02-27-19 The Long Awaited Run

One evening, at the height of my father’s illness in September, around the time he spent in the ICU, I went down to the treadmill and started running. The extra adrenaline I was carrying at the time along with the increased heart rate brought on from running sent me into a panic attack. I remember crumpling to the floor in a sobbing heap, trying to breathe my way through the panic while the room spun and my body shook. After that I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t get back on.

When my dad went into the hospital this last time, we thought we were losing him again. One day a man in an expensive black tailored suit walked in. I assumed he was a doctor though he never introduced himself. He looked at my dad for less than a minute, made only the slightest eye contact with me, and walked out. I learned his diagnosis the following day- Hospice… Without talking to me. Without talking to my dad.

Every doctor we met with looked us in the eye and said “Hospice.” Not one of them would fight for him. “He has cancer, you know.” (As if that detail had somehow neglected to wedge itself into my memory.) But he wasn’t there for cancer. He was there for an infection. And they weren’t treating it. They weren’t feeding him. They weren’t hydrating him. They had given up before they even tried.

We pushed back. We pleaded with nurses. Everyday he had a different doctor, and none of them would take responsibility for what had happened the day before, so every day we started again. We asked the same questions, demanded answers, insisted on tests and medicines and nutrition. We refused to back down while calling them out on their indifference. And even when he started to show improvement the doctors said it wasn’t fast enough- call hospice.

I cried in the hallway. I researched hospice. I read articles. Maybe they were right. But they didn’t know my dad. They didn’t know us. And they didn’t know our God.

One day a nurse took me aside when there were no doctors around. She said in a gentle way, “He’s getting better. It’s going to take a while. But he’s getting better. Don’t give up.” That’s when I understood that while the doctors had written him off, the nurses were still fighting for him. They became our allies. They pushed the doctors. They encouraged us. They lovingly cared for my father. And little by little he recovered.

When he came home, it’s like his recovery was fast tracked and each day I am in awe of the progress he has made. He is gaining so much independence and by the grace of God he is exceeding everyone’s expectations. With all sincerity, it is nothing short of a miracle.

But it’s only now, a couple of months later, that I can talk about that hospital experience with any sense of perspective. Only in the last six weeks has life started to settle down. I don’t know what reprieve we have been given. I don’t know what the future holds. But I can trust in a God that has carried us this far to continue to provide the strength and trust and patience we need each day.

So tonight I got on the treadmill and I ran.

02-26-19 Let Me In

I got out of the shower this evening to a knocking at my bathroom door. Tim wasn’t home yet, so I figured it was one of the kids. Baby E was the most likely culprit.

“Who is it?” I asked.

“Baby E!” Came the reply from the other side of the door.

“You can’t come in right now, buddy.”

I heard him starting to whimper.

“Why don’t you ever let us in the bathroom when you are using the bathroom?!?!” He cried.

“Honey, I wasn’t using the bathroom. I just got out of the shower. I have to get some clothes on.”

There was a long silence and I wondered if he had wandered off. Then I heard a loud banging on the door.

“Who is it?” I responded.

“It’s Tim! Let me come in!!” Came a lower, gravely voice that clearly belonged to Baby E.

“That’s not Tim!! That’s Baby E!” I responded.

“No, it’s not me, it’s Tim!” he growled. “I’m a grown up!! Let me in!”

Reader, I did not let him in.

02-25-19 The Dream

Do you ever have those dreams that you wake up from, only to fall asleep right back into them, picking up the thread that should have vanished when your eyes first opened?

Last night I had a dream that I was being hunted by ISIS. (Weird, right?) I was in a large, fenced in enclosure and various members of ISIS were circling outside the fence, trying to catch sight of me, and kill me. I was unarmed, relying on hiding among the trees and bushes that provided my cover, but only barely. My heart raced as I crept from hiding place to hiding place, waiting for the inevitable, being spotted by my enemy.

The first time I woke up I breathed a sigh of relief. It was just a dream. As I opened my eyes and glanced around my room, I felt my pulse beginning to slow down to its normal speed. I rolled over and closed my eyes.

