Wow, my last post was January 25. Today is what, March 2nd? It seems like each year as Spring is on the horizon life kicks into super high gear and we are on the go, go, go. As my last post stated, we were sick, again. I sit here this morning with my face feeling like it's going to explode, my throat is sore and scratchy, my ears are hurting and I feel just yuck. I look out the window to the beautiful, bright, new grass that's popping up in our yard and I'm thankful for the fresh feel that Spring is bringing. On the other hand, I open my windows for thirty minutes and the pollen is literally so thick across the kitchen table you could write your name in it. I'm certain that this yellow substance that is clinging to everything in its path is the reason my face feels like a hot air balloon. A few allergy issues is the least of my worries at the moment. A lot has been going on. There have been ups, downs, crooked paths, and as always a few exciting things going on around these parts. Let's take a little look back over the last month. ***This could get lengthy, I'm catching up!***
In early January, Big Papa fell and the doctor said they believed he had a light stroke. On February 17, he had another falling episode and my Granny just didn't feel things were quite right with him. Early that morning she called my mom and aunt and told them they needed to go to the doctor. The primary care doctor advised them to take him for an MRI as soon as possible. Around 2:00 that afternoon he had the MRI. By 4:00 that afternoon we were all being notified to get to the hospital pronto because he had bleeding on his brain.
That afternoon the boys and I were enjoying a beautiful, warm, sunny, breezy Florida day with no cares in the world. I remember sitting on the porch thinking of how blessed I was to enjoy such precious little people. I actually remember thanking God for their giggles that afternoon. We took a break from playing to go up to the barn to see the new construction that was going on (I'll get to that later). The boys enjoyed climbing through feed troughs, under gates, playing in the blackest of black dirt, and just enjoying the afternoon. As I watched them again I just took it all in. It was weird that day the way I was just in the moment. Not worried about the dishes in the sink, or the dirty clothes that needed washing. I was there, with my boys and quite honestly I see now that God was talking to me even though I didn't hear him at the moment.
After our trip to the barn, Tucker and I headed back to the house. We were taking our time on the four-wheeler when Travis and Carter pulled up beside us. Travis motioned for me to stop, so I did. He said, "they're taking Papa to the hospital". What? No they aren't, he was just getting off the tractor at the hay barn. "No, your Papa!" It was in that very instant that fear overtook me and my mind started running a million miles per second. I wasn't sure why he was at the hospital, wasn't sure how long he had been there. All I could think as I sped to the house was, please God let him be okay. Please let me get to the hospital to see those crystal blue eyes of his. I rushed through the house and threw on some clothes and by the time Travis made it to the backdoor I was headed out the door. I told him I'd call him as soon as I knew something.
My cell phone, which is usually right beside me, was in my truck. I had more than ten missed calls. Frantic messages from my dear momma, "Jennifer, we're taking Papa to the hospital.... I need you to call me now!" "Jennifer, please call me... Daddy has a bleed on his brain and we are on the way to the hospital!" Those messages now stick in my brain. As I hurried to the hospital I prayed. I didn't know what to pray for or what exactly was going on, or what to expect when I got there, all I knew was I wanted to be there. When I arrived at the hospital I found my Aunt Angie and my brother sitting in the ICU waiting area. Talk about a reality check. There's something oh so very eery about that hall. Aunt Angie gave me an update and asked if I wanted to go in to see him. Again, not sure what to expect, I entered the doors of the ICU. I'm not going to lie. My heart was beating faster than it ever has and I was still praying that God would calm my nerves and give me a peace that only He could provide.
I rounded the yellow curtain that separated the two beds in his room. To my surprise I found him sitting up, alert, and doing his very best to get out of the hospital bed. At that moment, I felt a bit of relief knowing that at least he wasn't all hooked up to machines. He recognized me, which was even more of a relief. He told me he wanted out of there. I can't say I blame him at all for that one. It was at that moment they informed me that they were waiting for a neurosurgeon to review his MRI and make a decision about surgery to relieve the pressure and bleeding from his brain.
