Thank God I Don’t Look Like What I’ve Been Through!

image  I just saw this title on someone’s facebook post and thought it quite appropriate – so I used it.  I wish I could give credit to whoever wrote it.  To the author, thank you for the perfect words to describe this day!

Once again I find myself sitting in the emergency room, this time with my dad.  What started as a day with a scheduled surgery turned into a night of angst.  Let me start at the beginning.

Surgery for Dad was scheduled for noon.  We arrived at 10 a.m. as instructed.  He went into the pre op and waited.  And waited.  And waited.  At 1:30 we were finally informed that the first patient took way more time than anticipated and there would be about an hour and a half further delay while patient number two was in surgery.  Dad was patient number three.  Finally at 3:30 p.m. he was wheeled away.

Mom and I waited.  We went to the cafeteria and had a surprisingly good lunch.  We returned to the waiting area and waited some more.  Finally at 6 p.m. The doctor came and told us he was out and things had gone well.  He’d be ready to leave in about an hour we were told.  Shortly after 7 p.m. we were on our way home despite the fact that dad was still talking a bit of loopiness from the anesthesia.

My husband met us at the house to help maneuver Dad out of the car and into his bed. Mind you the distance from car to bed is approximately 25 feet.  With husband on one arm and me on the other, we slowly got to within 6 feet of Dad’s bed when he suddenly stopped taking steps.  Both my husband and I were questioning why he stopped.  No answer.  “Dad?  Dad?” I asked.  No response.  And then his legs buckled and down he went.

I am so grateful for my husband’s 25 years in the fire service.  He methodically helped get Dad off his knees and lying flat on the floor of the hallway.  My Mom and I stood dumbfounded as Dad was laid out flat by my husband, and immediately we noticed the ashen look of Dad’s face.  My husband reported that Dad wasn’t breathing.  I immediately jumped to the phone stand in the hall and dialed 911.  As hubby took Dad’s pulse, he initially reported no pulse to be found.  As you can well imagine, for a few tense moments, my heart seemed to stop.  My Mom cried out.  My husband was about ready to begin CPR when Dad took a breath.

Now I was answering questions by the dispatcher, and interpreting between dispatch and my husband.  Those two or three minutes seemed like an hour.  Dad aroused enough to answer our prompts of “where are you?” and “can you hear us?”.  Paramedics arrived in probably three minutes.  Assessments were made.  They attempted to have Dad sit up and he passed out again.  Now he was rolled onto a cloth carrier and removed to the gurney outside, loaded into the ambulance and returned to the hospital we’d left only a short time before.

Mom, my husband and I came back to the hospital.  The stress of the day was taking its toll on Mom; while she wanted to be with Dad, I could tell by the tell-tale flush in her cheeks that she was running on empty.  An hour later we convinced her that she needed to go home and rest and I would stay with Dad at emergency.  Reluctantly she allowed me to drive her home with the promise that if anything were to come up I would call her.

Now it is 1 a.m.  Dad’s color is back to his normal ruddy complexion.  He’s talking more normal conversation, so much so I just encouraged him to relax and try to sleep because I’m getting a little punchy.  Once again I’ve watched many folks performing their jobs: firemen, paramedics, and emergency personnel all doing what they’ve been trained to do, quickly and efficiently.  Everyone has been kind and as attentive as they could be given a packed emergency room tonight.

All is quiet.  The nurse has pulled the door shut and turned the lights off so Dad and I might get some rest.  I don’t really know how much rest I’ll get sitting in a chair tonight.  I feel a bit like the proverbial camel trying to be fed through an eye of a needle.  But I’m grateful for my loving Father in heaven who is comforting me through a very tough and emotional day and, for allowing me to have some more time with my Dad here on earth.

Thank you God that we don’t look like what we’ve been through today!  In reality it’s but a glitch in our human journey.  Later today, after a nap I’m pretty sure, the day will look a lot brighter.  Tonight however, I’m just happy to be here with my Dad.

A Night In the Emergency Room

imageEmergency rooms at 3:00 a.m. are  interesting places.  As I sit here with my mother, I’m in the perfect spot to observe. Mom is quiet and stable, thank you so much Lord.  We came because she had a shooting pain in her head and dizziness.  All this after my dad was discharged from the hospital earlier this week.  Mom, being the caregiver, was so concerned to have to wake us and for me to bring her here.  My husband is at home with dad.   In a short time, as the minutes have turned into a couple of hours now, I’ll have to perhaps leave her here to run back to their house, collect my dad and get him to his post op appointment.  Mom worries about such inconveniences as this for me. How can I assure her that I’m just grateful I am here?

We’ve seen a lab tech, a tech who ran the CAT scan (ruling out stroke or bleeding of which there was none), a nurse who has cheerfully attended to everything from bathroom locations to warm blankets, the ER physician, and a tech to run an IV setup for fluids.  The diagnosis?  Unsure but possibly a sinus condition causing equilibrium issues.  Oh Lord, you are so kind and caring!

All these people have been smiling and kind and done their various jobs quickly and professionally.  I am so grateful for folks who turn their lives upside down in order to man emergency rooms in the middle of the night when I need them.  Mom is resting for a few minutes now, the intensity of earlier moments waning.  I’m not so sure my dad is as relaxed yet but he will be as soon as we get home and he sees his bride of 67 years again, safe and sound.

This has been a good week with my parents.  To be here with them, especially during times of stress, has been a bit tense but, at the same time gratifying, knowing I’ve been here to help them ease the issues.  Do I like it they have to be in distress right now?  Of course not.  However, being here is loads better than sitting at home, 500 miles away and hearing about such dramas secondhand.

This is is a hard time for all of us.  My parents have been, thankfully, fiercely independent for 89 and 88 years.  We’ve lived away from them for almost 40 years and so our lives are equally independent.  I suspect we’re going to have to learn to be more dependent on each other now.  At any rate, God has been good to us all.

We are home again.  The emergency room has been left behind, everyone is breathing easier again.  The sun is up and the birds are singing.  It’s another new day Lord and I thank you for helping us through a trying night.  Lord, you are so faithful to us.  Now off to the doctor visit with dad.  Thanks Lord for all your provisions!