40 days and 40 nights

Above is the family collage I put together overnight on the 19th, as he hit the hospital confusion wall, not knowing if it was day or night, and where he was.  I was hoping in seeing these memories and His Word, he would be comforted.

We have hit the 40th day (and night) and we’re still here, and He is still and always with us.  Jason and I are sure thankful Jesus has been with us all this time during this time in the wilderness.  Not anything like what He went through, but I am reminded that Jesus is a man of sorrows and is acquainted with grief (Isaiah 53’s prophecy of the Messiah that would come — Jesus).  He cares for us, and wants us to cast our cares upon Him (1 Pet 5:7).

40 days away from home

Today is day 40 in our journey in the hospital/acute rehab.   It seems surreal that Jason ‘died’ as he coded from loss of blood and a pneumothorax (collapsed lung).  This happened because of the lung biopsy and lack of good monitoring by the hospital.   Or even good hearing by some of the staff as I was concerned by this very thing by some of the signs he was exhibiting.  He was short of breath, his blood pressure was low, his heart was racing and he was pale.   I kept asking and was told they had him on something to raise his blood pressure, and that they were giving him something for his racing heart (which he already takes).   

I told one nurse that he was at rest in bed and this breathlessness should not be happening and asked her to get ahold of the doctor.  But my request for that was just as unsuccessful as all the other times.   It was never clear if they had not been called or the doctor just had not responded.

They had also changed the method of blood thinner for the biopsy (from a heparin drip to lovenox instead).  I was o.k. with heparin drip because it’s more controllable and easier to get quickly out of the system.   I still do not know who made that change to lovenox without asking me. 

Jesus is our Light in the Darkness

Jason called me early the next morning gasping and saying he wasn’t doing well. I immediately called the nurses station and told them they needed to get in there, and they said they already were.  Not sure if they were as they weren’t when he called.   I got to the hospital as quickly as I could (we live quite a distance) and they were working on him in his room.   It was dark (not sure why they didn’t open up the blinds, and turn on more lights, but you think of these things later).  I just kept praying.  Some of the hands of certain staff were trembling as they attempted to find veins, but he had been over-diuresed, he had low sodium, and his skin was dry and had no bounce back.  They had him on a fluid restriction of 1500 (which I was fighting because he was so terribly dehydrated).  This was another error (imho) that made this very difficult for them to draw blood.   (Later they took his fluid weight down a bit more appropriately, monitoring him along the way without such a restriction, and they got his electrolytes back where they should be).  It’s hard to trust they’ll do the right thing when they took so long each time to do what was right or not at all.  But better to trust in God than man.

After all this, he was continually in dark rooms on the inside, with no windows.   What a metaphor.  After this initial room, I had to fight with them to get him to be able to get next to light.   They never would end up moving him next to a window over the next couple or so weeks.  Never put him in a bed next to a window as often as I begged them to.  From each nurse to the charge nurse, to even the woman named Beena (believe she was the floor nurse) who chased us downstairs when I brought him down for his first glimpse of light.  I had to trust that the Lord knew best, and it just caused us to get out (even though we could not get them to walk him very often, eventually they capitulated and allowed me to — this was the start to him getting strengthened).

MISSED VALLEY FEVER DIAGNOSIS

Back to the beginning.  All along I had mentioned valley fever.  From the ER room, I had asked the doctor about the rash.  The doctor felt it was contact dermatitis.  I disagreed explaining the areas didn’t even match the clothing he was wearing.   And we’d been using the same soap for years and double rinse.  It was atypical for valley fever, however there were some just like his.

For days as they treated him solely for pneumonia, I continually brought up the construction on our property and the construction he had been doing in the dirt on his in the last few weeks.  One of the times I pressed again, one of the nurses sarcastically asked if I had any other fungi I wanted him tested for.  I prayed (and took and deep breath) and calmly explained to her one that our dogs had valley fever, and he had been digging at the same property.  Her response was that you could not catch valley fever from animals.  I was incredulous.  I explained to her that I was laying out the common denominator and did understand it wasn’t passed from the animals to him.  She told me he had been tested and he didn’t have it.  Still I kept pressing.   When their antibiotics weren’t having any success, they switched and switched again, upped the dosage, and finally they started treating him with an anti-fungal, (at that point not sure which one).  There seemed to be some slow success, and they decided to do a lung biopsy because of the nodules they saw in his lungs.  (They felt it could have possibly been cancer).   I did mention sarcoidosis because of a family member’s suggestion, but they ruled that out.   

