Saturday, November 11, 2017

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

The Medical Barrage and The Juggle (Cue the Clowns)

You guys are patient...WAY patient...as I try to figure out which way is up.  I'm still not quite sure,  but I did remember a few things I had not shared publicly yet.  Truthfully, with my mind being as mush as it is, I'm not sure I'll remember to share them ALL now.

Get this, so yesterday I ran an errand with Max.  I got into the car after the errand and could not get the van/mobile ark to go into gear.  I really was struggling.  The worst case scenario kept popping into my mind.  I wanted to prop my head on the steering wheel, close my eyes, and pretend this wasn't happening...until...

Max leaned over and said, "Mom, you may want to put the keys in the ignition."

Yup...just yup...

Life looks a little like this right now...

*Bro (Steve) and my hubby rotate nights with mom at the hospital.  These aren't easy nights (worth it, just not easy).  Thomas and I meet in passing most days.
*Every night we reevaluate the days, who will be there an when.  Thomas and Steve have work to juggle.  Ralph HAD fly back (no choice).  Our Uncle Ken and Aunt Mary are here and filling in.  I'm trying to juggle kids, find babysitters, and juggle being at the hospital, with the kids, and getting kids to their doctor's appointments and school.

We are all very tired....and very thankful. 

At one point we were told if they didn't put the breathing tube in my mom, she would not live 24 hours.   She's alive and slowly talking and we are blessed.

I again sit at her bedside (mom asleep)...thankful.  She's still not talking much, but understanding so much more.  We have another bit of a puzzle though, she's barely eating and throwing up.  The good news is that she is off all sedation though.  There are many puzzles and we are still wading through them in the ICU for now.



We (of course) want her to just bounce back, but have been reminded that this is a marathon, not a sprint. 

Yesterday Sarah and Isabella visited.   Isabella loves G.G and the feeling is mutual.

Isabella really wanted G.G.'s yellow "Fall Risk" bracelet.
She actually grabbed her mommy's phone and tried to 
trade G.G. the phone for the bracelet.  She had us laughing.
(Grace had taught her the art of "the trade".)



We also have received medical news about Grace and Hope. 

We finally (with much coordination) were able to receive sedated MRI appointments for the girl's Atlantoaxial Instability .  A Neurosurgeon has to be present.  I think they are most concerned about Hope, who we know needs the surgery.  The dates they gave us are December 4th (Hope) and December 7th (Grace). We are told it should take hours.  As always, we hold some concern over the sedation, since we don't know how they will react.  They have narrow airways already (which is common in children that have Down Syndrome).

We also have found out (from our ENT) that Hope has some hearing loss.   They are trying to coordinated sedated hearing tests for both girls during their MRIs.  Hope also needs a sleep study for apnea.

Bekah, Grace, and Hope

It's all part of the medical maze.  I'm just grateful that things are falling into place.  The sooner we have Hope's surgery, the safer for her.

For now we focus on my mom (with a few other appointments thrown in there).   (We are beyond thankful that she is here with us.)  It's overwhelming to think back on where we were this time last week.

 We also have Isabella's first birthday, my birthday, and then Thanksgiving creeping up on us. 

We ask for prayers for provision as we recover (again, normal) from this last adoption journey.   God ALWAYS provides. Truthfully,  as I'm sure most of you have felt at times, I'm afraid to check the balance on our account (smile).  The gas to and from the hospital...the eating out for those here (at the hospital) or those leaving at late at night...Eek. 

Though,  we have to praise.  We are here because my mom has survived.  PRAISING GOD!!!!

I also continue to ask for heavy duty prayers for protection for Amy, Nick, and Sam.  I'm a bit quieter lately (a miracle within itself) as I try to continue to process everything.  There's a heaviness that comes bigger and stronger at the loss of both John and Jack.  The family needs long term petitioning and pleading on their behalf....deep deep peace that passes human understanding and blessing that we can't fathom.


My flesh and my heart may fail,
    but God is the strength of my heart
    and my portion forever.

