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SALT LAKE CITY — On Wednesday, Dec. 4, Natasha Dansie was getting ready to take her 1-year-old baby in for a routine checkup when she noticed her 4-year-old son, Isaac, had a fever.
Not acting like his usual, happy self, Dansie decided to schedule an appointment for Isaac, just to check things out.
Once there, Dansie was told that Isaac had what looked like a strain of the flu virus, and that it would likely last anywhere from three to five days.
Five days came and went, and little Isaac still wasn't improving. “I just want to feel better,” he told his mother.
With that, Dansie knew something wasn't right.
That night, Isaac complained of having bad dreams; and when Dansie went in to lay beside him, she noticed that his breathing was getting worse.
In an effort to relax her son, she decided to give him a bath. Upon removing his pajamas, she saw that Isaac couldn't stand up straight, and that his abdomen had shifted significantly to one side.
"Empyema is a collection of pus in the space between the lung and the inner surface of the chest wall (pleural space).
"Empyema is usually caused by an infection that spreads from the lung. It leads to a buildup of pus in the pleural space.
"... When empyema complicates pneumonia, the risk of permanent lung damage and death goes up. Patients will need long-term treatment with antibiotics and drainage. However, most people fully recover from empyema."
Dansie quickly woke her husband, Jeff, and the two took Isaac to the emergency room.
After the completion of CT scans and X-rays, the Dansies were told that Isaac had severe pneumonia and that he would need to be transferred to Primary Children's Hospital by helicopter.
As Dansie watched the paramedics work on Isaac, she described the experience as surreal.
“This was not my child. We were not in the emergency room," she remembered thinking. "That helicopter was not here for him. We were not going to Primary Children's. He was not this sick.”
Once at Primary Children's, the doctors explained that Isaac was suffering from a pleural empyema, which is infected fluid outside of the infected lung. The pneumonia had consolidated in his left lung rendering it useless, so his right lung was working overtime.
Being connected to many monitors and tubes — one of which was a surgically placed chest tube under his arm, placed there to drain the infected fluid next to his lung — Isaac lay motionless in a near comatose state.
On her blog, Dansie wrote, “For now my life exists within the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit. I listen to doctors, residents, fellows, supervisors, infectious disease specialists, researchers, respiratory therapists, social workers, family life specialists, lab technicians, nurses and radiographers."
"I ask questions about my little man," the blog continues. "I talk to him through his muting sedation. I tell him who calls, who is praying for him, and what is going on around him. I tickle his tummy and rub his hair.”
With Christmas just around the corner, Dansie wrote about how easy it is to forget Christmastime in the ICU. When she left her home and three other children, there were no decorations up. Before all of this, the family was planing to move into their new home on Dec. 20, and had planned on decorating once they moved.
“As I see the Christmas decorations around the hospital, I am reminded that my children at home have no Christmas tree, no stockings, no wrapped gifts," Dansie wrote. "They are holding on to the hope of celebrating Christmas at the new house and want our Christmas tree there.”
Despite the severity of his situation ... I don't feel afraid. I feel comfort and I feel peace. I can feel the power of all the prayers that are being offered on our behalf.
–Natasha Dansie, mother
The Dansies live one day at a time, one prognosis at a time, and watch for little improvements in Isaac's condition.
They have received help and support from family, friends and even strangers. One such person, known only to Dansie as, “the woman in the blue sweater,” brought two sacks filled with groceries and snacks.
“I am overwhelmed by the outpouring of love and support coming from all directions," Dansie wrote. "The staff here is incredible. My family has been outstanding. People I know and people I don't know well are all offering to help in any way they can."
"Despite the severity of his situation (the doctors keep reminding me of how very sick he is), I don't feel afraid," she continued. "I feel comfort and I feel peace. I can feel the power of all the prayers that are being offered on our behalf.”
With a recent successful surgery to remove much of the infected fluid surrounding Isaac's lungs, the Dansies are hopeful that he will leave the ICU soon, and that it will not be long before he is home with his family.
Friends and family have set up a donation account* in Isaac's behalf at Wells Fargo Bank to help with medical bills.
For more information on Isaac's story and updates, visitwww.dansiefamilycircus.blogspot.com/
*ksl.com has not verified the accuracy of the information provided with respect to the account nor does ksl.com assure that the monies deposited to the account will be applied for the benefit of the persons named as beneficiaries. If you are considering a deposit to the account you should consult your own advisors and otherwise proceed at your own risk.
Arianne Brown is a mother of six who loves running the beautiful trails around Utah. For more articles by Arianne, "like" her Facebook page, follow her on Twitter @arimom5, or visit her blog, timetofititin.com. If you have a story to share, contact her at email@example.com.