Thanks for the Memories, or Lack Thereof!

During my long absence, I appreciate every one of you staying with my blog.  In July, I was shocked when my dear friend of 40 plus years passed away unexpectedly.  She was 57.  That is my last clear memory, other than slightly recalling my daughter’s return a few days later from a mission trip.  The next memory I have is of finding myself in the ICU unit of the hospital, and it was September.  I was also unable to talk.

As I gradually became aware of my surroundings, different hospital staff would stop by.  This happened over the course of weeks, always one-at-a-time.  They each asked me if I remembered them.  I never did.  Then they would say, “I was there THAT NIGHT.  I helped work on you.  I am SO glad to see you.”

One doctor in particular would pause and look very shocked every time he came in. Then he would say, “you look great, even better than the last time!”  Which was a surprise to me since I didn’t feel great.  At the time, I couldn’t use most of my body.  I wasn’t able to stand, or even move in the bed.  I was so weak I couldn’t press the call button, let alone pick it up.   The ICU nurses spent weeks trying to read my lips.

Much latter, when I could talk, I asked my husband, “WHAT happened to me?!”

My last night at home, I appeared to have lost consciousness.  My family called the EMTs who found my oxygen was 30 (very bad), one lung had collapsed, the other was filling up.  My heart was also having a hard time beating.  Once I was in the hospital, lots of people worked on me for many hours.  My family was told I probably wasn’t going to live.  When I did survive, they told my family I might be a vegetable.  It took them weeks to know if I still had my mind.  A tracheotomy was done to my throat, which was why I couldn’t talk.  A food tube was inserted in my stomach, and then I was put into a comma for a few weeks.

Over one and half gallons of fluid was drained daily from my body for many weeks.  My family came and sat with me during the weeks when I was in the comma.  They also did that later when I was awake.  But I was so delirious from all the medication given me, I am unable to remember the first couple of weeks when I was “awake”.  In fact, my husband says it is a blessing I don’t remember, because it was all bad.  From the firemen hurriedly yanking the banister and other objects off the wall and stairs in order to get my stretcher from the second floor, to all the difficult things I went through in the hospital, it is much better to have amnesia.

I was told they don’t see miracles very often in ICU, maybe two, and I was one of them.

When I could finally comprehend things that were told to me, I was stunned by all the out pouring of love for me.  My daughter had covered the walls of my hospital room with painted Bible verses, and notes of encouragement.  When I awoke, their cheeriness and hope got me through many nights and days.  I have been thrilled to receive visits, gifts, cards, and prayers.  Most of all the prayers.  I am humbled by number of people who have prayed for me.  Please keep it up.  Those prayers saved me.  Some of you knew what was happening to me, and were part of those who prayed….thank you.  Thank you for asking God to have mercy on me.

I spent five weeks in ICU and three more in the regular part of the hospital.  I was then sent to a care place for three weeks that helped me a lot with physical therapy.  Despite not able to stand yet, and needing more therapy to do that, insurance sent me home.  My working husband now has to help and care for me.

So what happened?

Since September of 2016, my health slowly declined.  It was so gradual, it didn’t raise any red flags.  I have other health issues that wax and wane, so I put it down to that.  After a while, I thought I would snap back to health.  This time, though, there was more too it.

The hospital found there are issues with my heart.  I am on medication for it now.  But I have been unable to discover if the heart issue caused the fluid buildup, or visa-versa.  As one doctor put it, “this is a case of which came first, the chicken or the egg.”

In the midst of this time period, many things happened that distracted me from my own health.  My husband was hospitalized for a couple of days, and my son had constant struggles with chronic health problems.

My 20-year-old daughter was hit by a drunk driver.  It was a horrific accident that pushed her across many lanes of heavy traffic, ultimately stopping her car when it rammed into a concrete utility pole.   The air bag activated.  Between that and her safety harness, she didn’t go through the windshield.  My daughter’s right leg was broken and she had to have a rod surgically put in her leg that stretches from her ankle to her knee.  Cuts and bruises covered her body, including an outline of bruises across her waist and chest where the seat belt held her.  She has suffered many things including lots of pain.  Physical therapy has gone on for months.  She had to give up many things she had been anticipating and working months toward.  But we are so very grateful to have her.  As can be seen from the picture, only God could have preserved her life.

The person who caused the accident walked away without a scratch, and had blood alcohol levels as high as could be measured.

Then I lost my friend.   She was with her husband coming home from a trip. On the last morning, my friend said she wanted to sleep a little longer.  A few minutes later, her husband returned and found his wife was gone. When my mom, passed away suddenly in April of 2016, my friend tried to comfort me.  Over the past year, my friend frequently told me that mom would not want me to continuously mourn her passing, she would want me to enjoy life.  Now, with my friend gone, I try hard to remember those words. The one thing I can recommend after this is:  Make sure you tell those you love how special they are.   I am so glad I told my friend I loved her in what became our last text.  A handful of hours later, she was gone.

I have spent the time since I came to myself, fighting my way back.  Many barriers facing me have been overcome.  I can talk now but must take frequent breaths to finish some sentences, I am sure with use that will get better.  The upper part of my body is working almost normally, although I have pain moving things—fingers, arms, elbows, etc.—and lots of stiffness.  It even hurt to chew when I could have food again.  It was a big day when I could pick up a tooth brush—but then I had to get the strength to brush with it!  My handwriting is coming along, but must write slowly for it to be legible.  With effort, I am using the computer again.  I spent Thanksgiving in a hospital bed in our family room.  But we were all very thankful I could be there to celebrate.

Much hard work is spent doing therapeutic exercises to strengthen my body—especially my legs, so I can use them again.  I work the rest of my body hard so I don’t lose the progress I have made.  Many hours are devoted to it.  My husband has stayed by my side, and all of my family has blessed me through this.  God has had his hand on me.  Christ’s help is getting me through many difficulties.  Despite everything, I am blessed.

I thank God for my life, my family, and you.  Thank you in the sea of choices, you read my writings.  As we approach Christmas, may blessings overflow in your life, as well as, in the New Year.

Please pray for us.

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4 Responses to Thanks for the Memories, or Lack Thereof!

  1. Tom Tatum says:

    Hi Becky,

    I am so sorry to hear of the difficulties you have experienced the past year+. My heart goes out to you and your family. I have thought of you often and have missed your loving interaction and comments. I wish you the best and will continue lifting you in my prayers. I’m sending cyber-hugs and well wishes to you and your family.

  2. Pam says:

    I’m so thankful for the miracle of you! I cannot imagine going through what you’ve gone through. God’s grace and ever present help in time of need has truly sustained you all. I prayed many times for you and your family. I spoke to Chuck one morning as I wanted to check in on my old friend and let him know that though we don’t keep up with each other’s families as we once did, you were not alone. You all are loved so deeply by so many people. Welcome back! Much love to you and yours!

    • Becky says:

      Thanks so much Pam, I can’t tell you how much I appreciate this note, your prayers, friendship and love. Those prayers helped pull me through this so far, and will get me through the rest of the way. We are always friends not matter the amount of time we have with each other! You always have such wonderful things to say, and love hearing/reading them. Lots of love to you and your family.

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