Wednesday, June 11, 2008

My Dad: Update

Dear Family and Friends,

I’ve not had internet access for a couple of days (long story), but am glad to be connected again tonight. It has been interesting here in Iowa these past few weeks. I was thinking yesterday – “Some people think we are taking a risk by moving to Nicaragua. Well, I’m thinking that staying here in Iowa may be more of a risk!” Waterloo/Cedar Falls (where my Dad is in the hospital) and Cedar Rapids (where we live) and many of the other surrounding communities are flooding and more rain is expected. Flood records are being broken from the 1920’s. And more rain is forecasted.

I went to my parent’s house late Monday night after the surgery because it is closer to the hospital. The kids and I set out on Tuesday morning to return there. We spent an hour driving around Cedar Falls/Waterloo trying to find a way to the hospital, but could not as it is located on the other side of the river and most bridges were blocked off. I am not real familiar with this area so I called Mom while I was stuck in traffic and she told me that she would feel better if we just went home to their house given that it was not very safe to be on the road. It rained again today and I did not even try to make it, as Mom told me that - from the only bridge that was open, you could see just the tops of houses above the water – not sounding too safe to cross.

Some of you have asked about our home and whether we are flooded and we wanted to let you know that we are OK. Kind of strange as we live next to a flood plain, but we do not live close to the river which is where the problem is. We have friends, though, who need to evacuate and have moved all of their basement furniture upstairs and have surrounded their homes with sand bags. Each time you hear about this on the news, would you pray for the many people in Iowa who have lost homes to tornados and are suffering flood damage right now? Please also pray for the prevention of more damage. I drove through Parkersburg for the first time since the tornado on our way home to my parent’s from the hospital yesterday and I could not stop the tears as we drove through town. It is true that it is so much worse than what pictures on TV can capture.

Two different times prior to Dad’s surgery, there were tornados spotted close enough to the hospital that all of the patients were taken out of their rooms and moved into the hallway – probably not the most helpful situation for heart patients to be in. Mom told me tonight that there is now a tornado watch. I’ll update below on how everybody is doing as of today:

Dad: He stayed in intensive care for an extra day due to his Creatin level reaching 2.2 hours after surgery. Last night he was moved to a private room and is gradually losing the many tubes that adorned his body after surgery. The kidney doctor says today that his kidney is doing fine and that some elevation after surgery can be expected. They tried to get him to walk today and the second time, his heart rate accelerated to high, so after that they gave him some medication to help with this problem which they said is not uncommon for heart patients to experience after surgery. One of their goals with walking is to get him to take deeper breaths to prevent pneumonia. He and Mom meet with someone tomorrow to discuss diabetes and how to manage this. Dan and I talked with Dad on the phone tonight (kids and I are home in CR tonight) and I started laughing when he was talking because he sounds a little tipsy (he’s on pain meds., obviously). It was good to talk with him though, to hear his voice. Mom said he is joking with the nurses and is quite funny. It was so sweet too when he was in intensive care, I held his hand and talked with him and he would shake his arm a little and shake his head back and forth as I was talking but could not make eye contact or would have his eyes closed. Mom said later that Dad could hear me and remembered what I said – quite remarkable.

Mom: She is a strong woman and is familiar with the medical field having worked as a respiratory therapist, home health aid, and as a result of the many years she spent caring for my grandparents/taking them to doctors appts./surgeries/etc. I think this has helped her throughout this process as she is familiar with some of the equipment/procedures etc. She told me that yesterday was hard because she was alone and Dad was still in ICU and not very responsive. The news was on in the waiting room with all of the flooding/damage/etc. and she said that she felt weepy for awhile. She decided that she needed to just not watch TV as it is all so overwhelming. She is sounding good today and enjoys being with Dad back in his room.

Dan: He is very glad that Dad seems to be doing so well. Eight years ago we were with Dan’s aunt at the hospital after his Uncle Gerry’s heart surgery (an Uncle who took Dan under his wing after Dan’s Dad passed away). There were many similarities between Uncle Gerry’s diagnosis and surgery and my Dad’s. Only Uncle Gerry passed away shortly after surgery. It was a memory both Dan and I needed to fight throughout this week. I’ve noticed how close Dan is to Dad as he wants to be with him as much as he can. Dan has also been communicating with World Missions letting them know that just as we got started with the support raising process, we have needed to stop while we spend time with my parents during this time. We cancelled our dinner last Monday night, but have another one scheduled this Monday night which we plan to do. We have also received word that another church is considering supporting us. Continued prayers for healthy balance in our lives are appreciated.

Lisa: I’m a little tired. But, still quite amazed at the miracle of this week. And so very thankful for my Dad’s life and future health. For those of you who have been praying for God to teach me more about forgiveness, I thought I would share something with you. After I finished praying before my breakfast the other morning, I pictured my Dad’s surgeon working on my Dad’s heart. And the words came to me, “Lisa, that’s forgiveness.” My Dad’s surgeon is African American. Our family is reading Sojourner Truth’s (a black woman who fought for the rights of black people and for women) biography right now so the horrors of slavery are fresh in my mind. Would Sojourner Truth have ever dreamed that a black man would be saving the life of a white man? Dad’s surgeon is also known to be one of the kindest and best surgeons around. It seems to me that he has had to have been touched by prejudice/injustice at some point in his life. And yet, he does not strike me as someone who harbors bitterness. I’m thankful for yet another lesson on what it means to live a life of total forgiveness.

Rebekah and Will: Rebekah is excited because we picked up her new glasses today. I’ve never seen a kid so excited about wearing glasses! She keeps comparing what she can see with glasses and cannot see without them. She is excited about how they look, how they work, and has cleaned them with her special cloth about 20 times tonight. Her vision is 60/20 and Will’s is 15/20, so no glasses for him which I think his is relieved about. So, everybody is happy there. Will did lose another tooth and as 3 others that are loose. Will be interesting to see what he looks like by the end of this month. Should get that picture for our prayer card done soon! He was also excited to find a new batch of baby kitties at Grandma’s house. They have been doing great through all of this. Has been good for them to just have each other – I see them bonding again and playing like they did before Rebekah went to school.

OK, well that is probably enough for tonight – eh? Thank you again for your prayers and your concern. We are doing well – we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us – we are recognizing the truth of these words. Please continue to share with us how we can pray for you!

Peace to you,
Lisa (Dan, Rebekah, and Will)