LUNG BIOPSIES FOR VALLEY FEVER

The lung biopsy came back positive for valley fever.  After he was back in his room, I mentioned to the nurse that I was concerned because his blood pressure was staying so low.   Also his confusion level had increased as well as his heart rate.  I was monitoring his O2 myself, as dependent upon the nurse, they didn’t even know when he had his monitor off for quite some time.    They seemed to not ‘hear’ any of my concerns as they talked about discharge that day or the next.  I was incredulous and said absolutely not, I wanted to talk to the doctor, and I would appeal him being discharged. 

Dr. Meernick called me back, and he was agreeable to keeping him in a little while longer and addressing some of my concerns to see if there was an underlying cause to his shortness of breath and extreme fatigue and malaise — THERE WAS…

A LUNG BLEED AND SHOCK 

Jason lost so much blood, he went into shock and had to have a mass transfusion.  Almost right away they didn’t hold out much hope for a recovery and called a chaplain and a social worker to come to me (never a good sign).   I shared a little of the gospel with the chaplain, and told the social worker I was good, I was praying and needed to focus on my husband (I didn’t want to keep my eyes off of them).

Initially they had thought to stabilize him, and see if he’d be a candidate to insert some tubes to drain the blood (I’ll spare you the technical terms).   But in the end this required a more serious surgery with a much higher morbidity rate.   He already was intubated and kept sedated for a couple of days as they tried to stabilize his hemoglobin and his breathing.   He got more plasma before the surgery.  

GOD’S GRACE

I somehow just knew that at some point the more dangerous surgery would be the one we would be having, early in the day before the doctor brought it up with me.   So I had already been researching it online and praying about it.  Since the doctor hadn’t mentioned it before, I felt pretty confident this had come to my mind for a reason.  

I was sure they could no longer drain the blood, as the blood was pretty solid (coagulated) – I could hear the difference from the day before when I laid my head on his chest as I stayed two days, keeping an eye on them all and praying for him. 

I knew my husband’s previous heart surgeries made him an even higher risk for this surgery, along with the fact he was on blood thinners. They had already missed the lung bleed from the lung biopsy they had performed, it was even more of a possibility from this type of surgery. 

Dr. Grace (perfect name) approached me about the more complicated surgery, and as I said, I already felt I knew this would surely be the surgery that he would perform.  Not knowing if this was my own worrying mind, I had been praying in advance.  I had a decision to make between the two.  I also knew what I was going to ask him to help make up my mind.  Before I could ask the question I had planned, he answered it by saying, “If it was my family, this is the choice I would make”.  So in peace I told him to go ahead and do it.

We had a couple hours together before he went into surgery.  He was barely awake and honestly I hated to have him awake too much with the ventilator down his throat. 

Sure enough, the blood was too thick, and he needed a large incision through the back and into his lung.  Dr. Grace said he evacuated three and a half liters of blood from one lung.   Pretty unbelievable, and he continued to drain blood for almost a week into a container where they measured the discharge daily.   Once he dried up Dr. Grace pulled the huge tubes.  Relief and pain.  Soon they began to remove a staple here and there and stitches here and there as they wanted to make sure his incision was healed.

WALKING THROUGH THE VALLEY OF THE SHADOW OF DEATH

I don’t remember much in some ways of this time, except a lot of prayer, and a lot of walking the halls praying for others.   Psalm 23 was on my mind as I was so very aware of the ‘shadow of death’ in this place.   As I walked to get ice, or to eat, or to just get out for a bit, it was hard not to glance into the rooms of people laying still on ventilators.  Some young, too young.  People moaning, others crying, some screaming out for help.  Tears, I felt so helpless.  So many people in tears, afraid — yet others grieving a loss already.   How many of those know/knew the Lord?  It was a heavy weight to consider and hard not to be swept along in the current of dark fearfulness, but there He was with me so I feared no evil.  His rod and His staff, they comforted me…

LEAVING CVICU

We were transferred out of CVICU (too early I felt – I told his nurse I felt he needed at least another day, he had just been removed from the ventilator and had been on fentanyl and other drugs).  When I left that night, without telling me, they moved him any way.  He fell early the next morning and bloodied the side of his ear by hitting the thermostat and breaking it).  They found him on the floor.  He was chastised for getting up without calling and I shook my head as this barely conscious man was expected somehow to know what, where, when, why, who, how.   He never fell after that, but it was just the night before I had argued with them that he was too weak and too confused to be stuck in a room out of sight.  This was just one of many things that fell on deaf ears.  This was very hard to deal with while we were in there.   

