… with gratitude.
So, I have been struggling with how or if I should write about what’s been going on at our home during the past couple of weeks. How do I, without going into too much detail, write about all of the miracles that we have experienced?
I have never really been inclined to write about the more spiritual aspects of our lives, but I cannot ignore the role that that has played in this whole situation. I don’t know that we would have recognized all the miracles if we hadn’t had some idea of the bigger picture. There have been lots of things that we haven’t fully understood previously, but that are making more and more sense to us now.
So, although our current situation is far from ideal, I am so grateful that it has been infinitely improved by wonderful family, friends, doctors and employers, to name a few.
I cannot fully describe how comforting it was to have Doug’s brother and his family here. Not only did Mike’s knowlege expedite Doug’s ER experience, he was also there to give blessings and medical advice. I have written about my sister-in-law Ingrid before, but her presence comforted me as much as Mike’s comforted Doug. She stayed with 7 kids all day while we were at the hospital. Then, she stayed an extra two days with her two youngest kids while Mike drove back to Florida with the two oldest. She cleaned bathrooms, bedrooms, the laundry room and kitchen all while watching the kids. She told me not to worry and to just go and be with Doug. When I was having my worst moments, she was the one offering hugs and assuring me it would all be okay. I am just so grateful that I already had a good relationship with her so that having her here seemed like the most normal thing in the world.
I have often told people that they should come to Texas because it is so friendly. When we needed advice on the medical situation I was so happy that I knew I could call my RS President, and not because she’s the RS president, but because she’s my friend. She took care of so many things, that I’m not sure I’ll ever get the full tally. She got the neurosurgeon on the phone, she screened calls, she brought dinner and made sure my kids had Easter baskets and Easter eggs to dye. She kept on calling both me and Ingrid to make sure that I was doing okay, and she was passing along the updates on Doug to those who needed to know. I used to joke with her about not wanting to make it to the worry list, and my hope now is that I’m not on the list for too long!
Now, the neurosurgeon. Doug and I have made many jokes about the abundance of doctors in our ward. It seems like every specialty is covered, and we are always sort of waiting for something big to happen at church one day. We never really thought that we would be the beneficiaries of the expertise. Suffice it to say that one of the most obvious miracles was the neurosurgeon who just so happens to specialize in the minimally invasive version of the type of surgery that Doug needed. We wanted to talk to him just to make sure that what the hospital recommended was the right course of action for us. He offered to come in and do the less invasive surgery at a much closer, brand new hospital, using state of the art tools that he helped to develop. Because of this doctor, the biggest wait we had was for the ambulance to take us to the new hospital. When Doug arrived, the whole surgical team was ready and waiting, and these people all had to be called in. This was a Saturday afternoon, and we were the only ones there.
One of my biggest worries with this whole situation was how Doug would react. I knew that we would be okay, and that whatever his recovery was we would make it work, but I worried that Doug might not be so optimistic. He’s had some bad moments, but so far, they’ve been followed by some great accomplishments. I know that this is more his trial than mine, but I’ve been so impressed with his attitude of appreciation for all of our good fortune. And, not to say that Doug isn’t normally appreciative of his family, but I haven’t minded having him call me a “ray of sunshine,” or “the best wife!”
Doug’s mom came and spent the week with us after Ingrid left. I was a little worried about this, because I had never spent any extended period of time alone with her. How would she react to Doug or to the kids or to my reactions to what was going on? I was so pleasantly surprised. We had a lot of great talks, and I think that her relationship with my kids is the best it’s ever been. She spent many hours with the boys which allowed me to spend time alone with Doug every day. She took them grocery shopping and to the playground. They also had trips to Wal-Mart and McDonalds. I’m hoping that we didn’t take too much advantage of her, and that she’ll still want to come back when we have the baby! Here again I am grateful to Doug’s brother Mike, because he was the one who made the call to my mother-in-law. I don’t know if I would have done that on my own.
My mom is here this week to help, and hopefully things will go just as smoothly. She was in Florida with my brother, so she was able to get here a little more easily than she would have had she been in Canada. The boys love having grandparents around, and I think it takes some of the stress away from Doug not being here. It’s also a great de-stresser for me to have my mom here.
Now I just need to take a minute to thank everyone who has called, sent cards, gifts, brought by meals and goody baskets full of geeky magazines, and in the case of one particularly insane friend, hijacked my front porch and filled it with flowers. Doug has had lots of visitors, and people have stopped by to check on me. I really appreciate that my friends here know me well enough to make me laugh with jokes about walkers and handicapped parking stickers! I have a sister who has the most amazing gift for knowing what to say in tough situations. She has also called to check up on me and just make me feel better. I don’t know how people can get through this kind of thing without a huge support system, and I’m very glad that I don’t have to find out.
We are hoping that Doug will be home soon and that we’ll see some more miracles with his recovery. I won’t list all the other things that we’ve enjoyed, because I don’t want you all to think that I’m bragging. Until now I’ve never really understood how people could be grateful for their trials, but ever so slowly and surely, I’m starting to understand.