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Karen Lynn Vidra, The Texas Tornado

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A Family Made Out Of Miracles And Rainbows (Part Two)
By Karen Lynn Vidra, The Texas Tornado
Friday, November 30, 2007

Rated "G" by the Author.

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The continuation of the Sandusky Family Saga. Bad news strikes the family; things soon look dark for the Sanduskys.


Chapter Two~

I. More Bad News, More Heartache:

When the doctors told us that Johnny had an incurable disease that was fatal, we cried. We were devastated. This was the stuff of nightmares; we didn't think it could happen to us again; we'd already lost our three birth children prematurely to death; we were tired of grieving for yet another life lost.

Yet we were determined to make Johnny's time with us memorable. We planned on giving him everything he needed, wanted, we planned on giving him the best life possible.

Luckily, back then, Johnny was too young to understand the seriousness of the implications of his disease. He was too busy learning about the world around him.

Meanwhile, we had our struggles with Ronee'. Every little thing seemed to set her asthma off (by now she had been diagnosed). We treated her asthma with inhalers and medicine, in the hope that it'd open up clogged lungs. It scared us to hear her wheezing or gasping for air.

Sometimes her attacks of asthma were so bad she'd have to go to the emergency room at the local hospital, where doctors could give her oxygen and a shot to help open up her bronchial tubes. It was always terrifying to hear Ronee' sounding like she was dying, especially during the middle of the night.

Unlike Johnny, who was a bright, happy boy, Ronee' was a cranky, miserable child. I guess it was because she didn't feel good a lot of the time; she didn't know how to express herself, so she cried. Or fussed. It was hard dealing with her at times.

Little did we know of the emergency crises that would soon envelop our happy little household.

II. An Easter Tragedy, Johnny Falls Desperately Ill:

We thought our family would be happy. We thought our problems were behind us once we got the right combination of medications for our ailing children. They seemed to be thriving, growing, enjoying life.

However, on Easter Sunday, 1994, when the children were a little over a year old, tragedy struck yet again. They (Johnny and Ronee') were on their way to Sunday school classes, on the church bus, when they were involved in a horrific crash between the bus and a pick up truck.  Four children, and both drivers, died as a result.  Traffic was snarled for hours.

We had no idea that Johnny and Ronee' were on that bus until we got a phone call. It was the police calling. They were calling to inform us that our children  had been involved in a motor vehicle accident, and that while one appeared to emerge unscathed (Johnny; that was nothing short of a miracle), the other (Ronee') was clearly fighting for life.

Ronee' had been thrown from her seat into the side of the bus on impact. She was instantly knocked out, suffered horrible internal/external injuries. She was in the emergency room at Nashville Memorial Hospital, getting swift medical care. According to reports from the paramedics on scene and from the ER, things did not look good: Ronee' was not responding to but the deepest of pain stimuli; she appeared to be comatose.


Meanwhile, while all this was going on, Johnny was in the emergency room as well, but he appeared to be okay. He was, however, scared. When he saw us, his mommy and daddy, he cried like there was no tomorrow; we cried as we took the shaking, sobbing little boy into our arms. Other than a bump on his forehead, Johnny appeared to be unhurt, which was nothing short of a miracle in our eyes.

We were also crying because our other child lay in a possible coma; there was no telling as to whether she would ever emerge from the coma; if she did, she'd more than likely be severely brain damaged or disabled.
It was probably one of the worst times we could ever face as parents.

For three long months, we went back to the hospital every day to see Ronee'. There was no change. Only the beeps/hums/hisses from machines told us that our daughter was alive, but she was barely hanging on. Tubes were attached to her everywhere; she appeared to be sleeping. She looked rather peaceful.

Her injuries eventually healed, but it was still unknown at this time whether she would awaken.

While at home, we took care of Johnny, tried to give him lots of love and attention; we tried to be positive about Ronee', but at the same time we fretted: what if something were to happen to Johnny as well? We'd never live it down; it would break our hearts if something did happen to him.

Unfortunately, that something did happen. Johnny woke up one morning with a cold. He woke us up with his crying. He sounded congested, miserable. When I went to turn on the overhead light, so as to check in on him, Johnny screamed out in pain, then went into a horrible, head-to-toe seizure.

It scared me. My screams brought Bill running. He took one look at my face, then looked at our now-seizing little son, and he knew at once of the seriousness of the situation.

We immediately called for an ambulance.

When the paramedics came, they popped Johnny onto a waiting stretcher; they soon had him in the back of the waiting ambulance, where they then rushed him to the nearest hospital. All this time, Johnny continued to suffer from seizures.

He was burning up with a very high fever.

III. More Uncertainty, Long, Dark Days Ahead!:

Johnny was seen in the emergency room, then admitted. It soon became apparent just how sick the little guy really was. He had a fever of 106.3 degrees, which is alarmingly high for any human being, but particularly dangerous for such a young toddler: he still continued to seize off and on despite several different anti-convulsant medications.

Now a new alarming symptom had emerged: tiny, pinprick-sized purple-red dots erupted over his entire body, and he appeared to be in a comatose state. He did not respond to any commands, any painful stimuli.

He just lay there, unmoving, unaware of what was happening to him, what was going on around him. He appeared more dead than alive. When doctors examined him, tended to him, all they could do was shake their heads in disbelief; they were ready to write Johnny off as a future death.

They held no hope for our desperately sick little son.

The diagnosis: a sudden strain of  virulent bacterial meningitis, a meningitis that had an incredibly death rate within hours of first onset, and if the child did survive, it would be a miracle.

More than likely, if he did recover, Johnny would end up being blind, deaf, mute, brain damaged, being nothing more than a little vegetable with no hope for a normal life: he would always need 24-hour custodial care.

It was much worse than we could ever imagine. Suddenly our world turned as black as pitch. We had two children, but for how long: that was the question that pressed most often on our tortured minds. Currently, they were both very close to death.

~End of part Two.~     

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Reviewed by Michelle Kidwell Power In The Pen 12/1/2007
Another heartwrenching story
God Bless
Reviewed by Georg Mateos 12/1/2007
Sad events piling up...and so near of Christmas, and then the little miracles appear and the hopes of "that" rainbow.
Hope that angels are there to carry the burden.
Reviewed by Carole Mathys 11/30/2007
A very difficult time for the family...just so sad!
love and peace, Carole~
Reviewed by E T Waldron 11/30/2007
A very sad time for the family and such grief to bear when all seems at its darkest. Excellent writing Karen!We're all looking forward to the good news to come!;-)

Reviewed by Sandie May Angel-Joyce 11/30/2007
Aaaaawwwww!!!!!! This is just too sad indeed!!!!!

SandieMay :o(
Reviewed by Karla Dorman, The StormSpinner 11/30/2007
Tragedy on top of tragedy...let's hope things improve for the Sandusky children...well done. You take us into their fragile beginnings and have us wishing for good things to happen.

(((HUGS))) and love, Karla.

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