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Saturday, October 12, 2013

Angels bring tidings of comfort and joy, campers, and yellow towels.

     The days began to turn into weeks at our stay at Primary Children's Hospital.  My days became routine and usually started with a shower in the morning in the common bathroom of the PICU waiting room. I didn't really mind the shower. It was the towels that bothered me.  They were course and felt a little bit like sand paper. They were all white and they had the same smell that Travis' sheets and blankets in his hospital bed had. All of the linens in the hospital had the same smell.  It's not a particularly bad smell, but it made me nauseous. I had never said this out loud to anyone, but I hated those towels.   Mostly my clothes were brought to me by my husband, or sometimes one of my brothers would gather some things and bring a bag.  I remember chuckling to myself as I pulled out of the bag my daily clothing selection...one of Travis' Houston Rockets t-shirts, and a pair of mens Texas Longhorn sweatpants.  My wardrobe wasn't exactly on the high priority list, at least it was comfortable and clean.  Another one of my neighbors one morning went to my house and gathered some make-up and brought it to me.  She said she was so worried about how awful I must have felt with no make-up with me at the hospital.  I thanked her for thinking of me and thought to myself make-up had not crossed my mind once.  Looking back, I can imagine what a sight I must have been.  I have very thick frizzy hair that gets really big and crazy when it's not had lots of products and hair tools working on it.  I can imagine between my wardrobe selections, my all natural no make up face, and my Diana Ross hair style, maybe I  should have taken the make up gesture a little more seriously.

     I would try and eat whatever someone brought me, I didn't actually feel hungry and couldn't remember most of the time if I had eaten or not.  I have always been a lover of food, and my husband would bring me different things from my favorite restaurants in town, hoping my appetite and ability to eat would return. I still had such a hard time chewing and swallowing food.  It seemed foreign to me, like my body had just forgotten how to do something that it has always done. I would try each day, and would feel guilty not eating the food that he went to so much effort to bring me.

     We would have visitors come everyday. Some from our neighborhood, some from church, family, longtime friends.  I could tell how hard it was for people to walk in and see Travis for the first time. You could see the shock and overwhelming sadness on their faces  when they would walk in.  I loved for them to come.  It brought so much peace and comfort to know so many people cared and were thinking about us and praying for Travis and our family.

     Travis' vitals and brain pressures had become stabilized  but he still was in a coma, still had spinal meningitis and c-diff and all of the complications and symptoms that go along with those issues and his injured brain.  He had been quarantined in a private room because the infections he had were contagious.  He had so many teams of doctors I began to lose count.  There was the pediatric neuro team, the infectious disease team, the physical therapy team, a nutrition team,  a respiratory team, and a child life team. They would have meetings every day to discuss the game plan and make sure everyone was on the same page.  It was all exhausting.  I still couldn't sleep and I know I was physically run down. It was hard for me to leave Travis' side and when I would go into the room they had for me, the pillows and blankets had that same hospital towel smell.  I would feel sick. I didn't mention this to anyone, I didn't want to add worry to our loved ones that were already brimming over with worry about Travis.  I desperately wanted to sleep and began to privately add to my prayers for Travis, that I would be able to find a way to get some sleep.

     I also began to miss my two younger boys Cade, and Rhett. They were four and 15 months at the time.  I was used to being with them every part of the day, and I missed them so much it hurt.  My friends at church and my neighbors had organized a group of ladies to babysit for them everyday and they would give me the calendar to let me know where they were.  I missed taking care of them and giving them their baths and reading to them. I missed putting them to bed and their little hands in mine. I missed our family being under the same roof so much.  I remember thinking, I would be happy living in a tent if it meant we could all be together under one roof.  I realized during those moments, that is what Heaven is to me.  Our family being together.

     I would email daily usually an update about Travis. People from all over the country and even a few not in our country,  from all different faiths sent me messages of encouragement and told me they were praying for Travis.  Some people even told me because of Travis they started praying again after years, and others visited their church again for the first time in years.  I couldn't believe the army of people who had banned together to pray for our family.  I was always moved to tears every time I would read the emails.

    People brought us many things that were so appreciated, food, books, bottled water, soothing cd's, gift cards, gas cards, so many things I couldn't list them all.  One day a dear friend of mine, Pamela McCoy came by to visit.  She brought me a gift and handed to me in a large Dillard's bag.  She said "you may think this is a silly gift, but I thought it might come in handy."  In the bag was One large plush  yellow  towel and several matching hand towels and wash cloths.  She said, "Don't worry, they are clean, I took them home and washed them , and even added some Downy fabric softener"   Tears began to roll down my face.  I took the soft towels out and breathed in that downy fresh scent.  She could have brought me a bag of gold and it wouldn't have meant more to me than those yellow towels.  I will never forget those towels, and the message of love that they were to me.  I knew that my prayers were heard.  I felt my Savior's love, I knew that He knew how much I loathed those hospital towels, even though I had never said it out loud.

      Another day a friend of ours came by the hospital and said he knew someone who had a camper.  It was small but thought some of our family that was in town might be able to use it. He brought it to the hospital parking lot and parked it. My Mom and Dad were still in town from Texas, and it was perfect for them to stay in at night. They didn't have to travel far from the hospital and they could stay close by.  One afternoon my Dad looked at me and said "Why don't you go and take a nap in the camper in the parking lot?" I had a private bed reserved for me in the hospital, and I had not really left the fourth floor much since we had been there.  I didn't want to be out of range of the hospital intercom in case they needed me for something with Travis.  My Mom said she would stay right next to Travis' bed and my Dad promised he would come and get me if anything came up.  I reluctantly agreed.  I walked outside of the hospital for the first time since we had walked into it,  and the sun seemed unusually bright.  It was still spring in Utah, and there was quite a chill in the air.  I found the camper in the parking lot and climbed in.  It had heavy blankets in it that smelled like a camp fire.  I could tell the camper had been used for camping, I could almost smell the woods inside of it.  I didn't know who the camper belonged to, but I could imagine a family in it cooking and playing games.  The warmth of the afternoon sun had made the inside of it warm and toasty.  I crawled under the big blankets, the smells reminded me of all of the camp outs my Dad had taken us on as kids. The next thing I knew I woke up and it was dark outside.  I had been in a deep sleep for hours.

      The Lord asked us to love one another.  He told us that "By this shall men know that ye are my disciples"  To this day I don't know who the camper belonged to.  I wish the owners of it knew what an answer to my prayers it was.  I will never forget the army of angels that came to our rescue in so many ways.  Most of all, I will never forget the One who sent them.
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1 comment

  1. It has taken me a while to get the guts to read this. It is so inspiring Missy! Those months changed my perspective on life. I have learned how much God strengthens and blesses his children through life's trials and how many people are inspired to act on a prompting. I am so grateful to know you and your amazing family.
    We sure love and miss all of you,
    Naleta Mellor

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