Psalm 73:26

PLEASE PRAY:

AMY, NICK and SAM*Please pray for Amy, Nick, and Sam...please pray for deep deep peace that passes understanding and that God is ever present in comfort in love...and that they feel every part of it. 
*Please pray for blessing for their family.
*Please pray for those ministering to them, that they may be instruments of God.
*Please pray against the master of lies and anyone who tries to place blame....the arguments be dismantled and the brilliance of God's truth burn away all evil.

MY MOM, KATHY:
*Please pray for all my mom's cognitive functions to return fully. 

   -That she can answer "choice" questions and name people.
   -That she can remember the words to tell us what she 
     wants.
   -That she can fully understand what is being asked of her

*Please pray for all my mom's physical health to return even more fully than before.  She is not where she needs to be.

   -That she starts eating and stops vomiting.
*Please pray we are wise and discerning, choosing the right path to have a caretaker to aid my mom.  Please pray for wisdom and blessing.  We have a "big blessing" idea, but we need to make sure it's God's Plan.

OUR FAMILY
*Please pray for Sarah (our second oldest) to become strong, strength and rest returning...blessing for their family who has been under much stress....for Ivan and the Lil' Bit.
*Please pray for Tom (our oldest) and all upcoming testing.  Please pray for blessing on their family and against any stress.
*Please pray for provision for our family and big joy for our children (not stuff, just JOY).
*We are tired  Please pray for peace, endurance, rest, and most importantly that we hear God...and glorify HIM above all else.

Thank you friends....

Monday, November 6, 2017

A Voice

Last night my brothers and I had to have those hard conversations.  We had to talk about hospice.  We had to talk about what would happen if my mom never left the hospital. 



How in one week could we be having to face this?  One day, my mom is walking in the kitchen cooking her food. 


The next day she is on life support.

Then today, I gathered with long time friends and family, and laid to rest a man that loved God so dearly, but was so bathed in pain over the loss of his son that he took his own life.  I have so many memories.  I remember the barbecue...lots of John's barbecue (smile).  I remember John's voice.  Why can I hear it so clearly? I can though. 

I'm thankful...and completely heartbroken.  No family should face this kind of pain.  I love his wife Amy and the boys so much that I can't breathe and wish I could take just even the smallest of pieces of the pain away from them.

Yet life is not fair.  Life cannot be fully understood.  We are not God.  Our God is bigger than our understanding, just as He should be.

It was odd though. I could hear John's voice so clearly, yet my mom's I have not been able to hear since the day she went to the hospital. 

I talked to her every day and I couldn't hear her voice in my thoughts.  I felt a bit like I was going crazy.  I will tell you the truth. I begged God, just to hear her voice one more time.  I wanted His Will, and prayed hearing her voice one more time was in it.

So today God provided us with a miracle.  We went from the hospice conversation last  night with my brothers....to my mom slowly speaking at first one word, then short sentences.  Yes, it's slow, but she IS speaking.  She then went to eating.  Yes, my mom is awake.  She is slowly talking.  She is eating.  Her brain is recovering.  Her body is recovering.  She wiggled her toes on command.  She '
sat with a lot of help at the side of the bed. 

How is it the same person as yesterday?

How is this contradiction possible?

Today was painfully hard, facing horrific death.  

Today was a miracle, life was given.

I don't know how to process this day.  I am so utterly thankful.  I am so utterly heartbroken.

One voice lost, one voice gained...

Yet I remember the author of every word.  I praise Him with my voice, and curl up in His arms sobbing with that same voice. 

I want to encourage everyone to make there voices count. 

Please continue to praise and pray friends, for Amy and the boys, our mom, this world.

God is answering. 

*Please pray for Amy, Nick, and Sam...please pray for deep deep peace and that God is ever present in comfort in love...and that they feel every part of it. 
*Please pray for those ministering to them, that they may be instruments of God.
*Please pray against the master of lies and anyone who tries to place blame....the arguments be dismantled and the brilliance of God's truth burn away all evil.

*Please pray for all my mom's cognitive functions to return fully. We are not all the way there yet.  Please pray she can remember her name, birth date, and answer the questions asked of her that are not yes or no. 
*Please pray for all my mom's physical health to return even more fully than before.  She is not where she needs to be.
*Please pray we are wise and discerning, choosing the right path to have a caretaker to aid my mom.

