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.