The Samantha Years

Detour page 3!

Three nurses barged into the room armed with needles, monitors and catheters. Bill moved out of the way as they gathered around Sarah looking for ‘good’ veins, hooking up electrodes.

“This looks like a good one.” One nurse said examining her arm.

“Be careful, they tend to roll on these little ones.”

They pulled out their needles and began poking. Sarah cried weakly in protest. Bill held her little body, leaning over her and shhing quietly.

I was going to be sick. “I’m going to call my parents and let them know what’s going on.” I left the room taking big gulps of air. Anywhere, I wanted to be anywhere but in that room.

The air outside was cold and crisp. Slowly my head cleared. I moved between the smokers outside for a break. I hadn’t smoked in years but yearned for a cigarette. I would have to settle for the second-hand smoke in the air.

I made two calls, my parents and work. I cleared my throat and smiled through the phone. “No, everything’s fine, just a precaution. I wanted to let you know. Right….. probably won’t be in tomorrow. Can you call the Office Mart account? We can probably close them by the end of the month. Great, thanks. Yep, I’ll keep you updated. Thanks.”

My dad and stepmom said they would be down later. They were having dinner with friends. Could they bring anything? “Starbucks” I said. “Make it a venti.”

I walked back into the waiting room. It was much busier than when we arrived. Kids who weren’t as critical chased each other between the chairs, others were cradled by concerned moms, covered in blankets. A little girl coughed loudly into the air. I felt a slight sense of relief at our timing. Bill couldn’t have handled coughing kiddos….antiseptic wipes would only do so much.

I opened the door to our room. The nurses couldn’t get a vein in her arms or legs so they went for her head.

Who puts an IV in a baby’s head? I thought. Sickos. Sarah donned a bright pink gauze hat which held the needle in place. Her tiny hands waved in the air. I felt so separate from her. I had carried her for eight months, felt her move and grow. We shared the same blood system, the oxygen I breathed had fed her little body. Now they put tubes in her head, they wanted to test her blood, not mine. I watched. I felt helpless in my daughter’s fight.

“They had to get her head,” my husband said. “They pricked her little arms and legs and finally went for her head. But she fought them. Didn’t you? Yes you did.” He looked down proudly at our daughter. “You gave those nurses the what for.”

The Samantha Years


Okay, first off, Team Sammer Hammer ROCKS! The scene was a little chaotic but a big group of us managed to meet up and have a lovely walk together. We lost Amanda, Ava, and Amanda’s Mom (so sorry!). We had a brief but desperate disappearance of BoBo Baby and finshed three miles in a record breaking hour and twenty minutes! I think a good time was had by all. We had a ‘personal’ photographer (thank you Bill!) so we will be posting pictures soon! Thank you, thank you, thank you….all of you. Ya’ll are good for my soul. Thank you also to everyone who couldn’t make it but wished us well….again, good for the soul.

I truly believe we are here to learn from each other. We might need to slow down and search for the lesson but we are here to teach in our own ways. I’ve been thinking about perspective; I sometimes lack it and it seems to bite me in the hiney when I least expect it. Perspective: a technique of depicting volumes and spatial relationships on a flat surface. Are we oringinally flat surfaces? Do we find volumes within our life through our relationships? Do we have volumes to learn?

We left the Epilepsy walk hot and tired. Samantha was pretty fussy and by the time we got home she was running a fever. I did a urine test which revealed her umpeeth urine infection. We got on the phone with Children’s hospital, arranged an appointment for Monday and devised a plan to get through the night. Monday morning, a long appointment at Children’s, another round of antibiotics and back home.

My good feelings from the walk were thwarted.

And then I read Niki’s blog post.

I met Niki at the walk. She and her boys were a member of Team Hammer. They joined as a sister of a dear friend of Heidi’s. I cannot urge you enough to check her blog out. Her voice as a parent containing two boys for three miles, watching families effected with epilepsy on the walk and taking the time to be thankful for her own life and her own blessings is priceless and provides us all..well me…perspective. Check it out at

Because here’s the thing….I loose perspective. I forget how amazing it is that 1,400 people were all at the walk because they have been effected in some way by this crazy neurological disease. That these people can come out on a beautiful Sunday and enjoy the sun like everyone else. I forget what we have to be thankful for. I forget to loose myself in the preciousness of the moment. Thanks Niki, for reminding me to add a little cream to my coffee.

It’s sometimes hard to be Samantha’s mom, seizures, lack of smiles, hospitals, worry. But she has a gift to bring people together, provide a different view, by just being Samantha. And by giving people perspective, they give me perspective…we all learn from each other.

Again, thanks to you all. Here’s to finding spatial relations on a flat surface 🙂


The Samantha Years

Detour page 2!

We filed into a small room with a nurse and a computer.

“So, what’s going on with Sarah?” she asked.

“We don’t know.” I answered. I felt flustered and defensive. Sarah didn’t have any identifiable symptoms. Buggy eyes…how do you explain buggy eyes? We had been worried about Sarah for a while. I felt so relieved to be here; like we were handing her over to people who could help her.

Was it just us? Was I a neurotic mother? When should a baby make eye contact? When should a baby smile? Sarah was a month early. Did that account for anything?

