Finding Rainbows in the waiting

Yesterday was a day full of drama.  Generally I hate drama, but sometimes it leads to amazing rainbows.

My mom called me at work early in the morning.  Dad was better! And the doctors talked about weaning off his oxygen and even going home for Christmas.  Two hours later I took a frantic call from her.  Dad unexpectedly went into complete respiratory failure and the staff were trying to emergently intubate him.  A decision we didn’t want to even think about yesterday.  People with severe pulmonary fibrosis do not come off ventilators easily.

I couldn’t help it, I just started to sob and ran out the door.

I don’t remember the drive, except the one thought that my dad may not survive the intubation and I was stuck in a car.  I raced into the ICU and my mom just grabbed me with a vice grip and sobbed and sobbed.  I thought my dad didn’t make it.

My poor mom.  He was alive, but the strain of making decisions that were over her head and the stress were taking a toll on her resilience.  She begged me not to leave her and we talked about having my brother come in from Iowa.  She needed her children.  But there was nothing that my brother could really do and sitting in an ICU for hours each day may not be the best use of his limited time.  I said WAIT and let’s see what happens before we ask him to come down.

My mom has never had to make her own decisions.  My dad has always been the decision maker.  So she is befuddled.  I have been telling her what questions to ask and helping her decide if we want to do the next step downhill if dad continues to roll down the drain, as we put it in the medical field.  We decided on no compressions, and continue with the intubation as long as his status stays the same or starts to improve, as this is related to the acute infection.

I dread having to watch him struggle if we decide to take him off the vent.

But God is good!  Our pastor has been an amazing source of comfort, coming daily and sometimes more.  My dad is a mentor to a neighbor of ours, who used to attend our church and fell away from attending.  As soon as he found out, he called our pastor and had a tearful conversation about returning to church, as my dad has been talking to him about how much he is missed.  My dad’s illness was the kick he needed to make this decision.

And my son has been doing amazingly well in the long-term credit recovery program. He brought all his F’s up to A’s and recovered all his lost credits this semester. I am so proud of his efforts.  He admitted to me that regular school is not where he thrives, and he needs to be in a more structured environment.

A good friend came by later in the afternoon who we have not seen for a year, and told me her son’s story, which is my son’s story.  Only she was able to send him to Teen Challenge, the drug rehab program I wanted for my son.  Her son not only completed the program but hired on as an intake counselor for Teen Challenge Detroit.  He is on fire to help others get clean and stay clean.  It gave me hope that perhaps I can get Garin into the program down here.  I wouldn’t have seen her without dad’s illness.

Sometimes God allows adversity into lives to make them better.  I choose to believe that, no matter the outcome, dad’s illness may change two people’s lives for the better.  I choose this hope.


19 comments on “Finding Rainbows in the waiting

  1. That’s the spirit! He is totally helping two people while lying in bed while so many other people help nobody while in perfect health. You have a lot going on in your life and I will pray for the best for you and your family, whatever that may be. Best wishes for a Merry Christmas!

    • Thanks Don, and my your lights not flicker and go out all season… LOL–From now on, just save the beer bottles and put a candle in them on Christmas eve and line your driveway. Much more Don-like.

      • I ended up on the roof and talked myself out of it because the second level was higher than I thought plus it was getting dark. That bottle idea is brilliant! I may go root through the recycle bin right now!

        • You will have to cut off the tops for the candle unless you want to light up the beer directly LOL….and why did I just know that you would be so excited over that?

  2. I hope for many more improvements for you and a great end to the year. In the meantime, Celebrate Christmas as best you can and wrap the family round you.
    xxx Massive Hugs Lori xxx

  3. God moves in mysterious ways Lori.
    Best wishes to you.

  4. Thinking of you. The responsibilities that come with illness like this is so difficult. When to visit, when to leave the hospital, how to counsel your mom, when to call for your brother, the list goes on. Hang in there and I’m hoping your Dad’s magic continues to work around you.

    • So so true. And on and on. You have obviously been through it. And how to keep ones job, or juggle it without seeming like you are letting it hand loose. I am very anxious over my job and keep my head on my shoulders while I am there.

      • I have been there too many times. Recently ( four weeks ago) my best friends young boy died. I am a nurse so helped mind him those last two days he came home. So I very much know the pressures of those alien decisions we have to make.
        We are lucky here in Ireland that the majority of businesses would do their best to support you during this difficult time. Are you self employed? My friend whose boy died got a call this time last year to say her son was being admitted for tests. She left work that day and has never returned. They have kept her post and said to come back when she is ready. She will be returning after Christmas.
        What pressure you must be under at the moment. I can be of no help to you but know I think you are doing so very well.
        Very best wishes to you and your family. For your Dad I wish what my friend wished for her little boy, no more suffering, what ever that might mean, recovery or not.

        • My reply got lost somehow. I figured you were a nurse, you have very wise and kind replies. Ireland is my favorite place in the world BTW. My job wants me to take off, but I have no one to take over for me for the new RN’s I am teaching. So I will carry on as best as I can. My job is my biggest stressor, having to be there but leaving whenever I need to. As you know, nursing isn’t a job one can easily just up and leave in the middle of one’s shift. I wish you a lovely holiday as well.
          I am so sorry about your friend’s loss. A child is the worst tragedy. Your friend is very fortunate to have had you help her. I am doing the best I can with my mom, but dad was our ‘go to’ guy for everything so we are stumbling around a bit. We both don’t want him to suffer, but as he is completely intact (they tried him off the vent and he roused and got agitated and they had to resume it), we feel we need to keep on for now. He seems comfortable otherwise on the anesthetic they are using to sedate him.

  5. Bless you for being able to see the angels that always accompany rough times. I’m so happy to hear that Garin is doing well! The bright ones are always the hardest ones to raise. Maybe you could do a Crowdsource to raise the funds to get him into Teen Challenge?

    • What is this miraculous croudsource? And why do you know everything?

      • It’s way of raising funds through specific websites for worthy causes. Usually it’s for organizations and nonprofits, but sometimes they will take on a case to benefit an individual with a need for funds for something very worthy.

        I do not know anything at all. It’s the Man Behind the Curtain.

        Also, the hospice docs have very kind ways of taking someone off the vent without suffering, if it comes to that. I am so very sorry that this decision is staring you in the face. I know this reply comes late, and things have likely happened one way or another, but know you have been in my thoughts. Love you.

  6. Good to hear things are going better- praise God!

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