Hi friends. I thought I should post something here — knowing many of you have been visiting this space for a while but we might not be friends “in real life.” My life is in the middle of a very unexpected storm right now. And if you’re the praying kind, I’d appreciate your prayers.
Wednesday night, I received a phone call that my Dad had a heart attack on the way home from a ball game. The friends with him in the car noticed him making strange sounds, pulled off and began to attempt CPR. An ambulance arrived very quickly, and within moments he was on the way to one of the best heart centers in the country, and he had a pulse by the time he got there.
When HH and I arrived at the hospital, they let me see him before they took him for some initial scans. It was frightening — he looked long gone. They were beginning an intervention method called hypothermic intervention, which is sometimes successful in preventing further brain injury that may result from a cardiac arrest. They spent the next half a day trying to cool his temperature down to 33 degrees Celsius, at which point they kept it there for 24 hours. Among many, how much time his brain went without oxygen was a major concern.
They were signs of grace and hope, and I clung to every one.
Things seem less hopeful now.
He is still in the hospital and still breathing on his own, but his breathing is more rapid than what is considered normal, which can indicate brain injury. While the initial cat scans immediately following the incident looked “okay,” another scan two days later seemed to indicate a significant amount of swelling on the brain.
It is possible that his primal brain is still functioning – the part that tells you to breathe, tells your blood to pump, makes some of your reflexes do their flexing – but at the same time the things that make my Dad my Dad might be gone.
We are praying for a miracle.
We don’t know what’s going to happen.
Further tests have been and are being performed today to attempt to determine what sort of brain activity is going on. We have spent a lot of time waiting. And waiting.
An outpouring of assistance has taken care of our boys and we are very grateful. They do not know what is going on yet, and if you are in their circles in real life, I’d appreciate you not mentioning anything.
The Belle is still nursing and is not very keen on bottles. She has been with me almost constantly, with Mark’s assistance, spending her days making people (including us) smile in the lobby on the fourth floor of the CICU. What at first seemed to be a considerable difficulty (she should not go into my Dad’s hospital room, so I go back and forth) has been a gift. Her joy and charisma serve as a reminder that God is good and life will go on. She is already a place where heaven touches earth.
We are in the midst of a storm — and as it does, the grief is coming in waves. We are preparing for the worst. We are hoping for the best. We are numb and tired because this process is heart-wrenching.
I have already seen God’s grace.
Wednesday my Dad took the Bear to preschool as usual. He returned to my house to get help ordering something online. He sat by the computer and bounced Arabella in his lap while I placed the order. She laughed and smiled and cooed with delight. The Tank batted his flirtatious lashes and generally just added to the joy of the moment. As he left to get on with his day, I remember an incredible (and slightly unusual) sense of joy and peace. As if my heart would nearly burst with thankfulness.
I look back on the reasons we left South Africa — the challenges, the hurts and difficulties — and they make so much sense now, because they led me back to my own hometown, where I had almost 18 months of wonderful I didn’t know I needed. Almost a year and a half of time with my Dad, seeing and holding his grandkids all the time. Enjoying Taco Tuesdays and waving as the Bear left with Gpa for preschool or a ballgame.
In those eighteen months are more gifts than I could count.
I still pray for the best. I still hope against all odds.
But I’m thankful to say I have gratefulness in my heart. I often told my Dad I loved him. Often. I did my best to show it, and he knew that.
Friends, do me one favor today. Maybe two. First, please pray for us in the middle of this storm. We don’t know how long the storm will last or what will be on the other side. It is a hard place. My brother and sister are here. There is the potential that very big decisions could fall in our hands. We are heartbroken. Second, call that person you know you should call as soon as you finish reading this sentence. Or those people. Say you’re sorry if you need to. Say I forgive you if you need to. Life can change with every breath we take.
God’s Word is full of good promises, but tomorrow is not one of them.
With Love, from here,