Life changes so quickly. Count your blessings as they come! My day began in quiet time and prayer as it does every day, usually before the sun rises. Today’s prayer time, like the last 10 days was wrapped in David. Wilson and I had plans for the day; he was preparing for folks who would come help cut wood for our burner and I to go to work and get a few things caught up in the solitude. Soon it became apparent that I may need to rethink my plans.
Our first blessing of the day came from Appomattox Courthouse with a small but mighty carpenter. How ironic that a carpenter would be our first guest of the day! This carpenter came bearing a truckload of cut, split and seasoned wood so beautiful to the eye! As he loaded it into our storage trailer, I prepared to go out and help him. By the time I got out to him, he had completed his deed. We spent a moment reflecting on the past, the situation before us and his past encounter with sickness of great magnitude. Telling him of my desperation at seeing my husband with a ventilator, tubes, hoses, and machines beeping and blinking, he mentioned his wife wouldn’t be strong enough for something like this. He doesn’t want to be hooked up to all of this.
With tears in my eyes, I shared my own heartache and reminded him how strong we can all be. We each say things that we don’t necessarily “qualify” in life. What does “hooked up to all of this” really mean? As I look at David and struggle with his wishes of not being hooked up to all kinds of machines, etc., I begin to doubt myself and my decisions. Then I have to toil with reality and common sense. I explained to my sweet friend that we MUST prepare our loved ones for decisions that we hope we never have to make, but may in a split second have to make.
My common sense has told me that David had no damage to his brain during his massive heart attack because he was right there on the Emergency Room bed, already IV’d and the team revived him quickly. His lungs need to heal. He is in a mainly sedated state for his own good to allow his lungs to heal in preparation for a cracked sternum and the healing that must take place after multiple bypasses are performed. Being alert only caused everyone heartache as David fought the tubes and one can only imagine the discomfort that accompanies such apparatus. He begged me to help and get rid of the tubes. He may be very angry with me for what is transpiring at this moment, if he even remembers this time. In the end my prayer is that he will forgive me and maybe even thank me one day.
My sweet carpenter friend recently survived throat cancer and I asked, “How did your wife handle that?” He said “she was a trooper.” Then why would you assume she could never go through something like this? Give her credit my dear, she is a strong woman and God will guide her, give her peace and protect her, just as He is me. Prepare your loved ones and give them credit. Be their partner and share the financial, health, life insurance, possible means of staying afloat, where and how to seek help in times of great need. Preparing your loved ones daily in small, subtle ways is easier than the split second future they may be forced to face one day.
As he left, another friend arrived to help our son drag, cut and split wood. Together this friend and my son worked in harmony, two lone souls sharing, working, fellowshipping, and gathering. Soon after a nephew arrived and together the three had put up almost two full cords of wood in just under three hours. My youngest, the determined one, eager to make dad proud of him went to search for more wood to cut. Finding two more trees, he and the friend set out to cut and pull them in to complete the two cords for the day goal. Soon a neighbor arrived to fellowship and cut as well, giving us even more blessing from God.
Our blessings have just kept coming today! Around 3:00 I made my afternoon call to the hospital. The nurse gave the usual “no change” and then by some miracle, she began explaining some of the things going on today and how no viral infection was found in his culture today, his fever is about the same, up and down but not over 100. And the revealing moment, the one I prayed for all night and all day; “We reduced his oxygen down to 70% and he seems to be tolerating it well.” What? Yesterday you tried this and he wasn’t tolerating it well. Today? 70%…I’ll take it! With that I danced a happy dance right where I was standing.
This sign from God meant that the Angels were doing their job and they were continuing to breathe gently into David’s lungs as they stand guard around him, increasing his ability to breathe on his own without struggle. Tonight I will sleep better knowing the Angels are gently healing and filling his lungs!
Our oldest who is in the Air Force in New Mexico called shortly after my hospital call. For the first time since David’s heart attack we really had a moment to chat uninterrupted. It is clear that he is worried, in disbelief and struck just as we are. I have kept him at bay right now from coming right home. He already had plans to come home at a later date and for now, we will keep that date. I know it must be hard on him being there and wishing he were here. He will be here in due time. We caught up for a few minutes and then bid our goodbyes.
