Tuesday, November 22, 2011


It was very rainy this morning. I listened to the beautiful sound, reset my alarm clock for another hour and went back to sleep.

A few hours later I was at the office going through e-mails and getting ready to deliver some packages and pick up the mail. I had a lunch date with my sister, Abby, at noon and when I saw a missed call from her around 11am I sighed. I hoped she wasn't canceling, because I was looking forward to trying out the Italian restaurant and the rare opportunity of lunch with her on a weekday.

Picking up my cell I called her back. "Hey, you called?"

"Oh good! Yes. We are almost here at Memorial Hermann." Abby has two modes during stressful times, 1) Panic, most common 2) over-the-top calm. She had on the fake calm voice- I knew she was trying to prepare me for something. That's the kind of voice she used a few years ago when we were told our dog was dying...thankfully the vet was wrong that time. :)

Wondering what she was talking about and who could be at the hospital I prodded her. "Why are you at the hospital? What's going on?"

"Well, Mom has been checked into the hospital..." her voice faded out as my mind kicked into gear.
Mom and Sally were supposed to have gone to the community college to register for courses at 8am. This meant that maybe something had happened- a car wreck?

"What happened?" I asked, unsure if she had said or not.
"Well, Mom is having heart pain and the doctors have been doing blood-work. They've got her hooked up to an EKG and in a room..." again I missed what she was saying.

"We're here, I'll let you know what room she's in in a minute, ok?" Abby's calm adult voice irritated me. I didn't want to be an adult today. I feel like we're playing pretend when we act like adults, if that makes any sense. Perhaps because I spent my whole life once she was born playing house, mermaids, sharks, foxes, safari hunters, Steve Irwin, etc, etc, etc. We had very active imaginations. :)

My boss had walked into my office and sat in my spare chair as I wrapped up my conversation with Abby. Once I hung up I blurted: "My Mom's in the hospital I need to go, is there anything you need me to do before I leave?" "Um, no." he said. "No, I don't need anything." "Ok" I said.

I looked at the packages that needed to be delivered and thought about the mail that needed to be picked up. As I type this, I realize that I forgot to give the ladies my mail key...drat! Bonnie was able to take care of the high priority tasks for me and so I ducked out of the office and drove the 5 minute drive to the hospital- probably the closest I'll ever be to a hospital during an emergency. Thank you, God, for the short drive!

I got lost in the hospital and eventually reached my Dad by phone- he gave me the room number and told me to ask the front desk where the right elevators were. I did and eventually appeared on the 3rd floor where my sister found me and took me to the room. Mom looked exhausted but otherwise well. She was in a hospital bed and I had that feeling that it wasn't real. It couldn't be. My Mom, in the hospital?

It was a long day. Longest for my Mom.
Around 3:30pm I left the hospital with my youngest sister to pick up some stuff from the office that I needed before Thanksgiving. We were able to thank the ladies in the office for their help and prayers and then rushed home. At 4:30pm my Mom finally walked in the door. She'd been in the hospital since about 3am- 13 hours.

I know what you're thinking: "How did you not know your Mom was in the hospital for 8 hours?!"
It does sound bad.

Well, all of that and the rest of the story are explained my my e-mail to my co-workers, posted here:

Dear Grace Team,

Thank you for your patience with me as I disappeared this morning. I cannot tell you enough how humbly grateful I am to get to work with you all! It is such a blessing to me!

My Mom spent 13 hours in the hospital so they could monitor her heart and blood pressure. She's had a swollen foot since March and because of that, a pain management doctor has been trying different meds to see which one will take away the swelling, etc.  They still don't know what's wrong with her foot.

