Welcome to Inspire Me Mondays!
Here’s my contribution–I’m on Day 13 of the #write31days challenge issued by The Nester.
“But Jesus was quick to comfort them. “Courage, it’s me. Don’t be afraid.” (Matthew 14:27 NIV)
Tubes sprouted from Pedro like a crazy hamster maze. A team of nurses moved quietly around the room, taking vitals and preparing him for the doctor’s visit.
Pedro had ended up in ICU the day before I’d returned to San Francisco. He had been responding to the chemo, but the doctors decided he would need radiation as well. Before they could complete the process, Pedro lost his ability to swallow.
The doctors worried that he would aspirate or get pneumonia and so they intubated him and whisked him off to ICU where they induced a coma-like state. Once a day they would bring him out of the coma to check his ability to swallow.
“How long will he be in ICU?” I asked the attending physician on Pedro’s second day in ICU
“A week, maybe two.” he answered. “You have children, don’t you?”
“You might want to have them come down for a visit,” the doctor looked at Pedro’s chart and avoided eye contact.
“Ok.” I mumbled—the word pushing out around the lump in my throat. My mind flew into overdrive as the doctor left. Ignoring the reason they should visit and too afraid to ask more questions, I hurried to the hallway and made a few phone calls home.
Travel plans for my parents and the girls worked out within hours, and I found a nearby hotel of sorts with empty rooms for four days. I pulled out my computer and found entertaining things for my parents and the girls to do while they visited San Francisco (a City Pass would keep them entertained during their visit—I didn’t even know if they let minors visit ICU patients, but I followed the doctor’s instructions and figured he would make it happen).
The next day, they brought Pedro out of his coma and I explained to him that the girls were coming to visit. Because of the tube down his throat and his frozen face, I had no idea what he thought about the idea. I chatted about the plans I’d made and how excited they’d be to see him.
He started looking agitated, and gestured for paper and something to write with. IVs and tubes (not to mention the drugs) made it difficult for him to write, but he scrawled out, “Don’t let me be a vegetable.”
Shocked, I shook my head vigorously. “Of course not! You’re getting better!”
He wrote again. “Don’t let girls see me.”
“You’re worried the tubes will freak them out?”
“Don’t worry,” I assured him, “everything will work out.” I breathed a silent prayer and then the nurses entered and told me I had to leave so they could do their jobs.
I left the hospital the next afternoon and took public transportation down to the airport to meet my parents and the girls. They loved their first ride on a train, and exclaimed excitedly about the boarding house/hotel where we would all stay.
“When do we get to see Daddy?” they kept asking.
“As soon as we eat supper,” I would reply—hoping it would happen, worried about Pedro’s desire to not freak them out. “We’ll go to the hospital after we eat and see when visiting hours for kids start.”
I left everyone in the main lobby and made my way to the ICU unit. When I arrived, I walked down the hallway and peeked into Pedro’s room. An empty bed with clean sheets sat in the middle of the room.
Panic filled me and I looked wildly at the room number to see if I had mistakenly looked in the wrong room. I hadn’t.
I turned to find a nurse bustling down the hallway towards me. “Mrs. Ojeda!” She exclaimed. “No one told you?”
“What?” I squeaked.
“Your husband can swallow on his own again and he’s back in the hematology/oncology unit!”
Waves of relief washed over me, robbing me of coherent speech. “So soon?” I asked.
“He surprised everyone,” she assured me, “the doctors didn’t think he’d be released from ICU for at least another week!”
I thanked her and fumbled my way to the elevator—too overwhelmed with gratitude to function properly. I needed to get downstairs and find the girls and take them to see their daddy! Their tubeless daddy who would no longer look like a hamster maze!
As the elevator whooshed down to the lobby, I breathed a prayer of thanks, and realized that my Heavenly Father had been so quick to comfort me, that I hadn’t even had time to be as afraid as I probably should have been.
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1. Link up your most inspirational post from the previous week (just ONE, please).
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