*Please pray for Sarah (our second oldest) to become strong, strength and rest returning...blessing for their family who has been under much stress....for Ivan and the Lil' Bit.
*Please pray for Tom (our oldest) and all upcoming testing.  Please pray for blessing on their family and against any stress.
*We are tired  Please pray for peace, endurance, rest, and most importantly that we hear God...and glorify HIM above all else.

Thank you friends....


My flesh and my heart may fail,
    but God is the strength of my heart
    and my portion forever.
Psalm 73:26


Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Broken and Battered, but Not Beaten

I don't think processing this day is possible.  I just can't.

It wasn't all bad, God's Hand was obviously there.  Yet some of it was horrific...nightmarish.  I just can't process it.

I awoke early, knowing they were going to try to wake my mom again today.   The process of waking her starts early...at seven am.  The hospital is thirty minutes away.

Our babysitters arrived at the house already and I headed out to the car.  I found someone siphoned almost all of our gas.  I truthfully shrugged.  I had enough to make it to the gas station.  If this is the worst that happens...pfffttt.

I made it to the hospital barely in time.  My mom's main sedation was reduced to almost nothing.  She opened her eyes more.  She turned and briefly looked at both me and my brother.  She even held our hands.  She still is very ill, but these were hopeful signs.  They weren't there the day before.  Her blood pressure was much better, but she was not breathing deep enough to be taken off of life support this morning.

There was good, but mom is not quite there yet.  She's not quite ready to be off life support.  She's still not out of the woods.

As we waited for Dr. Lilly to come and evaluate mom (to make the final call), I read a post by my precious friend Amy.  She is the mother of Jack, who took his life three months ago.

Yesterday, her husband John did the same.

I left my mother's side and stepped out and proceeded to break down.  I stood in the ICU hallway with everyone looking at me my body wracked with sobs.  I tried to be as quiet as I could, still strangers came up to me and gave me hugs.

I can hear John's voice in my head.  I can't process this.  I can't.  Amy is so precious to my heart.   Their sons (here on earth) Nick and Sam will always hold a special place.

Jack and John both gone...that I cannot process.  No...just no....

My heart is shattered for Amy and the boys.  It's in a puddle, broken, raw...mangled on the floor.

I had to breathe and make my way back to my mom's side.  The doctor was there.  "Sucking it up" is not possible in a time like this.  My mom loved John, Amy, Nick, Jack, and Sam too.  She knew them and loves them.

Our oldest daughter Sarah saw this news...horrific event, and headed down to the hospital with Isabella.

Isabella, being only eleven months old, didn't need to be exposed to the germs of the ICU.  I stepped into the ICU waiting room and held my granddaughter.  (This little girl's love for me heals me...no joke.  My granddaughter are gifts.)  Sarah went into my mom's room and talked with her Uncle and her Grandma.  She wanted to make sure grandma knew how much she was loved.  As I sat in the lobby, my phone rang.  It was my brother from my mom's bedside.  He said Sarah had almost passed out and they were taking her to the ER.  My brain didn't digest this.  I thought he had to be talking about something with my mom.  My brain rebelled.

Finally, it sunk in.

I quickly gathered up Isabella and Sarah's things and rushed to my mom's ICU room.  There was Sarah in a wheelchair, white as a ghost...lips pale.  Her head was leaning straight back and she looked to be having trouble focusing.  A nursed rushed her, Isabella and I following, down to the ER.

It didn't take long for Sarah to start to recover.  IV fluids, rest...those are what she needed most.  Exhaustion...stress...that was a primary cause.  Her body was tired.  Our family... her little family...had been under a huge amount of stress for a very long time.  She was told she needs a few days of rest and she will be okay.

I took her and Isabella to our home until Ivan could be there.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

My brother Steve said it best when he texted something to the tune of, "I want to go outside and scream...

STOP....JUST STOP ALREADY!!!"

Me too...

So tonight I can't even think.  My mind and heart are overloaded.   There is so much pain that I can't breathe.  I want to sleep to make it all go away.

So I say the truth I know....... again, again, and again.

God is a good God.  He is my Father who created oceans and can dry the deepest sea up with a blink.  God is with us.  If I understand why things happen every time, then God would not be as powerful as I know Him to be.  I should NOT understand it all, because I am not God.