HOSPITAL CHAPLAINS/SPIRITUAL ADVISORS

One day, I spoke to a visiting chaplain.  He described himself as a ‘spiritual advisor’.  I asked him where his Bible was, he explained he did not carry it and did not believe in using the Word.  Instead he said as a Methodist he chose to live it by example instead of sharing it.  I prayed and mentioned as humbly as I could regarding a couple of things.  

Since God magnifies His Word above His name, it has to be extremely important to Him, knowing how important His name is (Ps 138:2).   If faith comes by hearing the Word shouldn’t we share it with those who need it?   I told him that since the Word was written ahead of time for our comfort, shouldn’t we give that comfort to others by sharing His Word? (Romans 15:4).   I mentioned a couple more things about the Word bringing light into the darkness and giving us direction and shared Ps 119:25, 28, and Jeremiah 31:25.  He said they were ‘nice’ so I then asked if he would share his email or phone.   He allowed me to take his information down and send him some verses of comfort and give him a gospel link to Tom Cucuzza’s free pdf.  I do not know if he received my text as he never responded back to me. 

I then asked him if he shared the gospel and suddenly he said he had to leave right then because his time was limited.  I was able to give him one of the gospel booklets from Northland Bible church (you can EMAIL them now and get the hard covers for $1 per book plus shipping, they used to be $2, but they did a larger print and right now you can get them for less.

HOSPITALS CENSOR BIBLES

(or at least John C. Lincoln North in Phoenix, AZ does).

Before he left, he did tell me the hospital allows only one Bible per floor.   Isn’t that amazing?   Censoring the Bible — they haven’t completely hidden it, but they only allow ONE per floor.  And there are six floors. So six Bibles in the whole hospital. What could they be possibly be afraid of?  And why so many other ‘spiritual’ remedies which we know are worthless, and I still marvel — only six Bibles?   I know the reason — do you?

THE POWER OF GOD’S WORD

The Word of God is living, and powerful.  As Hebrews 4:12 describes, it is sharper than a two edged sword.  It discerns even the thoughts and intents of our hearts if we will but get into it. The entrance of God’s Word brings light into our lives, giving us understanding — it is a lamp unto our feet, and a light unto our path  (Ps 119:130, 105).  His Word is like fire, like a hammer that breaks the rock into pieces (Jeremiah 23:29).  I shared today with one of the nurses I spoke to that Jesus spoke to the two on the Road to Emmaus (Luke 24) and their hearts burned within them as He opened up the Scriptures to them.   We NEED His Word in our lives, it is His Word that has given us life.   We need to be steeped in God’s Word so we are able to speak it to others.  It isn’t our words that won’t return void, it is His, it will accomplish what He sent it to do, what He pleases for it to do (Is 55:10-11). 

Mostly, the comfort His Word brings in scary situations in our lives is priceless.  Or in grief, His Word is a healing balm.  When our soul clings to the dust, His Word revives us (Ps 119:25). 

May the Lord open our eyes to those who are lost, hurting, and headed to an eternity without Him.  May He give us wisdom and opportunity to share.  May the Lord bless you all, and keep you and I really want to thank you all for your prayers for Jason.   God cares about all the little details in our lives, and is with us when we suffer loss.  He is with us in the good and in the bad.  Sometimes we are not too faithful, but He is faithful when we are not.  We (believers) are His Body, and He does not deny Himself. 

Jason and I love you all very much and thank you for all of your prayers and support during this time.  We hope that some day real soon he will be back at home. 

And with God, all things are possible.

Dear reader, do you know Him?  Please consider just reading this prayerfully.

