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Wednesday, October 2, 2013

He Calms Storms

     Primary Children's Medical Center became our home, the pediatric intensive care unit would be where we spent most of our time in our new home. The hospital was an interesting place, almost like a Universe that you didn't know existed until you accidentally fell into it's galaxy.  Sickness and pain are hard to watch in anyone, but when it's children that are suffering, and suffering children are all around you, it's life changing.  There is really not words to describe what it's like to be in a community of suffering, broken, tattered little angels everywhere.  The most delicate of those broken angels were in the PICU with Travis.  The PICU was  a long corridor with beds lining each side of the room. They were open except for a curtain that could be pulled around the patient for privacy.  I was a little surprised at how visible each child was, and how close we all were to each other.  Since our stay, they have built individual rooms, but when we were there, it was all open. There was a tangible feeling in the room, almost like it was a holy or sacred place.  Actually, exactly like it was holy and sacred.   My husband had a hard time walking in the unit.  It was almost unbearable for him to see such suffering all around us, and to be helpless.  For me, I didn't seem to notice the other children so much until Travis' brain pressure's and fever had began to stabilize somewhat.  Travis was still in a coma, still had spinal meningitis, still in very critical condition, but he was at least not getting worse.  It was then that I began to be aware of the others around us.  People that would impact me and I will remember all of my life.

     There was the three year old girl that was playing in the bathtub and slipped under the water for a little bit too long.  She too had a brain injury and was in a coma.  She had young teenage parents who elected to take her off the breathing machine,  she was expected not to make it. Her parents left and never came back.  She did make it.  She breathed on her own and her heart continued to beat with no family around her to celebrate.  The nurses all championed around her, and so did my Dad.  The nurses started asking him to come pray over this little angel each day, which he did.  When I was next to her,  I felt a peace and a warmth so strong that I loved to be near her.  She seemed to have this giant spirit in her little body.  I couldn't see anyone, but I could sense the presence of angels around her bed.  She was still there when we left.

    There was the boy next to us that came in during the night.  He was around 13 or 14 maybe with almost white hair and freckles.  He was playing in his football game and collapsed on the field.  He was brought in and it had been discovered that he was in advanced stages of leukemia.  He was also in a coma.  He was beautiful and looked like a linebacker angel with freckles lying there. I wanted to hold him. We prayed for him, his family prayed for Travis.

     There was the 14 year old girl who came in with a head injury and broken bones and punctures to her lungs.  She was playing in her front yard, when a reckless care spun out of control and hit her while she was playing.  She had a similar brain injury to Travis and I began checking on her frequently to see how she was doing.  Her sweet family also began checking on Travis frequently and we began to pray together each day for our children and the others in the hospital.  Each day she seemed to get worse, and her parents heart along with mine was breaking.  My parents had come from Texas to be with us, and they seemed to find a comforting presence in my Dad.  They would ask him to come and pray over her each day, which he did.  After several weeks, her delicate lungs gave up.  She stopped suffering, and our friends were no longer residents with us at the hospital.  There is not words to express the sadness I felt that this little angel hadn't made it.  I also didn't have a chance to say goodbye to her family before they left, and I hadn't thought to get any contact information from them.
The next couple of days I thought about them throughout the day and night and wished I could be at their daughters funeral. I was so worried about how they were doing. It was reported about on the news, and I was at least able to hear a little bit about it.  The next day I was sitting by Travis' bed listening to the sound of the ventilator and in walks her family.  They came to check on Travis, and to see how WE were doing.

     A few days later I was walking in the PICU, punching in my code to open the doors and I heard the words in my mind to "smile, and be of good cheer"  I was still sleeping less than a couple of hours a night, and still could barely eat any food. I certainly didn't feel like smiling.  I thought it was kind of an odd thought to have. Suddenly the past few weeks passed through my mind as I walked through the doors and I realized all of the small milestones Travis had made. One little miracle after another. How each time I thought I might not be able to handle it, I would be calmed, feel at peace.  I thought about all of the kindness of others that had been given to my family.  I thought about how much love I had for my husband and each of our children.  I didn't think I had the capacity to love my family more, but since the day of Travis' accident my heart grew, and I loved them a thousand times more than I did the day before.  I had a smile on my face. I went in and sat by Travis and put my hand on his.

     I noticed a young couple, with their tiny little peanut newborn were next to us.  Their brand new baby girl had a big hole in her heart and was going into surgery shortly, for the first of many operations she would have to have on her tiny little heart.  I spoke with her Mom briefly, but they left shortly after for the surgery.  Late that evening they were back with their tiny angel, and she came up to me and hugged me.  I was a little surprised. Tears began to run down her face. She explained that she had been struggling that morning and was having a hard time having any faith, she felt angry with God, wondering how he could let something so awful happen to her baby.  She told me she had prayed for help and said she heard the words in her mind to "smile and be of good cheer."  She said she thought she was crazy and didn't feel like smiling.  She said she looked up and saw me sitting next to my sons bed, holding his hand with a smile on my face.  She said immediately a warmth came over her and she felt at peace that everything was going to be o.k. She thanked me again for smiling.

     I have read the stories of Jesus since I was a little girl.  My Grandmother Sally used to tell me a story about Jesus walking on water and calming the waves in a storm.  She told me about Him walking the streets of Galilee, and healing the sick.  I didn't know that one day I would be in my own drowning storms, and sinking, at different times in my life.  I didn't know I would be desperate for that same healing balm of Gilead that was given so many years ago.  I have learned during my stay in the PICU,  that He still calms storms.


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