Sunday, April 22, 2012

Great is Thy faithfulness (surgery update)

It is Sunday night, and once again I'm fascinated by numbers.
All of my life I've studied numbers: wins and losses; batting averages; yards per carry; points per game; height and weight and time in the 40 yard dash.
Even the last two years I've studied numbers: pounds of debris cleaned, miles of beaches worked, number of dollars spent and invested.
Now I'm watching more numbers:
127 - pulse rate; down from the 144 beats per minute of the last 24 hours.
110/65 - blood pressure, up from the 90 over whatever it was most of the last day.
99.9 - temperature, down from the 101.6 which wasn't terribly high, all things considered, but not normal.
66 - I'm not sure what this number means. It has something to do with the heart, and normal is between 60-75 I was told; for most of the last day and a half that number has been closer to 60.
These are MG's vitals. There are more of course .. far more monitors and screens and beeps and graphs than I'll understand. MG would understand them all; she made a point of knowing everything that was going on in situations like this. When my Dad was in the hospital with a Factor 8 blood inhibitor disorder, she soon knew as much as the hematologists and other specialist treating him.

MG had emergency surgery tonight. Not emergency in the sense that anything was particularly life-threatening, but emergency in the sense that for the last day or so, her "vitals" had not been right. They'd not been stabilizing the way the doctors hoped. So finally, the trauma surgeon decided rather than wait until tomorrow when he surgery was scheduled, he'd just do it tonight.

Let me back up some more. In the list of "insults" that occurred to MG's body, I don't know that I mentioned collapsed lung, lacerations to her kidney, and a bruised heart.
I don't know if 'bruised' is the right word for heart, but the cardiologists were concerned that her heart rate was staying up in  the 140s. And her blood pressure was not coming up. And she was showing loss of blood - barely, but enough to notice and create concern. Blood oxygen levels had dropped. And who knows what else.

I didn't mention all that, because I get caught up in the 'big' things. But as we all know, it's the 'little' things that can kill you.
So she had surgery Sunday night. Slowly, friends started showing up. It was after 8 p.m. and I was sitting with Tracy and MaryClaire, but then Sara Beth and Roecker and Grayson and Rob and then Kevin Delaney show up.
The nurse comes to say the doctor wants to see me in the conference room, and of course I'm terrified. But the news is good. They checked out the abdomen, and nothing was bleeding. There was a lot of fluid built up, and they did an antibiotic wash and took out the sponges that had been left in from the previous surgery to, I guess, soak up stuff. They put in another drain from her pancreas to watch what came out there. They saw the hematoma in the pelvis was still there, but that was expected and the body will absorb it eventually.
But almost as soon as the sponges were removed and the cavity drained, the heart rate started dropping and vitals went up. It's as if the body was just rejecting all the crap - oh, how MG hates that word! - that was inside her.
So Dr. Cox seemed pleased. There will be more tests Monday. There are concerns over blood in her urine and a few things like that. They are watching her heart because of the trauma it suffered, but there is nothing they can do but let it heal.
But if everything continues like this, then Tuesday they can go back in, clean up again, and close up the abdomen - hopefully for good.
And then turn it over to the orthopedic surgeons to start putting the pieces back together.

I asked about the ribs. As I've said, roughly all her ribs on the left side were broken, many several times. But the feeling seems to be that ribs tend to go back into place, and as one doctor said, "By the time she needs them to start breathing on her own, they'll have already started to heal." Isn't the body a wonderful machine? Isn't God the ultimate healer? We're talking maybe two more days before they take her off the ventilator, and her ribs will be ready to help support her natural breathing.

Oh, that was another thing - during surgery, they checked her lungs and she could be breathing on her own. Don't ask me how they know or test, but that's what they said. I accept their word on that.

I went back to the waiting room so excited - and there were Ralph and Rick and Suzanne and Jay and Pam and Dan and Laurie and Warren and Pastor Williams and Kelly and ... I don't know. I'm probably missing someone.

But we had church. Right there in the little dining room off the side of the waiting room. We held hands and prayed and thanked God and, well, had church.

And God was there. We know, because we brought Him with us. But of course when we got there, we found He was already there anyway.

So now I sit beside my Trophy Wife, watching her lie there, suddenly looking so much more peaceful than before. Of course, I didn't realize she wasn't peaceful before because she looked the way she looked. But now I can tell so much of a difference.

Thank you for caring. We're a long way from being out of the woods. There are miles to go, and decisions that have to be made, and more hurdles than we've ever faced as a married couple.

But tonight, I feel a burden lifted.

Before MG went back to surgery, I spent the afternoon talking to her, reading to her, because she always said my voice brought her comfort (which means, put her to sleep - but her description sounded so much better).

And I remembered these words, sung so often in my youth:

Great is Thy faithfulness, oh God my Father.
There is no shadow of turning with Thee.
Thou changest not, Thy compassions they fail not.
As Thou has been, Thou forever will be.
Great is Thy faithfulness. Great is Thy faithfulness
Morning by morning new mercies I see.
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord unto Me!

I'm going to bed now.
I think I might actually even sleep.


  1. Thanks so much for the updates, Ray. We are so sorry to hear about the accident and difficult road ahead for your family, but we're holding you close in prayer over here in England!

  2. This was one of the passages I was reading this morning. Felt led to share it with you. I am praying for wisdom and peace for you and your family and for quick, miraculous healing.

    Psalm 91

    1 Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
    will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.[b]
    2 I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress,
    my God, in whom I trust.”
    3 Surely he will save you
    from the fowler’s snare
    and from the deadly pestilence.
    4 He will cover you with his feathers,
    and under his wings you will find refuge;
    his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.
    5 You will not fear the terror of night,
    nor the arrow that flies by day,
    6 nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness,
    nor the plague that destroys at midday.
    7 A thousand may fall at your side,
    ten thousand at your right hand,
    but it will not come near you.
    8 You will only observe with your eyes
    and see the punishment of the wicked.

    9 If you say, “The LORD is my refuge,”
    and you make the Most High your dwelling,
    10 no harm will overtake you,
    no disaster will come near your tent.
    11 For he will command his angels concerning you
    to guard you in all your ways;
    12 they will lift you up in their hands,
    so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.
    13 You will tread on the lion and the cobra;
    you will trample the great lion and the serpent.

    14 “Because he[c] loves me,” says the LORD, “I will rescue him;
    I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.
    15 He will call on me, and I will answer him;
    I will be with him in trouble,
    I will deliver him and honor him.
    16 With long life I will satisfy him
    and show him my salvation.”

  3. Prayers for all of your family and friends. When I was working at the mission last May, Mary Grace was always a ray of sunshine amidst the oftentimes chaotic activity. I hope she now feels the love of all of those whose lives she's touched.

  4. Matthew 18:19-20
    19 “Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. 20 For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.”
    You are all (doctors and nurses too) in our prayers! God is Faithful and full of Mercy. Mary Grace is His child and He is holding her! God bless
    Paula and Mike Richards