Sunday at the Hospital

This is Dave again, filling in for Cheryl.

I arrived at the hospital at about 9:15 in the morning with breakfast in hand for Cheryl and went straight to the ICU waiting room (I didn’t have a pass to get in and out of the ICU) I waited for someone to let me in and sat waiting for a while trusting that Cheryl would be coming out soon to get me…when I came into the hospital I had them call up to ICU to let Cheryl know that I was there.

I’m not sure how long I waited (maybe 10 minutes) then I went to the door leading to the ICU rooms hoping to make eye contact with someone to let me in…nothing…I looked at the door handle and thought it doesn’t hurt to try so I gave it a go and to my surprise it opened. The room was empty and so I asked the nurses what was going on. They told me that he was sent to radiology for his MRI. Wow! I was prepared for possibly Monday and here they’d got Joel in first thing Sunday morning.

So off to radiology I went, breakfast sandwiches and all…when I arrived I didn’t see Cheryl or anyone in the waiting area…strange…then a door opened and I was greeted by one of the staff who asked if I was Joel’s dad, I confessed and they let me in…again with breakfast in hand.
They were just putting him under general anesthetic as I walked in…what timing!

They said it would be about an hour or so, so we went to the hospital lobby (much more comfortable) to eat our cooling breakfast. We had our breakfast answered our cel phone and made some phone calls to keep family in the loop about the MRI that was going on at that time.

Joel’s surgeon was in a meeting that morning and we were told that he would look at the MRI after and would discuss it with us some time in the afternoon. As we chatted in the lobby we saw our star surgeon and he saw us right away…he was on his way out but came right over to talk to us. He said that the initial scan was done, he had a look at it and so far everything looked “clean”…they were doing contrasting for more detail and a final analysis of the scan would come in the afternoon. Praise God!!!! So on the phone we went to update our family and church family giving them all a play-by-play so that they could be encouraged and also know what to pray for.

The day before the surgeon told me that he thinks that he got it all…he looked carefully around during surgery to make sure that he got it all and couldn’t see anything. He told me that there were a couple of ventricles or veins (not sure what he called it) where he couldn’t “chase” the tumor but said he had what they called a “gross total”. We knew that he was happy with the surgery, so I took comfort in that…Cheryl was with Joel in recovery so she didn’t hear what the surgeon told me. She, although, heard from the ICU doctor that they didn’t think that they got it all. In radiology, before the scan, Cheryl heard that it was thought that only 90% was removed. So conflicting reports caused some confusion for us and food for worry…but I took more stock in the surgeon’s report to me after the surgery than the hear-say/guess work everywhere else. Driving to the hospital that morning I started thinking of what if there was something still in there…I had set my hopes on a clean sweep…it sounded that way…I knew that if I continued that pattern of thought that I would not be in a good place and that it wasn’t helpful in the least…so I rallied myself reminding myself of the facts…what the surgeon said…what I know about God: that He loves us, knew about this all along, not surprised about it in the least, that He is unlimited although we as humans are totally limited, He is in control, and that thousands are praying for us…we have the “Great Physician” on top of a world class surgeon…you can’t get better help than that. Good to go again.

The night before the surgery, after the emails, posting on the blog etc…I finally got to bed…after 3:00 am…I just wanted to sleep…I realized that I had not had any time in God’s Word that day and was going to shrug it off and get some rest…couldn’t live with that decision so I grabbed my Bible…I knew before I opened it that I was not going to continue in my normal reading…Jeremiah…too complicated, and I was hoping for some encouragement…epistles, nah…gospels…Psalms, now that was a good bet…the first thing I turned to was Psalm 68, may have been book marked with a scrap piece of paper, and the first thing I read was in verses 19 & 20 which reads:

“Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens.
Our God is a God who saves; from the Sovereign Lord comes escape from death.”

I read the verses immediately surrounding it looking for the context, but these 2 verses just stood out was nothing like the surrounding verses…regardless of context these words clearly illustrated the character of God and was comforted by that greatly.

Well I’m getting carried away with a lot of detail so I’ll speed up…
We went shopping for a few things and came back to Joel in the ICU still asleep from the MRI…over 2 hours since the MRI and still out of it…the nurse got busy with her best efforts to wake him up…there was a drug they could give him to reverse the sedation, but I appreciate the fact that Joel’s nurse worked very hard and got him up…he wanted to eat…a donut…a Boston Cream donut…the one we promised him for when we got out of emerg before learning about the tumor… First try something to drink…a popsicle…a little piece of the donut (I picked one up before I parked the car to come up) that I put to his lips…he wouldn’t have any of that, he wanted to do it all himself, mostly left handed and very sloppy. It took some time, but he got it all in and what he wasn’t wearing, he swallowed…awesome, no problem eating solids and swallowing…we were having visitors that afternoon and someone had a cell phone camera and caught the moment digitally…we are awaiting the image…priceless.

Early to mid afternoon the resident neurosurgeon came in to tell us that the final scan had been reviewed and confirmed that there was no trace of any tumor anywhere…awesome!!! Praise God !!! A big from Cheryl to the surgeon….the best medical info since the surgery, still waiting for pathology to see if it was malignant or not…please pray for good results…we understand that the likelihood of it being benine is slim but God is not limited to anything. We trust He will carry us through whatever might come, He has so far.

They pulled out his central line (tubes going into his neck into an artery) and his catheter late afternoon which required morphine…big ouch anyway…and the hallucinations began again…we discussed that with the nurse and will avoid that drug in the future.

We had some friends come by for a visit at the ICU…some from church…thanks again for the support, the gifts, conversations and most importantly your prayers. It was a good afternoon for news and to have familiar faces was great.

It was hard day at the same time…Joel was miserable, and understandably so…nothing seemed to please and was very frustrating for Cheryl because he only wanted her…wouldn’t take anything from me, and actually tried to bite my hand when I was trying to hold it. Please pray for Cheryl and the task at hand in directly and constantly caring for him…We have had offers, particularly from one household nearby for Cheryl and or myself to sleep at if we needed a place or just a quiet retreat…Cheryl is strongly considering that.

Supper was ordered for Joel and he, left handed because of his IV, hopped up on morphine, post brain surgery, independently ate his spaghetti and honey sandwich (the sandwich was his request). Again, like the donut, was a sight to see…no pictures though…what made it even more interesting was the spiders that weren’t there and the multiple apparitions of his brother Elijah…he misses his siblings…before the morphine he was asking to talk to Josh, so the nurse knew someone at switchboard to make it possible…Joel didn’t say much, but just hearing his brother’s voice seemed to calm him in the moment.

Joel was transferred from ICU to the general ward at about 10:00 last night…The days are expected to be difficult due to all the drugs to be worked out of his system especially the first 72 hour post op…so please remember Cheryl especially in your prayers…she needs whatever it takes as well as a good sleep. Up til last night she has been running on about 2 hours sleep since Friday…here’s hoping last night was fruitful for her in that department. Joel was finally asleep at 9:00 last night, even after the transfer to the general ward…what a relief.

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