Hi friends, Thanksgiving, a time to get together with family and friends and share a big, hearty meal and enjoy each other’s company. It’s also a time to reflect on our lives and think about what we have to be thankful for.
It’s certainly been some time since I’ve had a chance to write and touch base with you, so I thought this would be a good time to bring you up to date on what’s been happening in my life.
I haven’t written in my blog since last April. Can you believe that? Last April my husband began having heart symptoms and in May he had to have open heart surgery to replace his aortic valve and also a triple by-pass. This surgery had to be done in a large hospital and that meant we had to travel a distance from our home. So, as it turned out he had to stay in the hospital for 19 days. I stayed by his side the first 11 or so days, then I went home for a day or two, then back and forth with family. My eyes are bad and I couldn’t drive in the city, so had to depend on others to get me back and forth.
During his recovery time in the hospital which was only suppose to be 5 to 7 days, he had some setbacks. The first one was A-fib. While he was in ICU his heart started racing and being erratic. They gave him medication for this. At the same time our pastor and his wife came to visit and to take me out for dinner. (They thought I needed to get out of that place for a little bit. Bless their hearts!) Anyway, before we went our pastor prayed for Charlie and his heart racing problem. Then we left. They dropped me off at the hospital in a couple of hours and I went up to ICU to check on my hubby. The young man who was caring for him told me about his heart acting up and that they were watching it. I checked the monitor and I said, “It doesn’t look to me like it is irregular now.” He looked, “You are right! Just a minute.” He took the long strips of paper the machine spits out that showed his heart rhythm and ran down through it. “It looks like it has been okay now for a while, look here.” I looked and agreed. Praise God! I’m so thankful that God answered our prayer, and that his heart beat became regular again. It’s been okay ever since.
They moved him to his own room the next day. Things went along pretty well and they scheduled him to go to a nursing home for a week or so to get stronger before actually coming home. That sounded pretty good and I was pleased as it was near our home and I could commute myself there. The next morning I came to his room with my suitcase in tow. I was more than ready to go home. But, guess what? Yes, a problem had cropped up. He was allergic to the heparin they had given him during surgery and afterwards to keep his blood thin. It worked just the opposite and thickened up his blood. It is called HIT. The blood gets kind of clogged up and it can cause blood clots. Nice! They called in the specialists, and got him off the heparin and put him on another kind of thinner. He would have to be in the hospital for several more days because the heparin actually ate up his platelets and he was in bad shape. The platelets are what control clotting I believe. Anyway, another crisis.
I alerted several to pray for him and I continued to pray. The good news is that the platelet count began coming up and it took another week or so to get them back up to normal. Praise the Lord it worked. And, I’m so thankful that problem showed up before they had shipped us off to the nursing home. It most likely would not have been found there and the outcome would have been bad. Another thing to be very thankful for.
Finally, Charlie came home. By that time he didn’t have to go to a nursing home first as he had gotten a bit stronger. He had some physical therapy in the hospital and that helped. We got him physical therapy, a visiting nurse, and occupational therapy at home for a few weeks.
Another problem! He was all bloated up when he came home. I could hardly get his shoes on and his pants would not button. But, he was coming home and we were both happy about that. The visiting nurse had a fit about how bloated he was all over. She contacted the doctor and got him some Lasix and potassium. He began taking that and overnight he lost 6 lbs. He kept losing weight and fluid, but they thought his lung sounded like it wasn’t working. So, back to the hospital! (I thank the Lord for his brother and his wife because they took us back and forth several times.) He had to have the fluid drained from around his lung and they got out over a liter of fluid. After that he started feeling better. More thanks to God for all He has done. He got him through it. And, he got me through it. Praise the Lord!
Also, I am thankful that the kids came an helped out a lot. They brought me back and forth to the hospital some. They came while he had his surgery. They came every evening they could. I’m very thankful for them and love them that much more for what they did. They were very helpful and supportive. Friends and neighbors visited and people sent such nice cards and notes of comfort and love. God showed me how much people cared. I thank Him for that.
Another crisis we had happened when he got home. They had put him on Coumadin in the hospital before coming home. That was to keep his blood thin so that clots didn’t form. Anyway, they told me the dosage for each day, and then we were to have the visiting nurse check it by a blood test. She came and pricked his finger for the test. Well, at the hospital they thought she was taking blood out of his arm like a regular blood test, therefore, the results were not read the same. (I know this is confusing.) But, then the doctor’s office from the hospital would call me to let me know how much medication to give him. Well, they weren’t on the same page, so that threw it all off. (Of course, I wasn’t aware of all of this.)
The day we had to go to the hospital to get the fluid drained they checked his blood there and it was way off. It was so thin that he could have hemmoraged easily. They tried to get his blood out of his arm, but the vein would not cooperate. I said, “Why don’t you just prick his finger like the visiting nurse does at home?” They all looked at each other. “She just did a finger prick? She didn’t take it from his arm?” the nurse said. “How much medication did he have last night?” I told them. They did not dare punch him with the needle to remove the fluid. They told us to go home, do not let him hit his head, do not let him get cut, and on and on. If we saw any blood anywhere to get him to an ER right away. Yes, they unnerved me! So, we went home and I prayed all the way we wouldn’t get in an accident. That’s all we would need! I didn’t give him any medication that night. We had to wait another day, and then bring him back to get the procedure done. I told Charlie, “Don’t even cut your finger nails will you.” He said, “I already did.” Gulp. Whew, he didn’t cut himself. Praise the Lord! God kept him safe through all of this! I’ve never been more thankful!
There were a few other things that went wrong, but God got us through it all, as He as promised. He said, “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” I sat there hours in the hospital and I felt the peace of God that passes understanding. Even when the times got rough. I knew He was by my side.
There were many blessing along the way and I’m so very grateful. One was when I went to the desk to pay for the room I’d been staying in over at the guest house near the hospital. I gave the lady my key. She said, “Thank you and turned away.” So, I asked her how much I owed. I had it figured roughly in my head, but wanted to know for sure. She said, “You don’t owe anything, it’s been taken care of.” Wow! What a blessing! I’m so thankful for people who are not selfish and help out in times of need like this. That took a lot of the pressure off.
Another expense when staying at a hospital is for food. I ate all my meals at the hospital cafeteria. And, they really had good food. That alone helped the stay. I had many meals paid for by friends and family. Another praise as God touched their hearts to help out in that way. Little things mean a lot actually.
Here is a song that I would like you to listen to. It blessed my heart today as I listened. Just notice all the things that we can thank God for. The good and the bad. I pray all of you will have a blessed and thankful Thanksgiving.