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Saturday, November 2, 2013

What's wrong with hard?

     The days, nights and weeks seemed to all run together into one endless blur.  It was hard to keep track of time when there was no longer routine or schedule in our lives.  Travis' was still on a ventilator, still on a long list of meds to keep him in an induced coma, still having high fevers, still had spinal meningitis, his C-diff symptoms were still keeping his nurses on their toes 24-7. Actually it was two nurses whom each stayed with him 12 hours each.  Seven a.m. to seven p.m.  Christy in the day time, and Audrey in the night hours.  Sometimes they would come in early to be with Travis, both of them would stay late to make sure everything was done for him before they left.  They would call on their days off to check on him.  I don't think I could have handpicked two better nurses in the world to care for Travis. I think Christy was  somewhere in her fifties, she had dark brown hair, and eyes to match.  She would make sure that every inch of Travis body was clean and that he was as comfortable as possible. There was not a detail she left unattended.  Audrey was in her twenties with blonde hair and blue eyes and was always cheerful and smiling. She was someone Travis would have liked to hang out with.  She was upbeat and seemed to adore Travis.  It seemed like she could tell his personality even though she had never interacted with him other than while he was unconscious.  I grew to love each of these women and trusted them immensely with our sons care. 
     We were in an isolated room in the PICU because of the infectious nature of what Travis had now.  We had to wear gowns, gloves and masks at all times in the room with him. I missed being home so much.  I missed our daily routines.  I missed reading stories to my kids.  I missed making dinner.  I missed hearing my boys wrestling and running through the house.  I missed seeing my little boys in their PJ's and messy hair in the mornings.  I missed hearing about my husband's day at work.  I missed eating dinner with him.  I missed putting my cold feet on him at night.  I missed our life.

     The ladies from my church and neighborhood became an army of angels that took care of every detail of our family's life.  They managed all of the things in our home. They took over my job.   They arranged meals for my family every night.  Ladies took turns doing our laundry and cleaning our home.  They organized a calendar for childcare and gave me a copy so I would know who had our children each day.  The men did our yard work and when it snowed they shoveled that too.    I don't have words for how appreciative we are for all of those angels that stepped into our lives and cared for us.  They will never be forgotten, and have taught me what it really means to be a disciple of Christ.

     Travis had a constant stream of medical teams, physicians and medical students throughout the day and night coming in his room.  It was a teaching hospital and one night a group came in and they pulled up the images of Travis' cat scan on a large screen.  They were pointing out the extensive damage that was there.  Almost the entire left side of his brain was damaged with some damage also to his frontal lobe and some to the right side, and some shearing had also occurred.  The magnitude of the amount of damage his brain had suffered suddenly became a reality to me.   The nurses who loved Travis so much had been telling me that he would not likely be able to do much more than he was currently doing in a coma.  The doctors continued to confirm these same prognosis.  The amount of damage that was caused to his brain from the impact of the accident was severe.  They told us once his fevers stayed below 101 and if they could get the bacteria in his blood to stop growing, and his brain and blood pressures to stabilize, they could start weaning him off of the meds and see if his lungs could breath on their own once again. We would see if he would wake up.

      I would sit by Travis' bed most of the day and night.  The clock had ticked late into the hours of the night and  I started to think back to the piano recital he had performed just a few  days before his accident. It seemed like a lifetime ago.  I remember him complaining that the piece he was learning (Pachelbel's Canon) was SO hard, he didn't think he could do it.  I told him to just keep practicing and eventually he would get it.  He continued to complain, and finally I asked him "What's wrong with hard Travis?"  I told him we could do hard things.  He had help if he needed it, he had learned other hard things and it's ok to struggle for a while with something. Hard is o.k.  I had this conversation with him on other occasions and had asked the same question to my other kids at different times.  What's wrong with hard? I would ask.  They knew that meant they had to keep trying.  They knew that meant I wasn't going to let them off the hook and would have to stick with it.  I would always reassure them that I would help them however I could, they didn't have to do whatever the challenge was by themselves.   I was thinking about how I wished I could take this away from Travis this time.  I looked at his perfect tan little body and emotion overcame me.  I began to weep and wished with everything that I had, that I could take it away, or switch places with him and do it for him.
       I started to think about another perfect body that I had read and studied about since I was a child.  I thought of our Savior Jesus Christ's body.  I thought about how he was criticized and his body was tortured.  How he was falsely accused and made to go with out food and water.  I thought of his back being beaten and the bloody stripes his enemies left behind.  I thought of the large nails that were  pounded into his hands and feet.  The thorn of crowns that would dig deep into his scalp,  as he thirsted and was offered only vinegar to drink.
      I began to weep even more.  Suddenly a new perspective came to me that I had not previously considered.  I had always thought and pondered the sacrifice that Jesus Christ had made for mankind.  It had never occurred to me how hard it might have been for our Heavenly Father,  to watch his perfect  Firstborn Son suffer.  I thought of the agony it must have been to have His only begotten Son asking Him to remove the bitter cup...not my will but thine. 
      Through my sobs and tears I began to pray and ask God how such a thing could be done?  How can I sit by and watch the suffering? How could He have watched His Son suffer and not take it away?   I heard the words come into my mind  "What's wrong with hard?"  "You too can do hard things." "I will not leave you comfortless,  I will not leave you alone"  I had an overwhelming feeling of warmth and peace wrap around me.  I felt a sense of love from above that I had never experienced before.  The scripture "For God so loved the world that He sent His only Begotten Son" had a new meaning to me.  I realized  what a sacrifice it was for Him to give mankind this gift and to watch His Son suffer and die, so that we could all live.  I realized I was not alone, and Travis was not alone.  I knew the road ahead would be a hard one.  I didn't know exactly what the road would be like, but in my heart I knew there would be one.  However hard it might be,  I was thankful to be allowed to walk down that road.
     
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