Thursday, October 13, 2016, Courtenay began having severe back pain necessitating a trip to the ER. Although she was seen and treated for acute pain things turned downhill and ending up with a call to 911 & an ambulance ride to Vanderbilt Hospital’s ER. It appeared that the problem was something medical and the back pain was just an initial symptom. She's was on strong pain meds but didn’t get relief. Anyone that knows her knows how tough she is can imagine how concerning the situation was. We prayed for relief from the pain and wisdom for her medical team which included Vanderbilt’s finest in neurology, surgery, rheumatology and infectious disease departments.
By 9:01 Friday morning, the 14th, Courtenay had been admitted to Critical Care Unit and diagnosed with acute bacterial meningitis which was quickly ravaging her body.
Her brain was swelling and emergency surgery was done to relieve cranial pressure. At that point Bill called their son William, (who works 30 minutes from the hospital) to tell him to come right away for a chance to say goodbye. He then called John Gilbert in Dallas and asked him to coordinate getting Emily (working in Dallas) and Caroline (visiting Emily - it was Baylor’s homecoming) home from Dallas and Grant home from Waco (thanks also to Kevin Keathley for driving Grant up from Baylor to catch his flight). We were very concerned that Grant would not make it home in time to say goodbye. Courtenay’s parents had driven all night from Arkansas, her brothers were on their way. Many separate logistical details needed to go right to get family home and one by one they did.
Friends gathered in the waiting room and listened carefully to Courtenay’s prognosis from the doctor. After the doctor’s excellent explanation of the medical facts, Dr. took in a silent, shell-shocked group of grieving people trying desperately to comprehend what all her words meant. Dr. took a breath and summarized:
“It will take a miracle. We need a miracle.”
No SOONER did those words leave her mouth than did an audible and physical shift happen in that room. Immediately, immediately someone chuckled, someone else let out a “pshaw”, someone else said, “That’s it? That’s what we need? Well, we know THAT can happen. We can ask for THAT!” It was slightly humorous, and deadly serious. All of us have had numerous, first-hand, eye-witness accounts to miracles. It's said that the opposite of faith is certainty. We weren't certain of the outcome, but we were certain of Whom to ask and Whom would listen. Hands were clasped, heads were bowed, a prayer was plead that the Lord would allow Courtenay to stay here with us.
And she will!
Time is past the point of worrying about survival, but there are a host of unknowns, primarily related to delirium and use of her legs. There is no way, at this point, to know if these issues are temporary or permanent but we're going to continue to be blessed by Courtenay's presence in our lives.
Tears of fear and grief have become tears of joy and thanksgiving.
Her body has been keenly, painfully and restlessly fighting this infection and the news today is that there is NO MORE INFECTION.
Thank you for the outpouring of love & support for Courtenay Green Decker. Sometimes when she's awake, Bill will read your comments to her. She seems to get encouragement and strength from knowing that so many people care about her and are lifting her up.
On her medical team's advice, access to her CCU room is only for family. Rest is one of the tools in her arsenal. She needs quiet and calm.
Feeling in her legs
All support staff at Vanderbilt
The doctors and nurses (their bright minds have solved many puzzles)
The kids (who are well and back to their places)
Bill for continued wisdom, courage and health, rest of body, mind and soul