“As we discussed, we found lesions on his liver when we did the CT scan,” the doctor said bluntly as he talked with us beside my father’s hospital bed. “We need to check these out and make sure they aren’t cancer which is why we have ordered the MRI. We are just waiting for a spot to open up in their schedule.”
My heart started racing. His liver?? Lesions? More cancer??
Wait? What CT scan? We’ve been here everyday for two weeks and no one mentioned a CT scan. What’s going on?!
The doctor turned away from us and started tapping on the keyboard of the room’s computer. Using the mouse he scrolled down my father’s chart.
“Oh, I’m so sorry,” he hurriedly spoke. “I was thinking of a different patient. It’s not him. There are no lesions on his liver.”
A few more words and he walked out of the room, leaving my body coarsing with adrenaline over the unexpected mistake. I quickly recovered and turned to my dad, thankful for his continued progress, but feeling sad for the unknown patient.
Today is New Year’s Eve. For four years I have met you here every single night, but this past year has been particularly challenging. From quitting my job, through our big move, homeschooling, and this difficult journey with my father, you have been a source of encouragement to me and my family. You have sent us notes, called us, prayed with and for us, made us meals, watched our kids, and reminded us the importance of community and of the body of Christ, and for that we are incredibly grateful, so thank you!
Every day my father seems to get a little better. There aren’t any huge milestones being met, but rather little victories that add together to make progress. Each day I walk in hoping for more and I feel the pang of disappointment. It’s in those moments that I pause and reevaluate my expectations, and I align them with our current reality. We have long past the point of a completely happy ending… He isn’t going to hop out of the hospital bed and come straight home. If and when my dad recovers, we have to face the fact he will need to learn to walk… again. He has lost more weight. He is more frail. And even so, I love him more dearly and his recovery seems no burden whatsoever. I’m starting to adjust to his clean shaven face, even as the whiskers are beginning to surface. He doesn’t seem bothered by the change, so that is a good thing.
Today is my husband’s birthday and I am thankful for this man God brought into my life so many years ago. He’s a wonderful husband and an amazing father. Happy Birthday, Tim!
I’m not even sure what to write tonight. My thoughts are jumbled and my emotions are all over the place. My visit with Dad today went pretty well. Compared to a few days ago, he has made great strides, but there are a lot of unanswered questions and no solid answers as to the near future, so I guess we are in a holding pattern. It’s a difficult place to be, and it’s easy to get anxious and unsettled. I find myself daily having to relinquish control and choosing to trust God through a situation I can’t understand, I can’t see the end of, and I can not fix myself.
This evening Tim gave me a much needed break by taking the kids to the shop and working on the long expected bunk bed. I came home, watched a movie, took a long bath, and spent time with a book. After two weeks of difficult hospital visits, it was nice to have alone time.
When I stepped into my father’s hospital room this afternoon I paused. For a brief moment I thought I was in the wrong room. I glanced around and everything seemed in order, but I knew something was off. As I set down my things and turned to look at my dad it hit me, he didn’t really look like himself.
His face had been shaved.
I’ve only ever seen my father with facial hair, whether it was just a mustache or a full goatee. The pictures from my parents’ wedding and a few from my very early childhood show him clean-shaven, but I have no memory of it.
I cornered someone and asked them what happened and they said the nurse asked him if he wanted a shave and he said yes and fell promptly to sleep, so they went ahead and shaved him. He hasn’t been making too many decisions lately, so the fact that they decided to do that without consulting anyone was infuriating.
It may sound silly or trifle, but it hurt us deeply. With everything we have been through over the past few months, and as uncertain as the waters are that we now tread, we want to be able to stare into and talk to a familiar face. It felt like a violation, a punch to the gut, they had crossed a line.
As sad as I am about it, I know I’ll adjust and hopefully soon I’ll get used to it. I love spending time with him and I’m grateful for every minute we get together.
