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An even bigger challenge

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Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.  Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.  (James 1:2-4)

I thought that having 5 kids in five years would be challenge enough, but it seems as though the Lord wants to challenge us even more!

My first three weeks with our sweet little newborn were spent with my mother-in-law and then my mom staying with me and helping.  (And what wonderful helps they were!)  The day I was to take my mom to the airport to return to Texas was a day that has changed everything.

A week ago Sunday, my mom complained of a sudden and terrible headache around 11:30 a.m.  She went up to her room to rest and didn’t come down until 9 p.m. when she got a bowl of cereal.  The next morning around 8 a.m. it was still so bad I didn’t see how she would even be able to walk through the airport, so I took her to an acute care center.  They gave her a shot (painkiller) but it didn’t help, so the doctor sent us to the hospital nearby for a CT scan.  He said to wait there and he would call me to explain the results.  I still didn’t realize that this was going to be such a serious thing.  My 5 children were with me and were absolutely wonderful in the waiting rooms.  They took my mom in for the CT scan almost immediately and then the acute care center doctor called me.  He said they had found bleeding in her brain.  As I was talking to him, they came for my mom with a wheelchair to take her to the ER.  We stayed there for a while and then went in to see how she was doing.  The doctor said they’d keep her overnight and were doing some more tests, so we said goodbye so that I could get the kids home for some lunch.  I had no idea how close she was to death at that point.

It took me about 30 minutes to get home.  By the time I got heome the doctor had called and left me a message saying they were going to fly her (by helicopter) down to a Chicago hospital and that he had spoken to the chief of neurosurgery there who was prepared to take her.  She had a brain aneurysm which had burst and was bleeding.  My husband came home from work, and I drove down to the hospital (with my little newborn) so I could be there with her.  It’s about a 1 1/2 drive from where I live.  When I got there I found out that they won’t allow children in the ICU.  This is my first experience with all this, so I didn’t even think about it.  They allowed me to get close enough to talk to the doctor, though, and then I just had to come back home.

That was Monday evening.  They immediately did a couple of procedures–drilling a hole in her skull to drain the fluid and an angiogram.  They had to keep her awake for it because if she fell asleep she was much more likely to go into a coma and not wake back up.  I was up at midnight (with the baby, of course) and decided to call her.  She said that they had decided to do surgery the next morning to clip the aneurysm.  I talked her again at 6:30 a.m..  The nurse had told me that the surgery should take about 4 hours.  So I started calling after 4 hours and called every hour.  They wouldn’t give me any reports on how she was doing: 5 hours, 6 hours, 7 hours, 8 hours, 9 hours.  I was in such a daze that day.

In the meantime, my washing machine had broken.  The repairman came and said that it would cost $467 to fix it, so it was better to just buy a new one.  A friend called and asked if she could help me in any way, so I asked her to come over and take care of the kids so I could take a week’s worth of clothes to the laundromat.  Finally as I was packing up the wet, clean clothes to bring them back home I found out that the surgery was finally done (10 hours!).  So I headed home, had dinner and my husband and I (and baby) headed down to the hospital to see her.  The wonderful lady and her daughter stayed until 10:30 p.m.  And she dried and folded all my clothes!

My husband stayed in the hospital lobby with the little one while I went up to see my mom.  I was amazed at how good she looked.  She was talking and seemed to be doing pretty well.  The nurse said she was in the top 2-5% of patients of how well she was doing after that serious of a bleed in the worst part of the brain and a 10-hour brain surgery!

That was a week ago.  She has to stay in ICU for a total of 2-3 weeks so they can continually monitor for a possible vascular spasm, which is fairly common after this has happened.  It is a total miracle that she survived.  Most aneurysms are found during autopsies.  We can see God’s hand in so many areas:  She was here instead of alone in Texas, the acute care center doctor made the right decision to order the CT scan and to do it so quickly, the Chicago hospital where she is is one of the best in the country and those doctors sure did the right things for her.  Praise the Lord for His goodness!

My sister, her husband and little boy came the day after the surgery and just left this morning (after staying for a week).  It was wonderful to see them, and I’m glad my sister was able to see our mom every day.   It is extremely complicated for me to get down to the hospital.  I have to have 2 babysitters–one to stay with my four older children and another to go with me to keep the newborn in the lobby (he nurses every 1-3 hours).  The whole process takes 4-5 hours.  So I haven’t been able to go very often.

My mom is improving; she is less confused and is thinking pretty clearly most of the time.  She is able to walk with help.  However, she is in a lot of pain.  They can’t give her too much painkiller because it could mask a possible spasm.  We should find out week what the next step will be.

In the meantime, if you’d like to pray for our situation, we’d appreciate it.  I’ve been under quite a bit of stress trying to figure out how to manage all of this, not to mention sleep-deprived.  I’m so ready to return to a routine.  We’d had family staying with us for over a month and my kids are way out of their routine.  Hopefully, we’ll return to some schooling soon!

My mom and the boys, 3 hours before the bleeding/ headache started:

Kids with Nama

Having fun watching the new washing machine!

New washing machine

Batman, Maid Marian, and Robin Hood:

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