12 Responses to “40 days and 40 nights

  • Sandy Ady
    2 weeks ago

    I’ve been reading all along, and not commenting too much. I need another set of fingers and toes to count the times I’ve experienced negligence, ineptness, sarcasm, actual lies, and challenges from those who are supposed to be “on your side” to get you or your loved one well/healed. This is not my blanket opinion of the medical profession ~ I have known so many top notch doctors/nurses/technicians/aides ~ but it seems to me that it has become all too common that you need to be on top of the game. You are already in the midst of all that goes along with these difficult life events. Jesus keep us strong ~ our true strength comes only from You! I am right there with you, in heart and prayer, as I know so many of your family and friends are. And so we have the Lord Who carries us, always, Who knows the outcome, always, Who sees and hears every detail, always, Who loves us when we seem to be hopeless, whiny babies, always, Who is so pleased with us when we hold fast to our faith, always. YOU, my friend, are a faithful testimony and light in this valley of the shadow of death. I will keep on praying, and that you will have relief and brighter days. That would be nice, right? Love you ~ S.

    • Dear Sandy. A lot has been left unsaid. I’d like to see it become better, so much seems like common sense. Some just falls under common decency, but I know that it’s a battle for sure. I do know that I have been hopeless and a baby for sure, but He’s helped me through things I just didn’t think I could do. I haven’t even shared, it’s just necessary to keep moving, keep working, keep looking forward towards Him, and trying to remember to keep everything in His realm instead of trying to move it by my flesh. Love you much <3

  • Sunny Barclift
    2 weeks ago

    Oh Holly!! Prayers and more prayers!!

  • Paula longstreet
    2 weeks ago

    Thank you so much for sharing Holly.
    I am in disbelief and almost in tears at the way the hospital disregarded your concerns and requests.
    But I’m so thankful the Lord brought Jason and you thru this far and is with you to give you comfort and strength.
    My prayers are with you,and as I go about the day as I think upon you all, I will pray.

    • Paula, I fought back many tears, but the Lord stores them this I know (Ps 56:8) and I know you know <3

      I am thankful for all of you who keep me in your prayers so faithfully, I don't know what I would do without others in the body of Christ who have shown me such love.

  • So thankful for the Love of Christ, his Wisdom and insight while you were facing all this. Praying for you both.

  • Teri Nelson
    2 weeks ago

    Ohhhh my dear Holly! What you and Jason have gone through is unbelievable! But I so admire you grit, resolve & determination in seeing to it that Jason be taken care of correctly & in a timely manner while it appears they turned the other way at your concerns! And seemed to ridicule you for speaking up… to test for Valley Fever & etc. Praise God we can rely on Him and not man when everything seems to be going against us & crumbling at our feet!

    God calls us to be at rest in Him. To the psalmist, this meant being still and knowing God. Psalm 46:10. And to apostle Peter it meant refusing to carry burdens not meant for him: “casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you,” 1Peter 5:7
    Our human instinct wants for us to escape, but God calls us to draw near and absorb the truth of Scripture.
    He wants us to trust Him and His deep abiding love for us no matter what! And as we trust Him we will grow in trust & find it easier to be still in Him and not respond like the world which says, “I’m out of here!”

    Your witness Holly, through it all is amazing and inspiring to me so very much! And you even took the time to share the Word with the ‘spiritual advisor’ who doesn’t take his Bible with him in the hospital. Praying he will be convicted to open up his Bible and put his faith in you (if he hasn’t yet). And may he make it a point to take his Bible to share to others in the hospital to share the good news of Jesus Christ.

    With the firm belief in His care, we will be able to walk through the worst of circumstances with inner quietness Gal. 5:22 and genuine confidence.
    Heb. 13:6

    Love you Holly and thanking God for getting your hubby Jason & you through so many, very, dark & trying days!

    The LORD is my light & my salvation; whom shall I fear? Psalm 27:1
    Your Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path. Psalm 119:105
    Come, house of Jacob, and let us walk in the light of the Lord. Is. 2:5

    The prayers continue for a true, blessed recovery for Jason & for you too, dear Holly! I love you so much dear sister in Christ! ❤️🙏❤️

    • Thanks for the verses Teri, and His Word truly is comfort. I knew some but not Heb 13:6 instantly, so I looked it up and appreciate it, and want to also share the verse before so others can be comforted. Love you so much too <3

      Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.
      So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me. Heb 13:5-6

  • Diane Glenn
    2 weeks ago

    Dear Holly and Jason,
    I’ve thought of you so much lately. I’m Praying for you all, and that God fix that hospital so others won’t have to go through what you did! I’ll hopefully talk to you soon Holly but in the meantime, I’ll be Praying.
    Love and Hugs, Diane Glenn

    • Dianne, I don’t see my comment back to you, but I pray the Lord will help with these things and if I am meant to do anything that I can help somehow. I hope to see you soon. Love in Him, Holly

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