This post begins with our caregiving plans for mom and dad about two weeks out before we would leave for Comayagua, Honduras. With our back up and stepped up plans for their caregiving during our absence, we thought we had all our bases covered. When, in fact, it was God, who from the beginning guided us through his plans and the holy spirit watched over us and helped us stay the course.
On Thursday morning, June 18th, we arrived to drive mom to her weekly hairdresser’s appointment and to do other caregiving activities. Much to our surprise, our 87-year-old mom’s health had greatly deteriorated since we spent the day with her on Tuesday. Her blood pressure was 66/46, her face was pale, she had no body strength, and she was clammy and very shaky on her feet. We called the ambulance and spent the next several hours in the emergency room. After a thorough round of tests and studies, she received three units of whole blood and fluids for dehydration. Her hemoglobin counts were extremely low–she was suffering from anemia and dehydration. After three days in the hospital she was released for home–just a week before our scheduled departure. Her case worker at Southern Maryland was an excellent resource. She sped up what had been a very long and extended effort to get some temporary home nursing resources available. And, by Monday, June 21, we met with the first of several nurses, physical and occupational therapists, and aides. By Friday, June 26, the visits were happening, the rest of the family was on board with meal deliveries and God had intervened to strenghten us as a family unit to make sure Our mission through Him would be successful.
We cut off all cell phone and other communications while in Honduras during mission week, June 27 – July 4, 2015. When we actually arrived back at home it was about 12:45 a.m., making it now Sunday, July 5. Since our pastor was on vacation this weekend and a christian comedian, Johnny W., was scheduled to perform, we opted to rest up from our previous 20-hour day of various forms of transportation and pit stops to get us back home from Honduras.
Picking up on our weekly caregiving routines, I next took mom to her hematologist on Tuesday, July 7. He remained concerned about her breathing and low hemaglobin counts. She received an iron infusion and asked to return to him in one week. Again by Thursday, her health had further degraded. We called the MedStar Southern Maryland visiting nurses. One of her visiting nurses was in the neighborhood and arrived within eight minutes. Mom’s pulsox (blood oxygen levels), were ranging between 64 and 75 percent–values under 90 percent are considered low. The nurse also heard rattling in mom’s chest. She immediately called for an ambulance. And, here we were again back in the ER at Southern Maryland for 7 hours before she was admitted and taken to her room. Kudos again to Southern Maryland Hospital. Despite the ER being overloaded, they gave her a very thorough work up of blood tests, x-rays, CT scans, etc. While still in the ER, they began nebulizer breathing treatments and a series of three intravenous antibiotics. Mom’s diagnoses: bacterial lung infection, congestive heart failure, and anemia again! Then by Friday, July 10 with several days of long personal contact with mom, various symptoms started affecting me. And on Monday, with closed and sore throat, ferocious cough, gooey stuff gluing my eyes shut, I pulled myself from caregiving and grabbed the first appointment with the doctor that I could get. Yep, the bacterial infection caught up with me–bronchitis, sinusitis, and conjunctivitis. Six prescriptions of various steroids, antibiotics, eye drops, nose drops, and nebulizer, and my body is starting to respond.
Meanwhile, I know that through all these times that God’s divine intervention through our family members was what stepped things up to care for dad and to get him to and from the hospital each day, and to care for me, too. I’m on the mend, although the steroids now have me wide awake at 4 a.m. in the morning writing this post; and hopefully, mom, after one week in the hospital may be coming home tomorrow or the next day.
We suspect that these circumstances were Satan’s work to derail our mission trip and to rob us from enjoying the fruits of our wonderful extended family team’s efforts through God while we were at El Ayudante. But, we stand firm in our faith and put our trust in His “plans for us to prosper, to not harm us, and plans to give us hope and a future. (Jeremiah 29:11)