Please pray friends...immanent...now...today...tomorrow...

*For peace that passes understanding for Amy and her boys...a deeper peace that they had not had before this time.  Please pray for comfort.  Please pray their friends know what to say or do, even if it's holding their hand.  No one knows how to process this.  

*Please pray specifically for my mom.  Please pray her blood pressure stabilizes so they can wake her.  Please pray she takes deep enough breaths to have the breathing tube removed.
PRAYER REQUEST FROM NURSE DIRECTLY - Pray mom can get off Propofol and off ALL sedation. Pray she is responsive to nurses and doctors basic commands.
PRAY THE BREATHING TUBE CAN BE REMOVED.

*Please pray Sarah can rest and that her stress is removed.  Please pray protection over her lil' bit.

*Please pray for our children.  This time is very hard on them. Several of them are struggling emotionally,  as they are all close to grandma.  Their hearts are torn for Amy and the boys.  The juggling, so close to when we came home from China and Grace's hospitalization, is really rough on them.  They know there's another side, it's just wearying right now.

*Please pray for my oldest (Tom) as he goes through testing, that he scores wonderfully.  It's important to their future in the military.

*Please pray for continued provision.  We have made it through another bill cycle...by God's Grace.  We still have more ahead...holidays...etc.  

Thank you for holding us up right now.  We are just weary...done.
God is our refuge and strength,

    an ever-present help in trouble.
 
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
    and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
 
though its waters roar and foam
    and the mountains quake with their surging.
Psalm 46:1-3

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

ICU and Mom, Our Kids, and Prayer Requests

(Prayer request below: Directly from my mother's nurse.)


My mom a few months back and  her great granddaughter Isabella

My mom a while back at church holding Alessandra

We are all a bit weary and numb, but we believe things are improving.  There is some hope now, where it felt like there was very little earlier.

I type this as I sit by her bed.

This is my current view.

 My brothers (Ralph and Steve) and my husband (and I) are making sure someone is with her at all times.  Her progress is slow and there are no guarantees, but we pray...and hope.

My mom is still in a medically induced coma.  We've been sharing and reading notes that people have sent to her and talking a lot....and then being very very quiet so as to let her rest and not get agitated. She is minimally responsive, but IS responding a tiny bit...even in coma.   She has only responded to me at this point.  We think it's probably just because I see her/talk to her daily.

She started getting really restless and I asked her to squeeze my hand if she was uncomfortable.  She did not squeeze, but moved her hand....and only the hand I was holding.

She is now on minimal ventilator settings, but still very much needs the minimal at this point.  They are reducing the sedation and slowly bringing her to consciousness.  This morning they had her open her eyes.  My brother (Ralph) said she tracked him with her eyes.  Other than that she was not responding to basic commands.   Her blood pressure spiked too.  They have given her another form of sedation to let her rest and do another trial "waking" tomorrow.

 I hope that if I'm here in the wee hours tomorrow (already arranged babysitters...plural) that maybe we can get her to respond when they try it again.  They will not take out the breathing tube until she responds for the doctors.  Truthfully, any response is what I long to see.

Her kidneys are minimally improving and her liver is quite a bit better than when she came in.  It's all very slow though and improvement seems to have stuttered a bit today.  Her lungs are still very filled with fluid.

I've told her to fight, that we selfishly want her here.   I've also told her that if she sees Jesus, to blow us off and go.  We'd understand.  That's where we want to be.


I'm tired of hospitals, though the staff is so kind and wonderful.  I'm tired of see those I love struggling.  I admit it.  I'm fine 95% of the time, but add the exhaustion (all of us are having) and the tears come unbidden at times.  Usually the MOST inconvenient times (weary smile).

Thomas and my brother Steve have been taking nights, as the kids really need me especially at that time.  Our oldest (Tom) and his wife (Elizabeth) and our precious granddaughter were able to get leave (through the Red Cross verification) Sunday.

Our sweet Alessandra
Grandma misses you!!!
She is the happiest baby I have ever met (no exaggeration).

They were able to stay less than 24 hours, but I admit to tears when I hugged every one of them.  It comforted my mama heart.