Surgery? Sure, I knew this whole ordeal was serious but I suppose I just didn't expect what I heard. My frail little Papa, going into surgery? Again, the prayers started. Around 8:15 or so the surgeon spoke to my Granny, Mom, Aunt, and Uncle. He advised them that he would not recommend the surgery due to Papa's age. Rock and a hard place is all I can describe that moment too. We stand around a hospital bed knowing that this pressure and bleeding is causing a lot of agitation and uncomfortableness to Papa. Sweet little Granny, so confused and unsure of what she should do. She asked each of us in the room what we thought. The room was 50/50. My response, "everyone must be in one accord about the surgery. There's no pointing fingers, either we're all in or we're not". Granny looked at me with the most hollow eyes. I placed my hand in the hand of Papa and looked at Granny and said, "Granny... God holds Papa's next breath. God will see him through the surgery, if it is His will." She looked at me still with those empty, hollow eyes, and said, "you're right." We joined hands around the bedside and Aunt Angie led us in prayer, followed by Granny and then Momma. God was in that room. He heard our prayers, and I truly trusted and knew that all would be well. I left the room for them to discuss what they wanted to do.
The decision was made to go ahead with the surgery. With much prayer and many tears we sat in the waiting area. The room was filled with family. Nervous conversation was going on all around me. A dear, extended family member brought some food for us all and you never realize how much little things like that mean until your family is in need of comfort, support, and love. It was an hour of uncertainty but hope knowing that God was in complete control of the surgeons hands and Papa's outcome. During this hour, Travis arrived at the hospital. That crooked little grin of his has a way of calming me each and every time. It wasn't long after he arrived that the surgeon came to the waiting room. It's that moment that you try to read their face before they start to talk, impossible. Doctors have such a way of staying monotone. The room became silent and still. The doctor said, "the surgery went well. He's off the ventilator and he will soon be in recovery. He will have a large bandage over the front incision and the drain will exit the back of the incision. He is alert and you all can see him when he's brought back to ICU." Praise the Lord, thank you Jesus for your grace and mercy.
Sweet, sweet words to our ears. The hours ahead would be critical, we knew this but we were still trusting that God was going to let it all be okay. It was. That night was pretty uneventful after we all headed home. The next day he was alert and doing much better than the day before. Situations like this make you so thankful for the moments that you stop and savor. Just as I was doing before I got the news that Papa was sick. I said that God was speaking to me and I wasn't quite hearing him the day of Papa's accident. I see now that those moments I was spending with the boys, enjoying watching them run, play, giggle, and climb were God saying, 'Jennifer.... be still. Enjoy what I've given you today, tomorrow could be gone so enjoy this very moment.' I'm so grateful that my Papa came through the surgery so well. He was in the hospital for just over a week and has now been transferred to a nursing home near our home. I continue to pray every day for his strength and recovery. I pray that God strengthens my Granny as well for I know this is difficult on her. My mom, aunts, and uncle are all pulling extra weight. We are encouraged by each day that he shows more progress. We look forward to having him home soon.
In an instant our lives can make a sharp left turn. Never are they expected, and always unpredictable. A friend of ours found out about three weeks ago that their son has Leukemia. He's only six years old. It's heartbreaking. I am so encouraged by his sweet momma. She has an unbelievable strength, courage, and faith. I emailed her the other day and told her that even though it may seem unbearable at times, God is working through her sweet little boy. If his trial can speak to the heart of one lost soul and that one person come to know Christ through his situation, then all praise be to God. As the days pass and she and her family cross my mind I am reminded of the little things that I stress over that really don't amount to a hill of beans. In the last four weeks I still find myself getting frustrated or what have you, but I soon remember... I am too blessed to worry over such minor things. I'm grateful my Papa is alive. I'm grateful that my children are healthy. I'm grateful we are able to pay our bills. I'm grateful that I'm not sleeping in a hospital. I'm grateful for the loving, supportive, prayer warriors that I call family and friends.
This post seems to ramble a bit, but it's been good for me to let it all out, share it with the world and hope that someone else will see through our situation or that of our dear friend that life is far too short to let a day pass without saying, I love you. It's too short to live in anger, with fear, or regrets. God blesses us more than we deserve each and every day when we wake up and face the day that He has granted us. Whether it be good or bad in circumstance, it is a gift from God and what we do with it is up to us. It is my prayer each day that God will allow me to love the way He loves. Teach me to be more compassionate, understanding, and most of all patient. I want others to see Jesus in me. I so often fail at this task, but that's what is so amazing about our God... He wipes our slate clean, loves us regardless and picks us up when we fall. Thank you Lord for your loving mercy.
I am thankful for those of you that have emailed, texted, and called. It means so much to have the love and support of each one of you. I ask that you continue to pray for Papa's recovery. Pray for sweet little Hayden as he faces his journey with Leukemia. I have a few pictures to update with soon. But Tucker is down for a nap right now, so I'm going to take full advantage and snag a few winks myself.
Friday Fellowship - Jenna Buettemeyer
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