lucas is okay!!!

Sara Lyn said...

Everything I've thought to say to you over the last few days seems so trite. I haven't been able to say anything. I'm glad he's okay. I've been praying for you.

Lucinda Douglas said...

Thanks for sharing your story Alissa! Its a good reminder to all of us of the things that matter most in life! I'm so sorry that Lucas and your family had to go through this ordeal, and so grateful that all is well. I have been thinking of you and praying for you constantly for days. I love you and I am so glad angels are watching over your family!

Whovian Gran said...

Thank you for sharing this experience and also your testimony. God bless you and your family.

La Yen said...


Also, God is amazing and I love Him and you and now I am sobbing again.

Melinda said...

Whew! You are blessed! Thank you for sharing this amazing life altering story. I especially loved your testimony. Good thing I didn't do my make up today because it'd be dripping down my face! I love your guts and am so happy this ended in a miracle.

Audrey said...

Certainly a miracle and you are right we have all grown from this heart wrenching experience. We love you all. Give all our nieces and nephews extra hugs from us!

Ali said...

So happy Lucas is doing well, and seems like he's made a full recovery! You're right about Florida Hospital's children's ward - I was visiting my friend in Orlando last fall with my family and she gave us a tour. It looked pretty amazing. So glad for your family's miracle! What an amazing testimony!

Rachelle said...

i love you. thank you for sharing. and thank goodness he is safe and alive and well!!!

Mrs Coops said...

Thanks for sharing what happened. I'm so glad Lucas came through it all just fine. Too many blessings to count... XOX

Kate said...

Amen! No doubt Heavenly Father is blessing your family and Lucas. As Matt was conducting FHE the other night I thought, what a good, righteous man! You are being blessed because of your faithfulness, and I'm sure Lucas has a lot of good to do here on earth as well.

Shae Shae Fantastica said...

SO SO SO glad about your son's recovery. I am a Florida who lives just a few miles from the amazing Florida Hospital. I attend Florida Hospital church and have many friends who work at the Children's Pavilion. I'm sorry you ever had to visit there as a patient's mother. But i am thankful to GOD that you have a happy outcome. I see drownings and near drownings all the time here in FL. Majority of the time they occur with lots of adults around the water. We get to talking---we get distracted-- and things happen! But God is on our side. Praise be to him!

Stefanie Raynes said...

I balled through that whole story! Thank you for sharing it and your testimony. I makes me want to be a better mom too!

Kayli said...

gosh I'm just SSOOO happy with the ending of this story.

Shannon Durr said...

Sister Eng! Thank you for your testimony! God is good. and I am soo happy that Lucas is alive!! I love you and your family a ton!

emily said...

Alissa. My heart is so full for you guys. What a miracle. Truly. I am overwhelmed by the reality of what has happened. Thank you for your testimony. Miracles have NOT ceased. God IS indeed good. I'm struggling to express what is deep in my heart, but just know that I love you guys and have had you in my thoughts and prayers. Love to you all!!!!!

Cheri said...

Crying. The image of you falling to your knees, of the drs working on Lucas at the pool, of the two of you at the wrong hospital, of Lucas crying out to have the tube removed. Thank you so very much for sharing. My testimony of God's love just grew again. He IS good, isn't he?!

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