Praise the God who gives, . . . and takes away

I’m back!  Over a month of sudden, unexpected chaos, and I am back.  The problem is I don’t know what I am back to.  What is normal?  And do I want to go back to whatever “normal” is?  Well, here is my “reentry” post.  I don’t know if anyone will want to read, but I need to write.  I know this won’t be the usual, light Mommy blog post, but I need to write.  Maybe if I write it here, the thoughts won’t continue to come out in my dreams.  Night after night, the same dreams, with the same endings.  This is part one of our journey.

(I have to give a little background.  My father in law, Bob, was diagnosed with stage IIIb non-small cell lung cancer in Nov. 2009.  He completed 33 radiation treatments, and 2 of 6 chemos.  By Jan he was getting weaker, and we wanted him to move to GA (from TN) where we could be closer to him, and help care for him.  Nate and I left on Jan. 16, 2010 to go get him from TN.  After returning home on the 17th and continuing to observe his condition, we decided that we needed to take him to ER on Monday morning.  He appeared dehydrated, and we were not able to control his pain with the prescriptions meds that he had.) 

Conflict.  That is all I felt for the first week.  Jan. 18th, as we were preparing to take Bob to the ER, I got the call.  My nephew was on the way!!!  I had been anticipating this moment for months, well 9 months to be exact.  The journey to Brayden’s arrival had been long, bumpy, and full of emotion.  And that was for me!  I can’t even begin to imagine how it was for his parents.  But, that was over now and Brayden was on his way, and I was thrilled!  Rushed phone calls, plans were made, and we were on our way.  I was off to welcome the family’s newest and long awaited addition.  In the back of my mind I was planning out how the ER visit for Bob would go.  I’m like that – I plan.  

 15 hrs. 

I went back and forth.  Labor and Deliver:  smiles, excitement, anticipation. 

ER:  concern, updates, test results, dread. 

Brayden was here! and he was perfect.  Mom was doing great, family was excited. 

 Bob was admitted, to telemetry unit no less.  His cardiac labs were “strange”.  A curve we didn’t see coming.

And so began a 5 day journey in the hospital.  Nate and I spend countless hours in room 275.  That and the hallway window seat.  We saw 4 doctors a day, sometimes more than once a day.  CT results: BAD.  Chest tube in place, pus draining.  Consult with a surgeon:  surgery was needed, but not sure if it was an option.  Cardio: his heart is weak, multiple past heart attacks.  Whoa. . .  what?  Cardio will not treat due to his “other” disease and it’s advanced state.  Oncology: we can’t continue with current treatment plan due to infection.  Pulmonology:  all we can do is drain infection, surgery is ONLY option.  Surgeon (final report):  surgery is NOT an option.  He will not survive surgery.  But wait, . . . they just said he won’t survive WITHOUT surgery!?!?

So there is was.  My beautiful, perfect nephew was here.  Such a gift.  And my father in law was dying.  Such a loss.

In between speaking with doctors, over and over and over again, and desperately trying to come up with a new approach, a new option, a different answer, I visited my new nephew.  So tiny, so new.  I held him and rocked him as his mom slept.  I touched his tiny hand and looked out the window to hide my tears.  This was so unfair.  How can one life begin, and another just . . . end.  Why now?  Why God, did you finally bless my sister and brother in law with this sweet life, only to take another?  The emotions were strong and tears came easy.  And I just rock, rock and rub that tiny hand.

But then, the visit was over.  Time to get on the elevator and put on a different face.  When the doors open on the second floor I have to be strong again.  Talk with doctors.  Support my husband.  Help make decisions.  Bad ones.  Where no one wins.

Thursday came, and Brayden went home with his mom and dad.  We stayed.  In that small room.  We sit in the hallway window seat.  There happens to be a box of tissue there.  Probably left behind by another family dealing with the same unreal decisions that we are facing.  It’s time to go home.

Friday comes with dread.  We have a power of attorney signed.  That was hard.  Then the attorney comes to have the will signed.  I barely could hold it together.  Bob is coming home, to die.  I feel numb as I make the same plans that I have made before, for other patients.  Except this time I was the one with the pain.  Speak with hospice.  Arrange for transport.  Discharge papers signed.  Prescriptions given.  One was for a cholesterol med.  Really??  He needs to take something for high cholesterol?  The hospice nurse said don’t bother having it filled.  Hmmm.  Have my dad clean out the playroom.  The hospital bed was being delivered.  Oh, and have dad go buy a coffeepot so I can make coffee for the people visiting.  Cream and sugar too.  The individual packets of sugar if you can find them.  Is this really happening?

I sit on the hard hospital bed in what was once my kids playroom.  The admitting hospice nurse is asking strange questions.  Does Bob have a history of any medical problems?  Uh, you mean other than the ones he is dying from?  I think he has had indigestion before, does that count?  I can’t concentrate, and I am not being very patient.  I am looking out the window waiting for the ambulance.  She is explaining the medications.  Whatever, I know what to do.  Just let me sign the papers so she will leave.  The ambulance is here . . .

Conflict.  The joy for what God has given, and the pain for what He will take away.

4 thoughts on “Praise the God who gives, . . . and takes away

  1. Very good post. Definitely your most heart felt post. Somehow I imagine you praying, writing, and crying at the same time. You are good wife and mother, Heather!

  2. Wow. What a bittersweet post. It put me back in that very surreal, sad and happy time.

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