So much has happened since our oldest was last home. His dearly loved grandmother had a sudden stroke in late October. She will finally be released from the rehabilitation center this coming week. His visit home will be a strange one indeed. His grandmother will be altered from his last vision of her. His stepfather will be altered and everything he knew when he left will be changed, except for the scenery. I pray for him as he processes what he will face when he gets “home” with mixed emotions and a coming of age of sorts.
As quickly as these moments come, so do the moments of sorrow and sadness. A gripping and helpless feeling that overwhelms you to your core. As the day wrapped up, the friend, nephew and neighbor left, Wilson and I were left to our own. We tidied up the projects of the day and just before sunset we gathered in our favorite home spot – the kitchen.
This kitchen has been the hub of our lives since we built this house. We have shared birthdays, Halloween Parties, Christmas Gatherings, celebrated graduations, talked with friends and shared deep family conversations of silliness and faith, politics and pride. As we reviewed the events of the day we both admitted that it had been a good day, but at one point we both found ourselves hit rock bottom.
Rock bottom rears its ugly head at the most unexpected times when you are going through a life altering event. I have always told my children to share their emotions and talking gets us through the tough times. I have admitted my lifelong fears to my youngest son in this kitchen this very week. Today, we both shared how at one point the situation overtook us, heart and soul. If you don’t openly talk about real life and your deepest feelings with your children, try it! The older they get, the better they understand and can cope with the bad things that happen here on earth. My kids are my strength, pride and joy on these types of days. David and I have always spoken openly to our children from a very young age about finance, relationships, family, friendships, disappointments, business, community and faith.
This blog serves as a journal for me to express what I am going through and how I feel. It shares how I am coping, or not coping. It also serves as a journal of David’s situation and recovery for him to see in the future should he have questions that in time the answers may fade from our memories as we move on to greater accomplishments and healing with him. The tears have not flowed today, but there is still time left in the day. They creep up randomly and I have learned to just let them flow and I feel better. As David heals and becomes stronger, goes through surgery and begins the long road to recovery, he will be able to see and read what has been reported and treatments done and how he has impacted so many. We want David to know the depths of our hearts, our steadfast faith that gets us through and the strong faith that will bring him through in time as well.
If you or a loved one are suffering as we are, share this blog and follow along. I’m not literary scholar and my Language Teacher, Mrs. Debbie Reynolds would cringe at the randomness of my thoughts, but they are mine, ours and yours to use for healing, understanding and edification.
Today I have gone back to the beginning of the Book of Jeremiah and began to reread the story that comes before the beloved verse that I stand firm on and founded my consulting company on. The turmoil that is going on in society, God’s anger with His people for their desertion of Him are the ugliness that leads us to the verse of Hope and a Plan for our lives. Take a minute to join me in Jeremiah 1 and 2. Does it remind you of our world’s current situation any? Have we abandoned God to worship other “idols” and gods that produce no saving grace and no protection. I urge you to return to the faith, strengthen your faith or reach out to discover God. Discover peace and joy!
Jeremiah is a deep Book of the Bible that is a gripping story on how easily we get distracted in life and forget where we have been and the ever present God that looks over us. It is in times of great strife that many turn back to God with heavy hearts. Don’t let that be your lot. God wants you to turn to Him daily and to Praise Him in the good times and the bad. Stay close, speak little, and listen to His direction. He is the way!
Our prayers for Sunday include praying David gains strength as his sedation levels are slightly lowered and that the Angels standing guard over him in his room are gently breathing God’s healing warmth and oxygen into his lungs that he may increase his own breathing capacity to get off the ventilation tube and the sedation drugs and begin the road to strengthening in preparation for bypass surgery. Our human minds and hearts want instant gratification, but the true reality is “Slow and steady wins the race.” God Bless you and yours today! Thank you for caring about David and our family and for following along!