Saturday, June 30, 2012

Adjusting to a new normal


We're sitting in the familiar waiting room right now. There's a panoramic view of the Roanoke Valley. You can see everything from the Blue Ridge Mountains to downtown Roanoke and it's incredibly peaceful. The mountains bring comfort to me. 

The above picture is of my daddy, my grandma, and my nephew Christopher from about 2009. I love my Daddy's smile in this pic. This pic of my Dad is currently my profile picture on facebook. Right now he's in critical condition at a hospital in Roanoke, Va. He had a severe heart attack on Wednesday 6/27/12 and it's been a rocky ride since. 

My daddy has congestive heart failure and he had another heart attack when I was in high school. Heart disease runs in our family and he's the primary reason I try very hard to eat a healthy diet that works for my personal body type. I try to be a good example to him and I try hard to encourage him to take good care of himself. But sometimes, especially when the hereditary cards are against you, even with the very best efforts, medical emergencies happen. 

On Wednesday the hosital team worked head to clear the blockage from his heart and encourage it to pump and work properly. However, his heart was so weakened by that attack that they didn't realize how critical his condition was. Slowly his organs began to fail and emergency surgeries took place to attempt to stabilize his heart and his organs. Thursday was an extremely critical day and the doctors and nurses honestly didn't believe he was going to make it through the night, despite the emergency measures taken to save him. 

But miracles do happen. They may not "appear" to be as miraculous as you'd see in a movie or on tv... but thank GOD for small miracles.  My Daddy made it through Thursday night. He's had 2 (I think) surgeries now and he's currently attached to some type of mechanical heart device that works as the lower two ventricles for his heart. He's also attached to a breathing machine, so he is intubated, a dialysis machine, and of course has numberous other IV's over his arms, legs, and hands. His life right now is very much a miracle of modern emergency medical devices and a whole lotta faith. 

The small miracles of today are the fact that his skin color is so much better than it was earlier in the week. I barely recognized him when I saw him on Thursday evening, but today his face looked like the Daddy that's always been there for me. He also had just a slight amount of urine in his catheter bag today, which means his kidneys are beginning to function, even if ever so slightly. The nurses also detected the very slight sounds of movement in his bowels, so they decided to try feeding him with a nasogastric tube instead of intravenously. My aunt told me it would be very good progress if they could feed him through his stomach instead of through his veins, so this latest development is great news and I'm praying his body will accept nourishment this way. 

It's been an emotional roller coaster. The incredible downs of awaiting possible imminent death in the early, early hours of Thursday morning. The frustration of not knowing.... the quiet solitude of simply waiting with the unknown. The careful joy of realizing he made it through Thursday night, but was being wheeled into surgery on Friday morning. The guarded hope of doctors and nurses who give us scientific and factual updates, but contain any thoughts on the future of his condition.  Life has thrown me a lot of unknowns in the past month and I'm learning to accept this as the current norm. And that uncertainly is okay. 

Living in the moment, from hour to hour, from day to day is the new normal. And honestly, it's a good thing. We can so often focus on the future. On when life will be better when "this happens" or "that happens", or when we make more money, or when we have more vacation time saved up... I'm incredibly guilty of this having this frame of mind... but right now, I'm thankful for the day. I'm thankful for seeing the rosy complexion in my Dad's cheeks. I'm thankful for seeing him move his legs or arms when we speak to him for only a few moments every day. 

Of course it's easy to rest and feel a bit more comfortable when things aren't changing. It's the calm eye in the midst of the storm... and right at this moment, I'm extremely thankful for it. 


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24 comments:

  1. Will keep you and your family in prayer.

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  2. How beautiful, Carrie. When you can't change the storm, all you can do is learn to surf the waves...

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  3. Metta to you and your family at this trying time.

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  4. You're in our thoughts and prayers.

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  5. So sorry to hear that you and your family are going through. Thanks for sharing such heartfelt words. You are in my prayers.

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  6. I'm so sorry Carrie. I'm thankful for his improvements and will keep him in my thoughts and prayers. Hugs and love to you.

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  7. You'll be in my prayers, Carrie. Hugs to you and your family. xoxo

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  8. Carrie, so sorry you and your Dad and family are going through this difficult time. We will be keeping you all in prayer. ~Katie

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  9. Here's hoping for the quickest recovery possible. I'll send lots of good thoughts your way.

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  10. You are in my thoughts and prayers. Lots of love to you and your family!

    Gail

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  11. Having gone through a similar situation with my dad, I send you my prayers.

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  12. Hi Carrie,

    Thank you for sharing with us. I'm sorry to hear about your father's condition.

    Thinking about you...

    Hugs,
    --Amber

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  13. How brave you are to share with us. You are in my prayers.

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  14. know as a nurse on icu and a daddys girls that went thru the same as you i am thinking of you and look at those moutains again they will bring strength...jeannie at sweden and then home soon in uk xxx

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  15. So important to cherish each moment. What an uplifting post in so many ways. Thanks for sharing with us. May this day bring peace and even more improvements for your dad.

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  16. Carrie, you and your family are in my thoughts right now. Hugs.

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  17. God is in control of EVERYTHING, if he will heal him then he will be healed. Thanks for sharing.

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  18. Carrie, sending lots of love your way and thoughts and prayers toward your family. xoLexie

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  19. I'm praying for you, Carrie. I know how hard it would be for me if I was in your shoes. Thanks for sharing with us.

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  20. Carrie you are in my heart and on my mind. Somehow I knew things weren't right but didn't know what was happening. Many of us you don't even know care about you. Hang in there.

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  21. God Bless you.....

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  22. You came to my mind today Carrie. Praying for you and sending good thoughts to your daddy.

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Sincerely,
Carrie

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