DeKalb County
Feature Story
For about four weeks, our eight year old daughter Salem had been having a series of unexplained fevers that would go as quickly as they came. It was like taking your car to the mechanic for repairs and the mechanic not being able to find a problem because the car was running fine. Nothing would show up when we carried Salem to her pediatrician, who did a complete set of blood tests (more than once). Salem's dad brought her home from softball practice early on Thursday before Good Friday in 2004. Salem had become frustrated at practice and exclaimed, "I can't see the ball!". Between school work and it being close to Easter, we thought she was just overly tired. Her dad and I discussed it that night and decided it would be a good idea to make an appointment to have her eyes checked, "just to be safe". On Good Friday, I checked with the optometrist's office, but wasn't able to get an appointment until the next day. That night we noticed that the pupils in her eyes were almost entirely dilated. After talking to the pediatrician, we carried her to the hospital emergency room at 9 o’clock that night. After waiting over three hours, never leaving the ER waiting room, and still not seeing a doctor, we made the decision to bring Salem home. Saturday morning we made a trip to her pediatrician's office. When Salem was examined, her pupils were normal. After discussing her status, our pediatrician suggested we keep her optometrist appointment, which was in forty-five minutes. Upon arrival at the optometrist, I had to hold Salem's hand and lead her as she said she could not see. I was getting worried. After a brief examination, the optometrist discussed Salem's condition with me in private. He asked me if I thought Salem was telling the truth about what she could not see. I assured him she was. He asked that I carry her to the nearest hospital that had CT or MRI facilities. He said, "It looks like we may have to get some very important people away from their holiday weekend plans" if what he suspected was true. He wrote a long word on the back of his business card and also listed his cell phone number in case any of the doctors needed to call him. I noticed that he was calm, but in a big hurry to get us on our way. I asked him what the charges were for the visit and he replied, "There's no charge, you just get her to the hospital as soon as you can." That worried me further. I drove Salem to the emergency room of a different hospital. Her vital information was entered on the computer; she was seen by a doctor; a brief attempt at an eye exam was performed due to her lack of vision; and a CT scan performed. The result was that there was a "mass" on the back of her brain, but it was unknown if it was a tumor. The ER doctor discussed the results with Salem's pediatrician, and we agreed that Children's Hospital in Birmingham was where she needed to be for further treatment. We contacted the grandparents and friends asking that they put Salem on their prayer lists. We drove Salem to Birmingham, just imaging how long it would be before she would see a doctor on the night before Easter. We weren't familiar with the emergency parking area, so we parked in the parking deck. As we entered the hospital, I'm sure we looked exactly as frazzled and worried as we felt, while looking for signs directing to the ER. A very nice janitor asked if he could help us, and showed us the way to ER. Upon arrival the ER waiting room was packed. I signed in and looked for a chair. Before I could even sit down, Salem's name was called. As we were carried back, someone asked, "Is this the patient we've been waiting for?" In two-hour's time, X-rays, MRI, spinal tap, blood work, discussions with specialists, and sub-specialists were all completed. The doctors said they were 80% certain it wasn't a tumor. That was good news indeed, but Salem still could not see. Shortly after midnight, Salem was admitted to the special care unit. That Easter for us was different. Family came to visit Salem, as well as the doctors. Salem said later that night that it was a good Easter because she thought she had over 3,000 people praying for her. It was an adjustment with Salem's loss of sight, but she was very brave. She did not complain, but did request when I feed her meals that I tell her the name of the food that was on the fork before I put it in her mouth. Everthing was an adjustment--trying to remain upbeat for Salem's sake, trying to keep track of which specialist was examining her, why, remembering their names, repeating the symptoms to different personnel/staff, explaining a Tom & Jerry cartoon that was on TV, etc. All the while, we were praying that she would see again. On Monday afternoon she was moved to a private room. She was diagnosed with "adema", which was a swelling that had occurred in the vision area of her brain. This was causing her loss of sight; and that's what Salem called it--a loss of sight. Her best friend telephoned her on Tuesday afternoon. Her friend asked, "Salem, are you blind?" Salem replied, "No, I just can't see." I was amazed at the confidence and speed with which Salems' doctors worked. Her nurses were wonderful! One is especially dear to me, even though I don't remember his name. He gave me the answer from God that I needed concerning Salem's sight. I believe that due to the skill, knowledge, and compassion of ALL the personnel at Children's, and through the power of answered prayer by Jesus, that Salem was able to regain her eye sight. She was released from Children's on Thursday of that week with full vision in one eye and approximately 80% vision in the other. Soon after this, Salem told me that she wanted to sing "Amazing Grace" at church, because she said, "That song says 'I once was blind, but now I see', and that really happened to me." Salem is a beautiful twelve-year old now--and she can see!

Assurance that Salem was treated with compassion and that, if needed, she would receive the latest and best medical treatment available.