And then I was there again, among the trees and bushes, with my enemies even closer. I could hear them talking. I could see them through the fence, they were heavily armed and there were a lot of them. I moved further into hiding. My body was tense. My senses were on high alert. Any moment they would see me.

Again, I woke up. I shook myself out of my stupor and sat up. I didn’t like that dream. My heart was racing again. I laid down and slowed my breathing until I drifted off.

I was in the forest, ten yards from the fence. One of the soldiers saw me. He alerted the others. There was a commotion as they came after me. I ran, trying to hide. I could hear them behind me. They were angry. They were close. They had found me. Their guns were trained on me.

My eyes flew open. I’ve never had a dream I couldn’t escape from, especially one I had already fully awakened from before. Considering where my dream was heading I wanted to make sure that I didn’t land in it again. I got out of bed and walked around, making sure I was wide awake. When I was confident I had been up long enough, I crawled into bed and fell back to asleep.

Needless to say, today I was exhausted!

02-23-19 Black Eyed Baby E

When Baby E took his tumble into the window sill the other day, obviously the first thing we noticed was the enormous lump that formed on his forehead. Then we noticed that he had a slight bruise on his nose, as if he had bumped his nose as well.

This morning when he walked up to me I noticed the bruising had started to expand and by this evening he looked like he was in an impressive fist fight. His forehead still has the lump, but now his nose and around his eyes are showing the bruising. It seems each day he’s getting a little more purple.

Unfortunately strangers have started making comments about it in public, so hopefully it clears up soon!!

Thankfully it isn’t bothering him at all and he hasn’t complained even once about it, but he sometimes tells me he wishes he didn’t have such a big noggin.

His face this morning.

02-22-19 Cookies

There’s a bakery in town which is (thankfully) not within walking distance of our house. With that said, I usually drop by there a few times a week to get fresh bread for the family. Excepting Baby E (who absolutely despises bread and anything that might resemble bread) we all have a fondness for baked goods.

This morning I dropped by to get a loaf when I noticed adorable decorated cookies in the display. I had some very happy kids when I got home.

Thank you to everyone who has checked in on Baby E. His forehead is healing up well. The swelling has come down considerably. It’s now only a rounded bump on his head, and it doesn’t seem to be bothering him.

02-21-19 The Melting

It’s pretty amazing that one day you can get nearly six inches of snow and the next you are soaking up temperatures in the 60’s.

Throughout the day our snowman got smaller and smaller and by this afternoon he had toppled over, shedding his accessories and melting into the grass.

The igloo didn’t fair much better, though I did get Big E outside long enough this morning to play in it before it shrank. I’m not sure that we will have another snow this winter, so I’m glad we got this one, though I would have been happy if it had settled on the ground for a few more days.

02-20-19 Snow Fun, A Birthday, and A Bump on the Head

Today was a beautifully busy snow day. When we woke up this morning the ground was carpeted in a thick layer of snow. As the day wore on, the snow got deeper and by this afternoon it was just perfect for playing in. We got the kids dressed and outside. We were pleasantly surprised when we realized it was the perfect snow for building, so we set out at once to build a snowman. And not just any snowman would do, we aimed for the largest one we could manage!

With the success of our snowman under our belts, Tim and C decided to start building an igloo, while me and the boys did some sledding.

It didn’t take too long, though, for Baby E to get worn out. He has been fighting a cold for a couple of days, so him and I cut our losses and headed inside for some hot cocoa. We enjoyed watching the building of the fort from the comfort of our living room.

Shortly after that, things got a little bit dicey. Poor Baby E was running toward the window when he tripped and careened right into the windowsill. Full force impact. My heart dropped as I ran to him. In the two seconds it took me to get to him, the lump on his forehead was already forming. Thankfully we’ve been through enough goose eggs before on the kids, so we knew what to watch for. We got ice on it quickly, and while the below picture looks pretty crazy, the dramatic swelling didn’t last more than an hour. Tim and the kids didn’t get to finish their igloo, but instead they sat on the couch with a recovering Baby E and watched a movie.

After dinner we had a birthday celebration. Today was my mom’s birthday and we surprised her with a cake and presents. I’m so incredibly thankful that we were all here to celebrate. And with the exception of Baby E’s unexpected injury, today was really a very wonderful snow day!