Thank you for your continued prayers. We could really use them. ❤️
Today was the first time in nearly two weeks that I left the hospital with a smile on my face. My dad made significant improvements overnight and by the time we got there this morning he was watching TV and remarkably chatty. His condition is still pretty serious, but to see such a change made me incredibly happy! I’m looking forward to tomorrow for the first time in weeks. ♥️♥️
The hospital was bustling today, having awakened from it’s drowsy holiday weekend. My mother took up residence on a chair next to my father. She held his hand and talked to him, giving him sips of water when he would accept them. This is what forty one years of marriage looks like, both heart wrenching and beautiful. As children, we grow up believing our parents are invincible, but as we get older we can’t deny that they are getting older too. And one day you look up and you realize life’s terms have changed, the ground has shifted beneath you, and the hard decisions and the sleepless nights now belong to you.
Two doors down from my father’s room, the patient coded. There were alarms and an announcement as the hallway was flooded with doctors and nurses rushing toward that room. They were too late. The patient was gone. The wails of anguish from the family filtered down the hall and into dad’s room. The sounds of their grief lingered the rest of the day. Life is a delicate business.
Big E asked me this morning if GP was going to die. It was a hard question to hear, and a harder one to answer. “I don’t know,” I replied. “This time, he might.” The tears welled up in Big E’s eyes as he stared at me. “What if he does die?” I continued. “What happens to him then?” Big E thought for a moment and said, “He will get to go to heaven and be with Jesus.” “That’s right,” I answered. “He will go to be with Jesus, and that’s a pretty amazing thing. Now if that happens, I’m still going to cry because I’ll miss my daddy, but since I know he will be in heaven with Jesus, it will be ok.” Big E smiled through his tears.
Over the course of the afternoon, my father seemed to perk up a bit. He talked more than he has for the past week and that was an encouraging thing to see, but he’s not out of the woods. We have to take it day by day, prayerfully each moment, knowing we can trust the will of the God we love. This isn’t easy. It’s unbelievably hard. But His grace is sufficient for me.
Thank you got your continued prayers for our family. This Christmas was a difficult one, but I’m thankful to have spent it with most of my favorite people. ❤️
After breakfast and presents at home, we visited Tim’s family for a few hours. The kids enjoyed the time with their cousins and were sad when we had to head out. On the way home, we stopped at the hospital so that I could run in and see my dad. He was asleep, so I didn’t get to talk to him, but I did stand by his bed and prayed for him and talked to his nurse to catch up on his day. He’s holding steady from where he has been the last few days. Thank you for continuing to pray.
This Christmas is not what I expected and I’m having a hard time processing the reality of what is. My dad’s in the hospital and he might not come home. I desire to spend every waking moment with him, but I’m also a mom to three beautiful children that need me to be present. So this is hard.
I’m spent. I simultaneously feel everything and nothing all at once. But mingled in my grief is a hope and a joy that only Christ can sustain and tomorrow we celebrate his birth.
He who is mighty has done a great thing. Taken on flesh, conquered death’s sting…
Something I have learned over the past several months while dealing with the extended illness of my father is that there are good days, and there are bad days, and there are a myriad of nuances that fall in between. Some days are better while others are hard or optimistic or numbing. Scary, hopeful, horrible, surprising, frustrating, and the list goes on.
Yesterday was one of the difficult ones. My dad had some setbacks and by the time I got home I was completely drained. This morning when I opened my eyes, I felt the familiar panicky feeling start to creep in. It’s been there, ever present over the past week, always in the morning when I wake up. What’s happening today? What horrible thing will we have to face? What mountain am I staring down today?
Thankfully today was better with a side of not as horrible as anticipated. My dad made some baby-step progress, which is better than no progress, so I’ll take it. The last time dad was in the hospital for an extended period of time, it was 45 days. And in the middle of those 45 days sits the day he coded. The worst day.
Today was day eight of this second chapter and we got through it. One of dad’s techs came in today. She remembered him from his time on that floor back in early October. Her eyes watered and her voice choked as she said he was one of her favorite patients, and began to recount the story of when she first walked into his room and he told her he liked her hair. The caring and compassionate way she talked about him made my eyes well up too.
I’m thankful for those encounters, the ones that are nestled in the midst of hard moments, that remind me of the humanity behind all of it- the nurses and doctors and techs that have to work in that environment every day, and still live their lives outside the hospital doors. They truly are admirable.
So as I close out this better day, I am praying for a hopeful or optimistic one tomorrow. Goodnight sweet friends.