I had mentioned my concern to our pediatrician at her four month appointment.
“Let’s see if she will grow out of it.” He said.

She takes an hour to finish a bottle! She spits up! She doesn’t smile or make eye contact!

“I really think something is wrong,” I said. Our doctor recommended physical therapy. I felt like he was throwing a glass of water at burning house.

Sarah was now six months old. I looked down at my daughter. She was limp and lethargic. I felt like she was getting smaller and smaller; like she would just disappear from our lives.

“She doesn’t seem right” I told the nurse at the hospital. “We were up skiing and last night she was running a temperature. She keeps shrieking, like she’s in pain. We didn’t know what to do and we were passing through Denver. I thought we could just get her checked out.” My voice sounded so nonchalant; it wasn’t me. We’re sacred to death, fix her! I wanted to shriek. But I kept my control as Bill cradled our baby and the nurse took notes.

“Let’s get a weight and a blood pressure. Then the doctor will see you.” The nurse weighed her; 11 pounds. Six months old and she weighs 11 pounds. She had lost a hard earned 8 ounces in the last couple of days.

Another nurse had entered into the room. “Hi Peanut, aww, you don’t feel well do you?” The nurse stoked Sarah’s head. She looked up in a sickly daze.

“We need to get a blood and urine sample from her.” The nurse said. I nodded. Unaware of the needles, the poking and prodding Sarah was about to endure.

My husband stood over our daughter stroking her head and whispering to her. “Shh, it’s all going to be ok. I’m so sorry. It’s all going to be ok.” Watching him cradle her was too much. He doesn’t deserve this. We don’t deserve this. I fought the nausea creeping up my throat.

The Samantha Years

You raise me up

So, I’m having a day….I really am.

Samantha has been battling with a urinary tract infection and as a result I have to cath her a couple times a day to empty her bladder properly. The whole process- an infection that won’t go away, seizures, sticking a tube up my daughter’s ‘parts’ has hit me hard.

My bad days happen every once in a while…I have a pity party, take a hot bath and have a glass of wine, rally and then I’m back for more. So, I was having my pity party and then I got on the Epilepsy website and Samantha’s team page….and I started crying…and here’s why…..

Samantha has one of the biggest teams. People I have not even met are running/walking in her name. I feel so grateful that we have this support; that Samantha is surrounded by love and people who are cheering for her.

After I viewed our roster, I clicked on her team page and viewed the list of donations….The Bloom Family, Ms. Inda, Cindy from my writer’s group and Danette..who I am looking forward to meeting, have all made donations in Samantha’s name.

I guess what I am trying to say is that your concern, your support, helps us fight the good fight and keep my pity parties limited. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

So, this Josh Groban song has been in my mind. I thought I would share because it reminds me of you all…..

When I am down and, oh my soul, so weary;
When troubles come and my heart burdened be;
Then, I am still and wait here in the silence,
Until you come and sit awhile with me.

You raise me up, so I can stand on mountains;
You raise me up, to walk on stormy seas;
I am strong, when I am on your shoulders;
You raise me up: To more than I can be.

Thanks for pulling me out of my party 🙂 See you next Sunday.


The Samantha Years

The Detour

Hi Everyone! I am starting to post snippets from my book, The Detour. Pull out your red pen and let me know what you think.

I sat in the emergency room at Children’s Hospital assessing my neighbors. Young mothers with runny-nosed toddlers, large families who didn’t speak English arguing amongst themselves…a TV in the corner droned old 80’s sitcoms. I sat down on a threadbare sofa.

“Don’t touch anything” my husband said. “Who knows what this place is crawling with.”

I looked down at my daughter. Her complexion had taken on a grey color, her eyes were wide. I had never seen eyes so wide. I could see the whites around her iris and pupils. Her head was moving back and forth against the baby carrier. Mechanically I pulled out some antiseptic wipes and laid them on the seat beside me.

“Here” I said pointing to the wipes.

“Thanks” Bill proceeded to wipe everything down in his immediate vicinity; hands, face, car seat carrier, arm rest of the chair.

“It’s not going to help” I wanted to say. “This whole place is infested with something invisible, untouchable, uncontrollable, beyond us.” I didn’t say a word but let him try and destroy the onslaught of bacteria that seemed to be seeping into our lives.

I had never felt so dirty in my life. We left the ski resort in a hurry; anxious to get Sarah down the mountain, to try and figure out what’s wrong with her, to try and fix her. I had stuffed my hair into a ski hat and pulled on yesterday’s sweater. I had a musky, unshowered smell about me and was trying desperately to remember if I had brushed my teeth.

I had smeared on a little make-up in hopes of covering up my worry. I smiled to myself at the irony….cover-up to cover-up emotion, foundation to strengthen our foundation. My shield against whatever was going on…. as long as my lipstick is refreshed, everything will be ok.

Bill handed me a Power Bar….peanut butter. It was sweet, sticky glue in my mouth. I guess I needed to eat something. I really wanted a cup of strong, hot coffee; or maybe a shot of something, a little Jack trickling down my throat, tingling my toes….ahhh self medication.

But no coffee, no Jack; just the three of us waiting with the rest. Damn.

“Samson? Sarah Samson?” The nurse called.

“That was fast.” I said to my husband.

“The benefits of good insurance.” He answered.