Family Life

Miracles at Christmas

The Christmas Season is full of celebrations, we celebrate Christ’s Birthday through the spirit of giving, we celebrate with family and friends, and sometimes we are blessed with a Christmas Miracle.  In the past I’ve written about the miracle of my mom’s health scare 10 years ago that should have taken her from us, but by God’s Grace she lived and is still living today!

Today I’m writing and celebrating my father’s Christmas Miracle.

My siblings and I got a call on Sunday, November 19th from our mom that my dad had emergency surgery for appendicitis. My first thought was “what are we going to do about my mom?”  She has a condition called drop-foot, so it makes it hard for her to get around. She uses a walker and my dad did a lot for her. She can’t drive, and falls easily due to this condition, so someone should be with her at all times.

That worry turned to fear when we received a call from our cousin, who lives 45 minutes away, and had come down to check on my mom, and ran to the hospital to check the status of our dad.  She said that the nurse told her that our dad was VERY, VERY SICK. And that he was on life-support.

It’s the Sunday before Thanksgiving, what do we do in terms of who goes? In the past Joe and I would hop in the car with kids in tow.  But now we have to consider our jobs, what do I do about my job, I’m only part-time therefore don’t have sick time or personal days, and I’ve used my vacation time. Now that the kids are older and also work, it was a different decision process.

Joe was actually on vacation for the week, but Joey and Tony both had to work, a lot, due to they both work retail. And to make matters more complicated, Joey was literally starting his new job that Wednesday. I hated to pull him from school and have him call his new boss and say “oh by the way I can’t come in to work.” We also have two dogs, and with the kids both working long and late hours, who would watch them.  Now some might think “well it’s your father’s health there’s nothing more important than that!”  And this is very true,  but in reality these were all situations that we had to think about.

In the end my sister and I hopped in the car and drove to Louisville, picked up my brother who flew there and we continued on. We have made this trip countless times, hundreds of times, but somehow we ended up taking a wrong turn and ended up on the back roads of Kentucky! Siri took us on a ride through a mountain, through small towns, and finally to the hospital!

My dad was hooked up to life-support which meant he was on Propofol,  which basically had him in an induced coma. He had so many different meds! Of course all needed to heal his body. The doctor felt that due to the severity of the infection, his appendix must have burst a couple days before he went to the hospital.  My dad has heart disease, A-Fib, and COPD.  He stopped smoking 8 years ago, but the damage had already been done. This is the main reason they couldn’t get him off the ventilator.

My brothers both left for a couple days to be with their families for Thanksgiving. Why should all 4 of us stay, there hadn’t been a lot of change.

On Thursday, Thanksgiving Day, he hadn’t improved. They had tried twice to remove life-support, both times to no avail. They said his body was so sick and weak. My sister and I put together a basket of fruit and candy to take to the staff on the ICU that we’re taking care of our dad.img_0180

After spending most of the day at the hospital we picked up our mom and went to Cracker Barrel for Thanksgiving dinner. It was very good! Not Joe’s dressing or Mike’s turkey, but good! 😊

om and dad have wonderful neighbors who really love them.  One of the neighbors came over while we were there, just to check in on both my mom and my dad, he told them that he would do anything for them.  Another neighbor visited the hospital but they were only allowing immediate family, probably because there were so many of us there. They later told us that we are only suppose to have 2 visitors at a time during the day and one at night.  Oops.

Friday morning my sister and I were at the hospital and asked his nurse what she felt his prognosis was, she told us that he was still very, very sick and then she disappeared, only to return with a surgeon, not my dad's surgeon but a surgeon that have been on the floor. He told us that our father wasn't improving, he was actually doing worse. It was time to start considering options. He said our family should have a pow-wow to discuss removing the life-support, but wait until Monday. He told us that when life support is removed my father's heart would probably not make it, and he would die from heart failure! Our hearts were broken! 💔

My sister was with my Mom on Saturday morning so I ran up to see how he was doing, I walked into my dad's room and the tech from respiratory therapy was there. He had temporarily turned off the respirator, I asked what he was doing!! He said he had orders to try and wean him.  Prior to this we were told that his blood gas numbers had to be at a certain level before they would try to wean him.  Who gave these orders?? The weaning wasn't happening because his blood gas number wasn't good enough!  What changed??

The thing was HE WAS BREATHING ON HIS OWN! A woman pulmonologist walked in to the room and said "Hi, I'm Sandy! The weekend Pulmonologist. I'm cleanup!" Okay, nice to meet you Sandy!

I called my sister who was with my mom and asked them to get to the hospital as quickly as possible because they would only have my dad off the respirator for an hour. And that he was TALKING! He knew me!

As soon as my mom and sister got to the hospital my mom looked at Dr. Sandy and said "I know you!" My mom had been to see Dr. Sandy in the past! Before this day, almost a week after my dad's surgery, we hadn't even met his pulmonologist! Not once! Needless to say, Dr. Sandy is my father's new Pulmonologist!

As we were in the room talking to her she decided to go ahead and remove the respirator tube! She figured since he was doing well without it, why keep him on it. Now his blood gas test wasn't good, neither were his blood pressure or heart rate, but she figured they're not good with it so why not remove it. We stepped out of the room and within minutes we were back with him, and he was talking and breathing. Over the course of the day and night he required a bi-pap machine, but not for long. He's now on an oxygen mask occasionally. It's a Miracle!  Thanksgiving Morning I called the Church in town and asked for Holy Water. 💦  We sprinkled it on him and said many prayers. We also received a prayer shawl, made by a ministry at Holy Apostles, which we laid on him. When the hospital chaplain asked if he could come in to pray with us, my dad agreed. My dad wasn’t a religious man, but he said yes to the Chaplain.   img_0339 When I brought the Holy Water in the room, I set it on the window ledge.  One of the nurses asked me,  “may I ask what that is?” I said, it’s not moon shine, it’s Holy Water.  She laughed and said, “good, cuz you wouldn’t believe the things I’ve seen people bring in here.”

My daughter and her family went up today, Monday, and he was talking, had breakfast (jello) and asking all kinds of questions. My brother took my mom up and he was thrilled to see her, and vice-versa! They are one person after all! They might kill me for posting this picture but they are both beautiful! It’s been a roller coaster ride this past week. And we certainly aren’t out of the woods, but we have HOPE and Christmas!! A time for MIRACLES! *COPD is caused by several things, one of them is smoking, others include exposure to chemicals or irritants or have a genetic predisposition to it.  If you smoke, please consider stopping, if not for yourself, for your family.


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