My baby has not been on oxygen for a month now. No explanation, just stopped needing it. “God, I PRAISE You! Please continue Your good work in my son’s life and body!” The doctors say he must have just developed and grown to the point where he doesn’t need it anymore. He used to need it every night when he fell into deep REM sleep, even if just .5 liters or 1 liter. He used to need it during the day here and there as well. Back in the winter and early Spring of THIS year he was on it 24/7, sometimes above 2 liters! And now… NOT AT ALL!
I don’t know what to call this but a miracle. I know it could all change any day and with any virus. But that doesn’t hinder my joy, my amazement, at this gift. And oh, how we need these good gifts, dear Lord. Life can be hard. It has been very hard.
What has been hard, you may wonder? Well, getting adequate nursing coverage continues to be a struggle. We have a solid team of three nurses that cover just enough to keep me (mostly) sane, so that is something to be hugely thankful for! But we currently have four day shifts that are uncovered and we are interviewing and looking for nurses.
One of the days that has been most difficult to find help with is Sundays. Therefore, our church attendance has been spotty. We try to alternate Sundays so that one Sunday Jim will take Dean and Henry and I will cover all of the Alan related duties that morning (meds, feeding bag change, airway clearance vest and nebulizers, etc. etc.). The next Sunday we switch. It’s not ideal, but it’s better than not going at all. Perhaps in the future we will be able to get on top of things enough to be able to take Alan and all go together. We’ve done it before but it is pretty hard. We would have to get up earlier then we are currently willing to do. Sleep is a precious commodity.
Also, we had COVID about a month ago now. You know, that little virus that has been turning everyone’s world upside-down? Ha ha. Well, my and my husband’s cases were very mild, so that was no big deal. It was like a cold or a minor flu bug for us. Relieved about that for sure! The hardest part by far was everyone else’s reaction to the word “COVID.” My oldest son had to stay home from school for 25 days despite having not one symptom himself the entire time. And trust me, I was not social distancing from him, sorry. But that was the school policy. Back to that awful “remote learning” thing from last Spring. Ugh.
Hardest of all was not having nursing coverage for Alan for the better part of an entire week, all while we were supposed to be resting in order to get over the virus. Yeah, not so much. The coverage over the two weeks that followed wasn’t terrific either. Extra nurse mommy night shifts were grueling.
I am so grateful to God for two of our nurses who agreed to cover a few shifts that first week, all suited up in PPE, face shields, gowns and all. And it was a huge relief that no one got COVID from us that we know of. The nurses are finally all back at this point, so we are back to being able to both sleep at night. We have nursing coverage 6 nights per week. Dean is finally back at school now, so it feels like we are finally past all of that craziness.
Through it all, and despite a few emotional break downs from me, God has been faithful to get our family through the hard days. Practically speaking, the most important survival tool He has provided me is my dear husband. I would be a mess without him. Our marriage is not some picture-perfect, rose-colored scene, but friend, believe me, God has provided above and beyond for me by giving me Jim. So often God answers my prayers through my husband, even in ways I’m not expecting. I got a gem in Jim, let me tell you. : ) Smart, solid, caring, loving, patient, dependable… where would I be without that man?
It’s a miracle Alan is not currently on oxygen. And it’s a minor miracle we made it through COVID, still in tact as a family and that Jim let me get away for the better part of two days so I could restore. I’m just about to head home. I found a nice little Air BnB near the Bishop Arts District in Dallas in which to sleep, watch shows, read my Bible and work on songs. True introvert paradise and much needed.
I will close with a few quotes from a book I’ve been slowly reading, called “The Uninvited Companion,” by Scott E. Shaum. I love his perspective on the suffering and hardships we face in this life. This first quote is from page 99.
I have done what God has shown me to in my calling and it has “cost” me my health. Yet the beauty God has born in me through this loss has been profound. God uses the confounding pains in our lives to draw us into his love and to usher us deeper into his purposes…. Jesus, by the world’s standards, was a fool. But we know him to be the power, wisdom, and beauty of God. He gave himself for his own and most rejected him. We give ourselves for others, but we are not promised we will be received. Success is in the giving, the loving, the speaking, the going, and the showing up day after day – it is in the faithfulness – and the results are in God’s hands
And this quote (page 102) was a comfort to me, as I have emotional breakdowns now and then. When I’m pushed to the brink, it can result in me being a crying puddle on the floor, complaining and crying out to God. I most always apologize to Him for my complaining afterwards, and sometimes feel a bit guilty about it. Maybe I shouldn’t.
Verbal and emotional expressions of loss and grief are manifestations of faith. God has designed the grieving process for our own wellness. When we deny it, or otherwise suppress it, the grief is still there. It will surface – eventually. If it is not expressed well, then it will be expressed in unhealthy ways. What’s more is that we miss out on an opportunity profound loss extends to us, which is to venture deeper into communion with God and those closest to us.
Thanks for reading, friend. I pray you will cling to Him this Christmas season. And keep the dialogue open with Him, no matter how messy or half-hearted you feel your prayers are. When life is hard, He still holds us up, still holds us close, probably closer even than when life is all sunshine and roses.
And if your life is going great, BE THANKFUL! Do NOT feel guilty or anxious about what might be around the corner. Just ENJOY it! God gives all kinds of seasons in life, and we need to receive them all with open, trusting hands.