Sunday, December 16, 2012

Jesus with skin on

9:31 p.m. Today's project was to check on my husband Steve's condition before going to church, and then to visit him afterwards.

Last night in the ER was fairly scary, because Steve was trying to breathe through his mouth, despite oxygen going directly into his nose. He was choking and gasping on the thick greenish-grey gunk that was in his lungs, but could not cough it up. The nurse told me, "You and I would understand what it means to cough up and spit out our phlegm, but he just coughs and it stays in his throat." The attending doctor added a second, stronger antibiotic than what was prescribed by the urgent care doctor on Wednesday night. That worked fine for a couple of days, but by yesterday morning, the heavy phlegm was back.

As a very long day wore on, my daughter Heather and her husband Nick (our Loves) came over to the hospital, and fetched me some fried zucchini and ranch dressing from Carl's Jr. along with their dinner. Heather took over for me in rubbing her dad's shoulder and calming him down, so he'd stop the jerky attempts to sit up every few minutes. For an expectant mother she was showing quite a bit of stamina!

The reason the three of us were tired, and on our second wind, actually, was that I had been up since 3 a.m, and they by 4, to get hundreds of household items organized and laid out for our house garage sale. They arrived here at the house a little after 5, and their friend from Small Group and his older two boys joined us in the bone-chilling cold about an hour later. (below, that's Nick inside the garage and Heather completing a sale). Proverbs 27:10 (KJV) says,

Better is a neighbor who is near than a brother who is far off.


Of course, the best of both worlds is to have family nearby! Nick has spent weeks clearing out rooms, and even the incredibly packed garage, and then sorting and arranging saleable items. I've provided some resistance, because certain items from the kids' baby, little tyke and even teen stages all reminded me of precious times in raising them. So I did "rescue" (to use Nick's term) some items.
The Loves were doing a great job, so I was able to display my Mary Kay holiday fragrance line at a boutique in an upscale consignment store in our neighborhood for a few hours, from 11-1 p.m. It was a very enjoyable time with co-vendors showing jewelry. The call from Raincross where Steve lives came about 12:00 p.m., as I was wrapping up my boutique. The gunk had made it hard for Steve to eat his breakfast, and was choking him, so their on-site doctor called for transportation to the ER. I headed down there after I returned home, unpacked inventory from my Jeep, and ate a filling lunch, preparing against a late night when I'd need plenty of energy and focus! The leftover items from the sale were to be picked up by a charity at 5 p.m.
I felt somewhat guilty for not only completing my business commitment, but going home to put all in order before heading to the hospital.  Steve was in good hands, and would not be served well emotionally by my running down there distraught, with thousands of dollars' worth of inventory and open packaged gifts in the Jeep, no plan for wrapping up the garage sale, and shaking from sleepiness and hunger!  The great book of Proverbs again guided my choice to proceed prudently, Chapter 24:3-4:
Through wisdom a house is built,
And by understanding it is
By knowledge the rooms are filled
with all precious and pleasant
Then verse 27 just popped out at me:
Prepare your outside work,
Make it fit for yourself in the
And afterward build your house.
Thank you, Lord, for both wisdom and the ability to apply it! 
The night ended with Steve being admitted, and distressing comments from the admitting doctor that my husband was going to be choking and unable to eat from now on, that he'd aspirate any food into his lungs, and needed to be placed on hospice--that Steve is at the end. He prescribed hospice as Steve was moved into his room and a meeting was set for today at 3 p.m.
I came home, to discover the Loves were back, the dogs were crated and covered up, and the two were making gingerbread (Nick) and resting while watching a classic movie (Heather). They truly had been "Jesus with skin on" to me!
The night was spent pondering final arrangements for Steve--was this truly the end?? Apparently not, because God was answering the prayers of scores of friends! This morning when I called, his nurse told me that Steve had slept the night, and was receiving his breathing treatments and they had been suctioning out his phlegm. He was settled nicely in his bed.
At church, out in the foyer during the sermon, God had another of His servants meet my needs. Richard, a long-time usher and close friend of Steve's, spoke life giving scripture to me. He also shared about the times he had been able to encourage Steve despite his fear of contracting Alzheimer's; prayed with him; and the times they spent good, close time together at Men's Retreats and Men's Bible study. The Holy Spirit was truly speaking to me through Richard. He'll be working in the area of the hospital tomorrow morning and plans to go visit Steve.
At my after-church visit, Steve's temperature went down one degree just from the nurse's application of cool washcloths and ice packs place in his armpits. It seemed his coughing was less gurgly. I spent quite a while speaking with Charter Hospice, and they can work very comfortably at Raincross like they do with about 10 other residents. I do appreciate their wide repertoire of services offered. But the doctor who now attends Steve says it's too soon for Hospice. And after an evaluation of his swallowing ability is performed tomorrow, Steve could very well be going back to his residence, where an hospital bed is being ordered for him. I am so praying for Steve to make it through this valley, and return to physical normalcy!!  God may choose to heal him completely--and I have all faith that God does and is able to heal today!!
He may allow medical means to solve the complicated issues of Steve's mind, or He may heal by the agency of the Holy Spirit, but either way, Jesus is able!! Whether He chooses to heal Steve or take Him home, I will praise God with Isaiah, Chapter 25:1:
O LORD, You are my God.
I will exalt You,
I will praise Your name,
For You have done wonderful
Your counsels of old are
 faithfulness and truth.

1 comment:

  1. Very busy and dramatic days. Glad for all the help you have received and wisdom from Scripture. I also hope that Hospice is not needed yet.

    Hugs and prayers,