Sunday, December 14, 2014

When An Emergency Strikes....

Recently, we had an emergency happen....  with my dad.... in another state. He was to have a cardiac catherization and a stent placed due to an expected blockage in the heart, so my kids and I packed up and traveled to help, leaving my husband at home to keep going to work. We didn't know how long we would be gone, but we left on Monday morning and expected to travel home on Thursday of the same week, if all went as expected....  Just a simple "emergency".

When an emergency happens, we drop everything and tend to it... it is an emergency after all and it takes precedence over everything else. We all have things happen - a sick child, a spouse with cancer, a car accident, a newly discovered unpaid bill, and more. Emergencies get our attention... and they should. We don't like them and we are really glad when they are over, but we deal with them.

 What happens when the emergency doesn't go away as easily as we had hoped? We still deal with it. My dad's possible blockage and stent turned into a much bigger deal and required a quadruple bypass, a new valve and an aneurysm fix. The short story is that he had to be transported several hours away by ambulance to a bigger hospital. Thankfully, this is near our home, which made things a bit easier. Surgery was done and recovery is happening slowly, but steadily.

 My mom has seizures and needs care and has lived with us for the last month now, so there is much to be aware of and do. She is also getting rehab therapy to help her to be able to do more on her own as we hope Mom and Dad will be able to return to their home at some point and still live alone. There are lots of changes needed first... especially as Dad has cared for Mom for so long. I think she is more capable than previously thought and the therapist is doing a wonderful job of helping Mom to increase her balance and exercise muscles that usually don't get much use. Mom is working on this and it is great to see her grow in this way.

Is it easy? No, it isn't, but I continue to be amazed by the grace God has given each of us to deal with it. We have spent between 5-12 hours a day at the hospital or rehab place, not counting travel time. The kids take their schoolwork and work wherever they are. This is one of the beauties of homeschooling... it can be taken on the road and continued. I have been so pleased with the way my kids have carried on - they have been such a blessing and they help Grandma and Grandpa in so many ways. Dad has been in 2 hospitals and has been moved to a rehabilitation facility.

Now, that Dad is in a rehab facility, my oldest daughter (Wholesome Joy) takes music books and plays on the baby grand piano there. My dad loves to hear it and others enjoy it as well... sometimes residents stop to watch and listen while she plays and many comment on the beauty of her music. One lady often asks if she will be playing music again soon. It has been an opportunity for ministry... one that we hadn't planned. :)  My daughter LOVES playing on the beautiful baby grand piano and when she used our piano again, she said she realized she has gotten spoiled on the big beautiful one. The sound is sure rich and so nice........ but we enjoy her playing here also.

My husband has also been a huge blessing in all of this... and spent a couple of nights at the hospital with my dad when things were especially difficult. The thought crossed my mind to wonder how many men would willingly give up sleep and comfort to minister 2 nights in the hospital, to their father in law.  :) My husband still goes at about 6 or 6:30am each day to the rehab place to see Dad and read scripture to him and just listen... or talk with him and they have precious fellowship. He also goes either alone or with one or more of our sons in the evening to spend time with Dad. He has also held me when I cried with exhaustion and stress - he has been a blessing. I go with most of my kids and my mom 2 - 3 times a day and we have been there several hours a day. The last few days, my trips were reduced to one trip a day as my fatigue level has grown so high and I need to actively work on the adrenal issues again.

Meals are rushed and not too well planned, usually, as we have been spending most of our days away from home. Some friends from church have brought meals to our home, which was a huge blessing and allowed me to nap and not worry about supper. God is showing Himself faithful in sustaining all of us. Still, the weariness has grown... and continues to grow. I look back and realize that this "emergency" started 4 weeks ago... and it isn't over yet. I also realize that God is faithful and He will give all the strength and grace to continue this for as long as needed... and I am thankful.

We have all been especially thankful that Dad is still with us... the surgeon said that without the surgery, Dad only had days to live... the aneurysm was very severe. The night before the heart catherization, he was out putting chains(it was hard work) on his John Deere garden tractor in preparation for snow... and he told me that he had been quite dizzy afterwards and had to lean on the wall to recover.... we didn't know about the aneurysm at that time - what a blessing that God preserved his life.

Dad has had a rough time... there is nothing easy about this recovery... and yet, he is doing it day by day. He keeps saying that he appreciates our visits so much and that family is good therapy for him. We have had family come to visit from different states also... and after one such visit, a nurse asked Dad if his family was overwhelming him... if it was too much for him. He said, "My family is therapy for me and I don't want to hear another word about it!!" We all laughed about that.

By the way, in case any of you reading this think I am just listing reasons to be sorry for myself, that is not at all what I hope to portray in this post. Rather, I am realizing more and more that when we listen to God and follow His leading, even when it isn't our choice, He blesses.... and blesses abundantly. God is helping all of us to grow in denying ourselves more, in being considerate of others, of working together in difficult times and more. I find myself very thankful for what God is doing in Dad's life.... and in the lives of the rest of us. :) Thank you so much for visiting... and a special thank you to all who have prayed for us... or will be. We have certainly felt God carrying us through a very hard time.

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  1. You certainly have handled this difficult situation with much grace, love and joy! May the Lord continue to uphold, strengthen, and keep you until your dad is able to be home again!

    1. Thank you so much! Your comment is very encouraging to me and I sure appreciate it....

  2. Hi! I am a new reader from Pennsylvania and I am enjoying your blogs so much!

    I am keeping your father and mother in my prayers, along with you and your sweet family! God bless you all and I pray for strength for your journey.


    1. Welcome! I am so glad to "meet" you and I am greatly encouraged by your wonderful comment and your prayers. Thank you for visiting. :)

  3. Dear Joy, it is nice to hear from you again. These times can be so stressful but when looking back at our own history, all the family fellowship is a blessing since we aren't usually able to see each other so much in our daily routine. May God give you and your family the strength and health required to care for your aging parents (and heal them as well).

    Thank you for taking the time also to share at the Art of Home-Making Mondays this week amidst your busy schedule!

    1. JES - I love getting your comments as they are always so sincere and encouraging. :) I appreciate the comment about the family fellowship and I am finding a new appreciation for my parents and the time we are all having together even though a lot of it is quite difficult. I love that God's grace is carrying us and that my kids can see the family service to grandparent and I am confident it will impact their lives for good. Thank you for visiting and commenting.... and I am so glad to be back w/ y'all at your link up. :)

  4. Emergencies and tragedies seem to come in pairs (at least). I know we suffered our own fair share when my son was born and spent 9 months in ICU. Still in the midst of our ordeal, I attended a doctoral program in clinical health psychology. My dissertation is on PTSD and being the parent of a child with chronic illness. There seems to be no doubt that traumatic situation take a toll. You seemed to have dealt with your situation with Grace. I think having a belief in a higher power (Grace of God) makes a huge difference. You can read our story at 5littlemonkeys - "Sam's story (changed by a child)

    1. Wow, you have been through a lot.... walking through the trial in such cases is so.... daily. When the big stuff happens, people jump to "be there", but the day by day walking through the hard stuff is some of the hardest and people don't realize the toll it takes. I don't know how we would do it w/o God's grace and strength for the trial. Thank you for visiting. :)

  5. Thank you for posting to Motivation Monday!