Yea though I walk through the valley...

This angel of death has been circling my family for too long now.  I'm fed up with him and I wish he would be on his way.  A few months ago he was trying to take me.  Then he did take Betty.  Now he has been trying really hard to take Paul.

The good news is that I believe we're over the worst of it.  At least that's what I'm hoping.  It looks like it.  The other good news is that all things work together for the good of those who love Him.  And hopefully some good things are going to come of this nastiness.  Because it already looks like God is using it to work on Paul's heart.  But we'll get to that in a little bit.

This all started eleven days ago.  I hadn't heard from Paul all day, so I called his store to talk to him & was told that he had called someone in to cover for him so that he could go home sick.  I thought it was really weird that he hadn't even mentioned it to me.  When I finally got him on his phone, he could only speak for a minute and said that he wasn't ignoring me, he was just deathly ill and couldn't talk.  When I got home that evening, was in bed.  The only time he got up was to throw up and this is the way it stayed for the next seven days.  He did get up and go to the Christmas Eve service with us at church, but that was probably a HUGE mistake.  He was as pale as a sheet and he was constantly broken out in a sweat, but you couldn't talk him out of it.  He was so weak he could barely walk and had to be helped.  We had to leave a little early and he came home and went right back to bed.  The next morning, he got up for about twenty minutes to watch the kids open gifts, then went straight back to bed.  Those were the only two times he was up the entire week.  He did nothing but sleep and throw up.

I was so worried about him and I knew he was in serious trouble.  I mean, I can't stress to you how *BAD* he looked.  Just in a week, he began to look emaciated.  And he's a BIG guy.  It's tough for him to look emaciated.  He was pale and pasty.  Broken out in a cold sweat any time he was upright.  Dark circles under his eyes.  HE LOOKED HORRIBLE.

I have seen death many, many times, and he had death all over him.

I was so frustrated with him because he would not go to the doctor.  He kept insisting he would get better.  Every time he would throw up, he would insist that would be the last time.  "Oh yeah, I'm definitely starting to feel better now."  I'd say, "Babe, you don't look good.  You need to go to the doctor.  You need to go to the hospital."  But he wouldn't go.  SO many things could've been wrong and I wasn't sure exactly what, so I slept in the other room and just kept checking on him.  And praying.

Day rolled into day. Night rolled into night.  I just kept praying.

Finally on Christmas, he promised me that if he didn't turn a corner by that night he would go to the doctor the next day.  He wouldn't go to the E.R. (*sigh*), but he would go to the urgent care.  Okay, fine.  Suit yourself.  I just knew he would die if he laid in that bed another day.

The next morning, I got ready for work and began nagging him about going to the doctor.  He promised he would.  I sat at my desk and began calling hourly and leaving voicemails, then texting to remind him.  He was really starting to irritate me with how long he was pushing this off.  Around noon he finally answered and said he was up and getting ready but was having doubts that he could drive himself.  Oh noooo, he is not getting out of this!  I told him I would be home to drive him.  And so I went!  And I'm glad I did.  He was in no condition to drive as he could hardly walk.

The urgent care doctor told him that he needed to go to the E.R. immediately and if he chose to go back home he would die. "And I'm not kidding.  If you go home, you will not survive, you are going to die."  They called an ambulance for him.  The EMT's came in & looked at him & said, "Oh wow!  I bet you don't feel very good.  We need to start an IV on you right now!" & then they whisked him off to the emergency room.

It was very scary at first because we knew he was very, very sick, and we knew some things that were wrong, but we couldn't confirm everything because we couldn't find a CT machine that would fit him.  He's such a big guy that his shoulders are too broad and he's too tall that he literally wouldn't fit in any of the CT machines in the entire Phoenix area (I know he would love me telling everyone that.  Sorry babe, but it's integral to the story!).  The believed he had a small bowel obstruction, and they knew he had a raging infection because his white blood cells were up.  His blood pressure was really low, his pulse was really high and his temperature was dangerously low, which means he was getting ready to go septic (infection in the blood stream). He has never been diabetic before, but suddenly his sugar was 381 (really high).  And his blood was SUPER thin (his INR was 6.8, which mean his blood was more than six times thinner than it should be).  And we do know he had been bleeding into his belly all week.

