Archive for September, 2011

Life Support

This week has been a blur to say the least. Monday, I left for Gadsden (AL) planning to return home that same day after spending the afternoon with my dad who is in the hospital. At that point, he was being treated for infection in his feet and legs that had spiraled out if control after a podiatrist failed to recognize his need for timely medical intervention. But on Monday afternoon, his hospital admission for iv antibiotics, evolved into full fledge respiratory distress that put him into cardiac arrest, and he flatlined. His heart was shocked back into rhythm, and needless to say, or perhaps it needs to be said, praise God, he is alive…however, after being revived, he ended up in the critical care unit of the small hospital in Gadsden.

After the horror of watching my dad turn blue and stop breathing before my eyes on Monday, I then watched him lay in the unit that night and all day Tuesday sedated, unable to talk, having many unanswered questions about exactly what happened on Monday afternoon.

My father has been in declining health over the last 4 years. And at this point, I’m sure he has exhausted more than 9 lives…he has had many close calls, all of them having to do with the immediate consequence of alcohol or the long-term effects that it takes on one’s body. He is a living, breathing example that God ordains the day we come into this world and that our times are in His hands…and that means he also ordains the day we leave…and my dad, Dickey, believes that, too.

Tuesday night, we were preparing to go in for visitation. As we had been doing, we, the family (my 2 siblings, my step-mom, and my dad’s 3 siblings) would take turns going into his room, stand around his bed, watch him sleep, as he had been all day, and listen to each other tell him that he was going to be fine, and they were working on getting him off that breathing machine. (He was weened down to 35%, but his doctors were saying 2 more days before we could expect him to come off.) So, we expected to see him, as we had seen him, with tubes hanging out his mouth, an occasional twitch which was present from the medicine (and possibly symptomatic of other health complications), and hear the rhythm of beeps of the heart monitor.

Well…next, was the “Mary moment.” His youngest sister had gone in first, only to skip back to the waiting area, telling us to, “Come! He was awake and talking!” He had pulled his vent tube out himself…so much for the wrist restraints that had been keeping him from that. Part of the miracle is that he didn’t code again from removing the oxygen! He was breathing on his own and wide awake and talking. As we all stood around his bed, we listened to him testify that he knew he hadn’t done everything “right” but that being alive gave him the opportunity to “go out” (whenever that would be) doing good instead of not. He went on to say that he didn’t know why the Lord was keeping him around, but he knew God would use Him, “all you have to say is, ‘God use me’.”

After the sermonette that he delivered, we left him for the night. I was still somewhat befuddled at the fact that he was awake and talking. I knew he still wasn’t out of the woods, as he has such a complicated health history, but thanked God for those words he spoke if it were to be his last night with us.

Friends, on Monday night, I did not believe that my dad would leave the hospital this time. Despite the fact that he has some hurdles to overcome, I do believe he will will leave again…and perhaps “live” again.

That’s the plea if my heart. I do believe he wants his life to count for something…don’t we all. I also know, that’s where the real battle for “life” begins, as the enemy wants us to count our mistakes, misgivings, shortcomings, inadequacies, grievances, entitlements and on and on….count anything except the Purposes for which we were created–firstly and primarily being to have a relationship with the Creator of the Universe. Then to glorify Him. Then all else. Sometimes the “all else,” even in the guise of God, becomes destructive.

My prayer for my dad for years has been this…that God would restore my dad’s relationship with Him before He took him to Glory. Well…my dad is alive (again) and that is still my prayer.

So, would you pray specifically for that.
And…in the meantime, that God would restore his health in order that he may testify to God’s purposes in his life.

As of this Friday morning, my dad has been transferred to a private room still in the critical care unit. He is still in VERY FRAGILE health. His kidneys are on the rebound (we pray) from near kidney failure this week. His heart is being stressed due to his kidneys being marginalized. If you don’t see the miracle that he is even breathing, let me share for the context of prayer and healing, that…he has had multiple heart attacks. He had triple bypass surgery 4 years ago. He has nueropathy in his lower extremities. He has had both hips replaced. And he has been hospitalized, now, probably 4 times in the last 2 years due to fluid retention, that, mind you, becomes life threatening every time. Oh, yeah, I almost forgot, he has a pacemaker. See what I mean…that he is even here testifies to God’s timing over our lives, and my dad’s will to live. And, that, I pray God will honor.

So, will you pray for his coordination of care as it has been non-existent to say the least. We are praying for his kidneys to rebound in order for fluid retention to relent and to take dialysis off the table as an option and a decision that would have to be made.

We pray his heart is strengthened miraculously, physically, but even more so in Spirit, as this is going to be (another) long recovery. I pray God protects his mind from pride and lies of dillusion and destruction. As he has returned to conscienceness, he is struggling with being stir-crazy just lying in the hospital bed. Before he can be released, they need to do an angiogram on his legs to look at potential blockage to his lower extremities. They also have been waiting to do a CT with contrast on his chest to confirm whether a pulmonary embolism (or not) was the cause of the cardiac arrest.

Wew…and, yes, would you pray for me and my family as we drive back and forth from Nashville and Huntsville and those spending long hours at the hospital.

This is what I thought as I listened to my dad asking God to reveal his purposes for his lifeTuesday night after he pulled his own tubes…

We can be alive physically, all while dying in the places nobody ever sees.
We can live forever physically while hooked up to artificial means of sustenance, yet be dead to the bone in Spirit.
It is being hooked up to and plugged into the purposes and plans that God created us for that we really “live” and breathe and find joy. The enemy presents the “alternative breath” every day…succumbing to the things we THINK we need to keep us alive, but really, they do nothing except keep us away from the purposes for which we were created, and thereinlies death. I pray that you are “alive” and that the very breath of God is what is sustaining you…I am certain that is what my dad would say.

Thank you for praying with us.

His grace is real,

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