Lea had an exasperating day today, and was emotionally and physically worn out by late afternoon. She rested better last night than she has for the last few days, as she was given a sleeping dose at about 9:30, and was sleeping quite soundly an hour later. She had asked me to spend the night with her, but she was sleeping so soundly at 11:30 I decided to go back to the room to get a few hours of sleep myself.

I hoped I could get back to see her before she awakened, since the nurses thought she would probably not wake up until the hubbub of the day shift began at about 8:00 a.m. Well, she woke up at 3:00 a.m., and was quite alert, so her night nurse, Liz, gave her a bath and kept her occupied for a couple of hours.

But, Lea remembered that I was supposed to have stayed with her, so, when I arrived just before 6:00, I was already in the doghouse! She promptly took a nap upon my arrival, and dozed on and off until Dr. Mah arrived at about 8:00 to advise that he wanted to have an abdominal catscan done so he could determine how well the wound and pancreatic areas were healing up, and whether the drain tube could be pulled out a little farther.

Another of the drains, the stomach line, has been showing small traces of fresh blood for some time, and Dr. Mah said that a gastrointestinal specialist should probably take a look at the drained matter to see what concerns there might be. A dietitian also stopped by to meet Lea and get a look at her charts so she could begin planning a diet for her.

Right after the catscan, which was delayed, the GI doctor examined Lea and told her that there was enough bleeding that he wanted to do a procedure in which a camera is put down the throat into the stomach to locate the problem, and if necessary, the source of the bleeding can be cauterized. That upset Lea, because she didn’t even know a problem existed, and she got pretty apprehensive when the doctor said he would schedule the procedure for the next day. I wasn’t there for her to lean on for comfort, and her day nurse, Liz (a different one), spent about ten minutes talking to her, explaining the medical issue, and the procedure, and calmed her down.

During all this, the occupational therapy team arrived with a new system designed to help patients in Lea’s condition communicate. It is a small computer with touch keys and a mouse with which patients can control some aspects of their environment, such as raising and lowering the head of their bed, turning the fan and radio on and off remotely.

This is a new system the department just received, and Lea is the first patient to use it at this hospital. So, the occupational therapy team was pretty excited about it, and was quite enthusiastic about teaching Lea to use it. But, she was so tired by that time she really wasn’t able to concentrate much, although she understood how to utilize the system, and did play with it a bit later in the evening.

It took several hints to get the therapy team to leave, so Lea could rest. Dr. Mah came in while we were trying to shoo the therapists, and said that it was too late in the day to do the tracheostomy swap, and that he would plan to do it tomorrow, because we need enough time for the speech therapist to work with Lea in learning how to use the speaking valve.

He also stated that today’s catscan showed the bottom edge of an air pocket around the bottom of Lea’s left lung, and that he wanted to send her down for a chest catscan in the morning so he could get a better idea of what is going on. It’s possible that the lung was nicked during the drain installation procedure, and that air is leaking into the chest cavity and keeping the lung from expanding entirely. He doesn’t feel, however, that the air pocket is significant enough to keep her from getting off the ventilator. (She went four and a half hours off the ventilator today!)

Dr. Mah also stated that he was not going to authorize the procedure to look in Lea’s stomach. He said that it just isn’t necessary to worry about that small amount of bleeding, and that it can be handled with medications, rather than putting her through another invasive ordeal. She is so weak that even the smallest amount of activity exhausts her. We continue to do a few exercises each day to help her begin gaining back some of the lost muscle mass.

Meanwhile, she continues to make wonderful progress. There are the hourly and minute-to-minute problems that you have to deal with, but on a daily basis she continues to make excellent strides toward regaining use of her lungs, getting her digestive system back in order, and healing up that stomach wound. When you look at it on a weekly basis, it just is amazing. Nurses who take a week off are delighted when they come back and see how far along she has gotten.

It is at this point in healing that you can slip into becoming lax about praying for her, since it looks like she is well on her way to recovery. But, she is still in critical condition. A lot of things can still go very wrong. We still need God’s help in getting that miraculous healing that He has been delivering in delicious little slices to keep us very much aware that He is in control.

If we allow ourselves to take Lea’s healing for granted, and forget to give Him the glory, we might just find ourselves taking some big steps backward, just to bring us to the realization that Lea’s life, at this point, is a very fragile thing, and it can slip away at a moment’s notice, without warning. I pray for guidance, strength, and the wisdom to remember all of His blessings, large and small, numerous times throughout the day. Prayer isn’t just for nighttime any more!

Father, I ask You to bless my friends, relatives and those I care deeply for, who are reading this right now. Show them a new revelation of Your love and power. Holy Spirit, I ask You to minister to their spirit at this very moment. Where there is pain, give them Your peace and mercy. Where there is self-doubt, release a renewed confidence through Your grace. Where there is a need, I ask you to fulfill their needs. Bless their homes, families, finances, their goings and their
comings. In Jesus’ precious name. Amen.

Friends are a very rare jewel, indeed. They make you smile and encourage you to succeed. They lend an ear, they share a word of praise, and they open their hearts to us. Hold On To GOD Unchanging Hand. God Bless You