One of her meds ran out 12 days ago and the doctor hasn't been available to answer his phone or anything. At 3am she was unable to sleep because of sharp chest pain and woke up my Dad to let him know she'd be heading to the ER. My poor Dad was so out of it that after asking if she needed him to take her and her refusal, he dropped back to sleep. He slept in today and around 8am headed out the door. Abby and I thought he was headed to work- he didn't tell us what was happening. Mom and Sally were supposed to be gone by 7:30am to register Sally for Spring classes at Lonestar and since that car was also missing (and we didn't see Sally- who slept in) we assumed all was well.

At 10am my Dad came home and got Abby and Sally because things looked serious and she was checked into a room. They were planning much more blood-work and tests. Her blood pressure levels were very bad 3 different times during the day. They called me around 10:50 and within 10 minutes I had given Bonnie and Tameka the high priority tasks and run out the door. We spent most of the afternoon waiting on a doctor. Apparently the one who was supposed to be there didn't let his back-up know that he wouldn't be able to make it and so we heard "just a few more minutes" for hours. My poor Mom had been not allowed to even drink water in all this time because they were waiting to run the tests so at 2pm I went and asked what the news was. The nurse told me she'd try to reach the doctor again and would know everything "in a few minutes". I knew it wasn't her fault so I went back to the room. At 3pm I went back again, she called and then told me she'd call them back in 10 minutes. By this time I was ready to have her hand me that phone, my Mom was uncomfortable and where was the doctor? I went quietly back to the room though. Amazingly, 10 minutes later the nurse came into the room with a shocked look on her face: "I told them that I needed the doctor's cell phone number immediately and they gave it to me!" She sounded shocked and pleased and told us the doctor would be in soon. 15 minutes later he was there- extremely apologetic since he didn't know that he was supposed to be in. He went through the charts and, on my Mom's begging to be allowed to head to Arkansas for Thanksgiving tomorrow, he agreed that she could- if she took the new meds he prescribed her. Hooray for quiet persistence and prayers!

She came home around 4:30pm and crashed. Now she's up packing and we're taking turns babysitting her and begging her to take it easy- it's not my turn so I'm typing this.

Her funny moment of the day: Before my Dad got back with my sisters, my Mom grew impatient and decided she'd get up and ask the nurses in the hall if they knew when the doctor would be in. The nurses told her soon and slapped a neon yellow "Fall Risk" bracelet on her arm before steering her back to the hospital bed. After getting over the frustration my Mom cracked up and acted sarcastically proud of the thing when we arrived. :)

We're headed up tomorrow to Arkansas and coming back Saturday. Please pray that we'll travel safely and God will protect us!

Thank you again for all of your graciousness and empathy today. I hope that you have a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday and will see you all on Monday!



  Happy Thanksgiving everyone!! :)

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Early Thanks

I know that it's not Thanksgiving yet...but with everybody already decorating for Christmas and the lack of time I may have later perhaps you'll indulge me...:)

Today I am grateful for so many things:

1) The GSOT Fundraising Banquet went well and I had my CityLife Team and most of my family there for moral support (even though I barely got to say anything to them and never was able to eat the salad...another story, another day...)

2) My sweet friend, Casey Bell. She and I were up until 2am baking, doing Bible study, and watching an old Esther Williams movie while knitting.*

3) My CityLife Team...we have spent the last 7 months sporadically exploring Houston, studying what life is supposed to look like after college, doing Bible study, paintball, kayaking, black & white movies in the park, etc. I love them.

4) My job. I visited both of the nurseries (garden centers) downtown today after my CityLife meeting where I spent my first year after college. I have to admit, I was missing some of the aspects of that job: being outdoors all day, talking with different people all the time, doing light garden design...and of course my coworkers and bosses. I spent an hour at each place visiting, listening, getting hugged to death, and came close to tears. However, the gossip they wanted to share poured forth and I remembered that I LOVE working at the seminary and avoiding all of that. It was a good reminder for me to be especially thankful for where God has placed me.

* I'm a terrible knitter...and actually I'm crocheting a scarf right now which may be done by the time I have gray hair...though I think the color would clash with gray hair...