They thought maybe he had some nasty gut infection from the massive antibiotics he had been on since his pacemaker insertion, among other things.  I mean, they just weren't sure *what* was going on in there.  They just knew that he was losing blood, had an infection, was massively dehydrated and was SICK.  Sick, sick, sick.

Every time he would doze off, the doctors and nurses would quietly ask me in amazement why he waited so long to come in, like I had any control over the situation or like I could have made this stubborn man do ANYTHING that he didn't want to do.  I just shrugged my shoulders and mouthed back to them, "Feel my pain!  I don't know."

As the events rolled on and the reality and gravity of the situation began to sink into Paul's head, I think he began to realize that he really did almost die.  As doctor after doctor consulted with each other and he overheard concerned whispers and he realized he really wasn't going home.  After he caught me crying when I thought he was sleeping.  When he saw the startled look on the nurse's face when she saw his urine that looked like coffee instead of urine, because THAT'S NOT NORMAL PAUL! No matter how much you try to convince yourself that laying in bed with the "flu" is okay and that you're just a little "dehydrated".  He really started to get it.

They finally found ONE CT machine on the other side of town that could fit him and they transferred him to that ER.  The good news is that he didn't have a bowel obstruction.  He had a horribly bad and infected gall bladder.  And one of the stones from that gall bladder had gotten out and made a miracle journey down the duct and across to his pancreas and nicked his pancreas, causing a horrible case of pancreatitis as well.  At this point they aren't sure if he's legitimately newly diabetic, or if his pancreas is just so sick that it has temporarily stopped working and producing insulin.  So, for now it's a waiting game.

They've changed  up his antibiotics and are seeing if that helps bring down his infection.  He can hardly talk without getting short of breath.  Today, I had a come-to-Jesus meeting with the nurse because he asked if I could wash his back.  I asked why, and then asked if they have been taking care of him and bathing him and what-not.  I mean, being a nurse, I know that's their JOB.  He looked confused and shook his head no.  My jaw dropped, and I said, not at all?  Normally, he is very reserved and shy and so I have respected his privacy and not offered to wash him up and all that, figuring he would have the nurses do it or be stubborn enough to insist on doing it himself even when sick.  OH HELL NO.  I was livid.  This man has been literally knocking on death's door and here he is, post-op day three (been in here FOUR days) and NO ONE HAS BATHED THIS MAN OR CHANGED HIS LINENS?  I said, "Reach over there and ring that bell right now.  Unless you don't want me to speak to her, of course."  And I just stared at him.  He just shook his head, okay.  And then said, "Just promise me you'll be professional, okay babe."  I said, "Do you think I'm gonna pull her hair and make them call security? I am a professional."   (But really I'm thinking that he knows me all too well.)

I ended up doing all their damn work for them.  Bathed this man, changed all of his linens, washed his hair, helped his brush his teeth.  And for the first time in his life.... he let me.  That made me cry just typing it.  I think that may be one of the true miracles and lessons of this entire situation.  That might be the true work that God is doing with this... the work that God does on Paul's heart about being still, loving and letting others love him.  He allowed himself to be vulnerable, he allowed me to take care of him and then he had this to say afterwards on his facebook.....

Veronica, I love you. Looking at me being so unkept today prompted a sponge bath... My love gave me a sponge bath, changed the sheets, washed my pad, my hair my back. I know yet again what love is by her unselfish acts . Babe you really love me. That is so rare, to me, and I am truly blessed. Thank you so much. I am confident things in the future will be better for us mainly because of you. I love you.
Now its a long story, but that's kind of a big deal for him.  I just responded, "I love you too. I would do whatever you needed to be done. That's what love does. Xoxo"

lurve you, xoxo v.


wow. that's it. wow! Thank the Lord you finally got him to go! Men will really make you work hard to take care of them sometimes! phew!
Barbara said…
Still praying for him and is really hard to watch a bull headed partner not get it, but am really glad he finally did.

Love you all, Mom
Allison said…
Thank God for HIs hand of protection over Paul and that he is home now and doing a lot better. I continue to pray for him that God keeps healing him and bringing him back to fully restored health and heart!!