The youngest three are really struggling. It's hard having change again so soon after Hope and Grace came home.  A  middle was struggling too, but after a long talk and serious connection yesterday, he seems to be doing much better (though we have a bit of push back today).  Please pray for our kids...joy for them...big joy...and peace...BIG peace.

This weekend I did take time and take our kids (for about a hour and a half) to our Church's Fall Carnival.  We dug out old costumes/dress up clothes given us, found at thrift stores (Anna and my friend Amy) and created costumes.  I only had to emergency run for one child we couldn't find ANYTHING at 6 am (on the way to the hospital).

These are happier pictures.

Some of our gang! (Minus Tom/Elizabeth, Anna, and Max)

Our oldest daughter Sarah, husband Ivan, and granddaughter Isabella
So deer to us!

Bekah (Moana), Anna (Merida-Working the Fall Carnival), 
Jael (Anna), Rachel (Elsa)

Max (Cowboy working the Fall Carnival)

Ben-Superman

Bekah- Moana

Jael-Anna

Gabe-Army Guy

Rachel- Elsa

Timothy- Captain America

Grace - Our Ladybug

Hope - Ladybug

Our kids in line and some dear friends the snowmen (Fosters)

Reid (Max's bud) and Amy (mine)

Amy and Bridget (precious friend)

Our kids and our crazy friends! (The Munsami Family minus two kiddos)


We left straight after the Fall Carnival this weekend, needing to get home so the kids could eat and we could pick my Aunt and oldest brother (Ralph) up at the airport.  They are here now.  We are so thankful.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Today is Tuesday, right?  All the days are running together.  I had to think.

Tonight, when home, I will be printing out pictures for my mom's ICU wall and writing sticky notes full of her friend's and families favorite verses and notes from them.  If you wish to leave her any of these things, feel free to comment or email me at 1thomkat (at) verizon (dot) net.  I will be reading them to her and posting them on her wall.

People have asked us our needs.  I'm truly trying to think.  This all caught us off guard.  Our biggest need is prayer...beyond that it's little things.

*The kids could use rides to and from co-ops during the days.  We encourage them to go.  It's hard though.  My mom seemed fine and was fixing food one day and then the next we are in ICU on life support.  It's taking a toll on the kids as well.
*Physically, I tend to do the grocery shopping.  We have many different dietary restrictions with several kids.  The only thing I can think of is things like gas cards or fast food cards for whoever is at the hospital.  (Taco Bell and McDonald's are close to the hospital.  For gas maybe Kroger or RaceTrack.)

I really just can't think.  I'm most worried about the kids (after my mom).  This is hard on them and the littles can't come to the hospital yet.  We don't want the kids remembering Grandma this way.  Only the oldest four have or are coming down.  We may let Bekah, because not coming seems to be harder on her than coming may be.  We don't want to hide reality from the kids, but right now we are standing on hope.

Many are saying of me,

    “God will not deliver him.

But you, Lord, are a shield around me,

    my glory, the One who lifts my head high.
 
I call out to the Lord,
    and he answers me from his holy mountain.
Psalm 3:2-4

Most importantly, as I said before, we need prayer.  Please pray.

I will try to remember our other prayer requests below too, but so much has just been shoved out of our minds.  This is hard hard hard.

PRAYER REQUESTS:
*FROM NURSE DIRECTLY-   Pray she can get off Propofol and off ALL sedation
*That my mom (Kathy) has her kidney and liver numbers continue to improve and completely stabalize.
*That her lungs clear.
*That, when waking her blood pressure does NOT spike and she's able to calm and FOLLOW THE DOCTOR's basic commands.
*For complete healing if it is within God's Will.



OTHER REQUESTS:
*That God be glorified in all of this.
*For the kids to have big joy and BIG peace...from the smallest to the biggest.
*For the upcoming MRI (Dec. 4th and 7th) for Grace and Hope and for Hope's surgery to go flawlessly with complete and safe recovery.
*For Timothy's future surgery (and his sweet heart that is struggling) to go perfectly.
*For my oldest, Tom, to pass and excel in all testing. 
*For GOD's provision...things are just a bit harder financially as we still recover from the adoption and have birthdays and Christmas coming up.  Things have just become a tad more because of current events.  It's TOTALLY okay and God is providing, but just reality.


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