Tuesday, April 10, 2012

The scary side of sickness:

The scary side of sickness: 
frustration, fear and despair

April 10, 2012
by sherry

In the midst of a medical emergency that lasted for many days, I found found myself reading Psalm 12 sometime in the middle of the night on one of the 11 days I spent by Terence's side in the hospital.

It was evident to me that (King) David was weary and worn down by life's pressures, disappointments and trials. Yet, he refused to bottle up those feelings and and put on a happy face. David vented. But he vented to God. "Help Lord", David cried out in weariness and despair.

 Terence was weary from physically fighting day and night to overcome sepsis and was frustrated that his body would not recover the way he thought it should, but I was the one who finally fell into despair.

The scary side of sickness is watching someone you love become overwhelmed by something beyond their control.  I can't even begin to tell you how brokenhearted  I was.  It wasn't until day 9 or 10 that I fell apart- up until that point I had been doing "good"~ working with the doctors fighting for what was needed and was was not needed for Terence day and night. It was important that someone stay with him because he wasn't coherent. 

Once he came home all he wanted to do was walk far enough to tag his truck.
It wasn't until the incoherency continued on and on that I began to allow fear to settle in my mind.  There were times his eyes were vacant, unseeing and then they were wide open and wild with excitement or confusion.  At times he was witty in a confused sort of way and other times he was delirious.  I helped him with the most simple tasks such as getting out of bed, personal hygiene, showering......the sadness in my heart peaked when I asked him "do you know my name?" He answered "yes, your name is Sherry" and I asked him "who am I?"to which he said "you're my caregiver".

Days of exhaustion and mental weariness took over and  I started to cry for the first time and I couldn't stop. I asked him to look at his wedding ring and asked him to read it. He took it off and read, "Nalani" (my middle name). I asked him who Nalani was and he said "You are! You're the last descendant of the great pizza delivery people!!".  He was so proud of that answer but fear collided with my faith  and I wept and wept because he had no emotional connection with me.   I wheeled him out of the room (all my children were there) and into the waiting room where we could be alone. I looked at him eye to eye and cried.  He  back at me and was sad because I was sad...but he still had no connection. I was so struck with fear that Terence and I were no longer soul mates. I cannot even begin to put into words how my heart shattered when I held his face to my face and cried, saying "Terence, Terence, do you know that I love you?" (his reply was  "weren't  you were the one who shot that big elk last year?" (I have to admit that even in that terrible sad moment for me, I chuckled. He loves the hunt).

Any ways, I left the hospital while Terence entertained my (grown) kids with "what's behind curtain number three?".  I cried in the car on the way home, feeling very alone.  I came home to find that my sisters were waiting for me with much compassion, open arms and a cup of tea.  I took a hot bath and 'vented' to the Lord as King David had done. I had nowhere else to go.  "Oh Lord, Help me face this! LORD, you are true to your promises,  You will protect us and  keep us safe....have Mercy Lord, Have mercy, Have mercy". 

After my venting period, I was able to get dressed and get back to the hospital.  I felt stronger and capable again to stand by his side and face this with him. The Lord strengthened me according to His word.

My scary moment lasted 14 days. 14 days watching Terence fight, get lost and finally find his way back. Cancer is still here, he is still recovering and we are still hoping that there is treatment for the cancer sometime very soon (he can't be treated until he regains his strength and recovers completely).

I don't know..... all I want to say is that this was the first time that Terence and I both really faced the scary side of sickness (in different ways, but it all manifested at once).  At different times we both cried out "Oh, My God" (not OMG).  The relentless pressures and daily disappointments led us to cry out to our God, who is our Father.

Medical update:
After his R kidney-bypass removal on Wednesday.
We are back at our own oncology hospital, Terence was able to get better evaluation that was specifically directed to his cancer care, not just the sepsis.  The nephrostomy tube that drained his right kidney from infection was taken out on Friday, his left one remains and is doing the lion share of the work. He also had a foley catheter inserted to catch the overflow of urine that the left kidney is producing due to the aggressive amounts of Lasix (diuretic)- which we hope will drain the fluids from his legs and pubic area.  His white blood cell count is still high, but we are keeping an eye on it. His lymph nodes are going crazy with cancer, so he needs to be back into a chemotherapy regimen quickly.  He uses a cane, a walker....a wheel chair was delivered to our house the other day since he has difficulty walking again....though we are very grateful, there was a long silence that followed that gift .

His body is on the mend and will start chemotherapy
again very soon, just waiting for the call this afternoon.

Cognitively, he is back thank goodness.
I didn't like Lady Gaga being his best friend. I don't suppose Robert and Carmen would mind that they were in the NASA program where they met Terence.  And I am sure he had fun speaking all those different languages to Nadine and Charla. I think Brook and Charla would like to come out of the world war 1 era and now our kids can come out from behind "Curtain number 3".  The good thing about delirium is that during his stay there he thought he was in a hotel.

I confess that I often must consciously engage my heart and mind around the leadership of the Holy Spirit in my life. When the scary side of sickness premiers it's ugly face- it reminds me that my sanity, my peace and comfort all come from the Holy Spirit's leadership or fear becomes a permanent resident in my life.



1 comment:

  1. It seems like it was so much longer than 14 days. What a time. And poor Terence. Am glad that he is back and you are back at UW keeping an eye on all.