This title came to mind about a month ago, without any idea of this post.
This week it has come together. For two weeks Jerry was really going down. Last Saturday and Sunday he slept non-stop except to get up for what was necessary. After eating, he was so tired and weak that he had to lie down. He would not let me call 911 even though at times he was a little short of breath. He said that Dr. Jackson, his primary care physician would put him in the hospital when he went for his scheduled appointment on Monday morning.
We left the doctor’s office after an x-ray and blood work, with the instructions that they would call us in thirty minutes with the results. At first, we thought about going home fifteen minutes away, but he decided he wanted a Sonic burger. While he ate, I ran into Publick’s for fruit. We sat in the parking lot to wait for the call. The phone rang.
Tyler, the nurse told me Dr. Jackson wanted to talk to me. The bad news was that Jerry’s hemoglobin was down to 6. The last check was good at 13. He sent us to ER to get a blood transfusion. I was thankful that Jerry had lunch already. I hadn’t, but at times like these, even at my age, I seem to run on stored fuel. We checked into a crowded waiting room around 1:00. As usual, for the past twelve years, we had to find a parking place for Jerry’s wheelchair out of the way of other patients. And, it is usually a place where we have full view of all that is happening.
From triage for vital signs; waiting again for more blood work (they like to have their own and for more testing than the doctor’s staff did), we went back to the waiting room until an examining room was available.
During our waiting, we were privy to the sounds of names being called, coughing, babies crying, a two-year-old tantrum twice, and security officers coming and going. But during all this, I knew the Lord’s presence there. Even though Jerry has lost much of his hearing, (getting a hearing aid is at the bottom of our list) we had time to communicate as i sat close to his right ear.
We watched as a mother who was there with her sick teen-age daughter take a snack to the screaming child. When a daughter became impatient because her mother was not getting the attention she wanted, she complained to a security officer. Soon after, another woman there with her son walked over to the impatient daughter to show her something on her IPhone.
It was a blessing to see that most of the patients were accompanied by a loved one. But one man got tired of waiting. When his name was called, someone said that he had left. The security officer and the other staff member went outside looking for him. There were other interesting patients, some with the whole family accompanying.
Well, we waited longer, but no room was ever available. (The last time we came on our own we sat in the hallway outside the ER rooms with the overflow of patients. You get immediate attention when you call 911.)
They finally took us back to the same hallway as our last visit, but this time gurneys were lined up next to the wall, where Jerry lay while they continued their exam. We probably repeated why he was there at least ten times. There was a steady stream of doctors and nurses passing through the hall where they started the IV for the first transfusion.
We finally met the ER doctor, a young attractive woman who had passed by before. I thought she was a nurse. A doctor from the hospital talked with us about any signs of blood. Another one walked by two or three times with his hands in his pockets. Three student nurses walked single file past us several times. Jerry called them the three musketeers. A patient down the hall waited with his feet exposed and his head covered.
When the IV spilled when Jerry bent his arm, the techs were very compassionate and started another IV in his other arm. I was impressed of how well they all worked together, especially in such close quarters.
Volunteer pink ladies stopped to see if I needed anything. Water was enough for the time being. Our daughter, Lee came and waited until they took him upstairs to a room at 8:30. I came home just before dark, ate, got a shower and went to bed. She was there part of every day so that I had a respite.
He was taken off all three blood-thinners and Tuesday we understood the possibility of internal bleeding, with the suggestion for a colonoscopy.
He received a second transfusion on Tuesday, while they kept doing lab tests. Thankfully, they were putting in more than they were taking out.
We came home late Wednesday afternoon with plans for home health care until Jerry is stronger. If his hemoglobin does not return to normal even without the blood thinners, we will look at the options for further testing.
This was our fourth visit to ER in this new hospital. With all the doctor’s visits and close calls, we are reminded that whatever we must endure, God is present, with us through it all. It is in these times that we see the reality of His presence with others, hospital staff and patients working through the everyday trials of this world. More and more, we learn to wait patiently to see what the Lord’s plans are for us, and how we may help others through their difficulties. On elevators, with the staff ministering to Jerry and others, there are people who need the Light of Christ; a kind word, a smile, peace and patience where there is chaos. A touch of gentleness and compassion is sometimes better than medicine.
During Jerry’s blood transfusion, especially when it was spilled, I was reminded of the blood of Christ our Lord, spilled for us that saves us for eternity. We are thankful for the blood Jerry received from a donor, but it would not save his life. Jesus gave His blood to give us eternal life. How grateful we are to our Creator and Redeemer for all that He has done, is doing, and promises in the future.
Gracious Father, there was more to these last few days than I can recall and write, but as always, you are wherever we are. In the hallways of our lives, in the waiting rooms, in our yesterdays, the present days, future days and forever, your grace, your word are real. We thank you for Jerry’s care this week and that we will know your plans for him as you reveal them. We thank you that all is for your glory and our good. We praise you in the name of Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen.