The Christian Scriptures say that, “Laughter is good medicine”. Sadly, it’s often in short supply in homes where a Caregiver and their LO lives. Dr. Natalie in her, Careblazer’s Survival Guide, says that we should strive to find humor wherever we can. Her example is when your LO is being insulting and rude you could think, “Well, her brain may be damaged, but her mouth still works.” I’m sure we’ve all been in situations where a room is filled with anger and tension, and then someone cracks a joke and things calm down.
When someone is………
We interrupt this blog for an apologetic announcement!!
Today is Wednesday, and because of a family crisis I do not have today’s Caregiver Survival Blog finished. Let me explain.
Last Friday Harriet, our son Zach, his wife Gina and I went on a weekend trip to Toronto Canada, to visit Gina’s parents. We had only been at Gina’s folks for a short while when my younger sister, Debbie called. My dad had been in the hospital, in Fort Myers, Florida, since the previous Sunday and was being treated for pneumonia. On Thursday he was having excruciating pain in his abdomen. Dr. Rishi Ramlogan, a Gastroenterologist, had ordered a CAT Scan to see what the problem might be. On Friday, he came in and said that it looked like there was blockage in the small intestine and the blockage neededto be removed. Surgery was scheduled for around 2:00 o’clock. Debbie was calling to let me know how the surgery went.
Things were much worse than we ever could have imagined. When Dr. Ramlogan got in the abdominal cavity and started to look around, he found, not blockage as he had thought, but places where the intestine was completely dead. He showed my sisters the pictures of the black and purple areas. If there had only been a few dead spots he could have surgically removed them and repaired the remaining intestines. Sadly, he had counted twenty-four areas of dead tissue. He thought that a lack of blood flow had caused the death of so much tissue, that there was nothing more he could do. It was just a matter of time before gangrene set in destroying the intestine and bringing dad’s death. He figured dad had three to ten days to live. However, he promised to have a Vascular Surgeon look over the case. Debbie told me, “You need to get down here right away.”‘
I flew out of Toronto the next morning, had a layover in Cleveland, Ohio, and flew into Fort Myers at 6:30 that evening. I was rushed to the hospital and found my dad in good spirits. He asked me how I was and then remarked about how much weight I had gained since he last saw me. He really didn’t seem that sick to me. We all stayed there until 11PM and went to his house to spend the night.
VThe next morning was Easter Sunday and I attended Worship Service at St. Vincent de Paul. On the way to the hospital I picked up my Nephew Chris, who was going to stream the service from the First Assembly of God. Dad loves Dan Betzer, the pastor of the Assembly of God. When we got to the hospital Debbie and Sharon were very happy and said, “A Vascular Surgeon stopped by and said that Dr. Ramlogan had asked him to examine dad and see if there was anything he could do. He feels it might be possible to restore enough blood flow to the intestines, by putting in a stent, so that dad would be able to recover.”
Later that morning, a Cat Scan was performed but was not able to see much because of all the gas that they put in his abdomen during the prior laparoscopic surgery. The next day, on Monday they did a pet scan and the doctor said he would speak to us after the results came in.
Tuesday morning, he sent word that the pet scan showed an adequate blood flow to that area and surgery would not be necessary. Dad’s case was then handed over to a cardiologist.
Dr. Ramlogan stopped by that evening and asked if he could continue to follow dad’s case. He said, “Your dad’s healing is inexplicable. What I saw was little to no blood flow with dead and dying tissue. And yet the latest scan shows good blood flow and whereas on Saturday I couldn’t hear any movement in that bowel, today it sounds like things are working just fine. I’m going to put in an order that puts your dad on a liquid diet, which progresses to solid food.”
Debbie asked, “You said the recovery is inexplicable, could it be an error in diagnosis?” Dr. Ramlogan answered, “I would rather say it’s a miracle.” “Wait,” Debbie interrupted, “is this something I can rely on?” “I’m not sure what you mean, but I have no other explanation than to say, God showed up and overruled my prognosis.”
You can imagine there was a lot of joy, and happiness. Today is Thursday morning and dad is eating solid food and as soon as he has a bowl movement will be released.
For us, who struggle day after day, with a LO with Dementia, the thought would come to mind, “Why would God heal a 93-year-old man and yet seemingly ignore the prayers for thousands of people with dementia.” The same God that healed my dad could obviously heal my wife. To me THAT is inexplicable.
Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate Dad’s healing, and I appreciate the strength that God gives me to walk the Caregiver vocation out day by day. But I also know what lies ahead and it is not a pretty sight. So, what gives? I believe that the ways of God are beyond our finding out. That is, God would say, “What I do is my business not yours, continue to pray and walk out your calling.” That’s what I get out of the book of Job.
Let me finish by saying, our son, who suffers with Bipolar disorder, and alcoholism, told the family, “I want to believe in God, and I prayed and said, “God if you are there would you do something to show yourself to me? I guess he answered my prayer big time.”
This week has been spent in the Gulf Coast Hospital. I came down here expecting to attend my Dad’s funeral and I am leaving with more questions than answers.
I didn’t have a way to work on the blog because my laptop was in Michigan and this has been such a crazy week. Today, I borrowed Michelle’s work computer, which I didn’t know she brought down to Florida. The blog will return next Wednesday.
We now return to your regularly schedule blog which is Caregiver’s Journal on Friday.