This is a marathon, not a sprint.
I finally wised up and turned both my 4G and wi fi off so if the hospital needed to contact me they could but my facebook app could not interrupt my sleep. I woke sometime in the wee hours, (my fault, not Elliot's, even, since he was having his very first sleepover with Grandpa and Grandma) and my mind went over and over the last 48 hours. A verse kept floating through and I finally looked it up.
That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day. 2 Corinthians 4:16
It was exactly what I needed, I went back to sleep, at peace, waking exactly 7 hours from when I had first laid down.
I went down stairs, finding Lana asleep on the couch. She sat up groggily as I put my tennis shoes on and told her I was going out for some fresh air and exercise.
The sky was brilliant blue and the shining sun felt wonderfully hot on my shoulders. I ran to the end of the road, my tennis shoes slapping the ground, my lungs burning until I could go no further. I slowed and continued walking, there I ran into my great-great-Uncle Don, who is in his 80s and runs 7-10 miles a day. He stopped when he recognized me and we had a sweet little visit there on 151st street. He encouraged me and told me how they were praying: Don himself had a skull fracture in the 1980s and had to learn to do everything all over. It felt a little like talking to his big brother, my great Grandfather, and it was so sweet to meet up with him there, thank you, Jesus. After I left him I started running again.
If Uncle Don can run and he's over 80, I can run my measly 1.75 miles!
As I ran, I envisioned my worries lifting off my back, praying that God would truly take them away. I thought about all the good things God had done and was doing in our lives. I counted the day as pure joy, I counted my lungs taking in air, our sweet sweet baby boy, being so good and patient, I thought about how God could have taken Brian but didn't, how it was so wonderful that I had worked at the hospital Brian was in for three years- it was almost like home to me, I felt so comfortable there-How God is truly sovereign and that the strange nesting cleaning binge I went on the night before the accident was to put my mind at rest when we spent all our time at the hospital (Not because I was about to leave on vacation, as I had supposed it was.) I thought about how glorious it was that I was not pregnant as we had hoped I would be. I felt so joyful taking in the familiar horses in their pastures and hearing the birds chirping, anticipating waking Brian up that day. I so looked forward to seeing his beautiful blue eyes. Would he know me? Would I see his sweet smile? I didn't know, but I couldn't wait to see what God would do that day.
Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you.
I got home to find Lana puttering around and for the first time in days I ate a full meal, thoroughly enjoying a bowl of oatmeal. We chatted casually, she making plans to run some errands and deciding on dropping me off for some "alone" time with Brian. I put some clothes in the laundry and was sitting quietly at the table, taking a proverbial breath before leap when the phone rang.
This is Jason, I'm one of the PAs working with Dr. Nemecek. They did a STAT CT this morning and the hematoma on the opposite side has started bleeding. We want to take him to the OR as soon as possible, and need you to come in to sign consent.
Oh Wow. Okay. I was just finishing things up here, I can leave right now.
We threw ourselves together, the black journal we used as guestbook, the mini laptop and charger, cell phone charger and snacks, Elliot's clothes all got dumped into a handbag and as Lana drove as fast as we dared, I called and texted. Brian's parents, my parents, our siblings, a few close friends and Facebook. I needed those prayers. Matt Redman's 10000 Reasons came on the radio and I turned it up.
Bless the Lord, O my soul/ O my soul/Worship His holy name/Sing like never before/O my soul/I'll worship Your holy name /The sun comes up, it's a new day dawning/It's time to sing Your song again/Whatever may pass, and whatever lies before me/Let me be singing when the evening comes
The news of the surgery jolted me more than the first time.
We were supposed to work on waking him up! He already had a surgery! Please God, be with Brian. Please God, be with the surgeons, Give me strength. Though our bodies are dying every day You are making us new. Please God do that it Brian today.
Lana left me at the front of the hospital and I carried my gear upstairs and left the majority of it in the waiting room.
Hello, I'm the wife of the patient of 5114. I'd like to go see him. And I need to sign some surgery consent.
The volunteer gatekeeper of the ICU gave me a sticker labeling me and ICU family member and went to see if it was okay with Brian's nurse for me to go back. It was such a strange feeling to ask a stranger to go see my husband, the decision entirely up to them. When the "warden" returned, I went back, walking the long distance with quick steps.
I found Brian's nurse, Marisyl, a pretty dark woman sorting out his "spaghetti" IV lines in preparation to send him down to surgery. She explained how he had a decreased response to his neuro checks especially on one side, so she sent him for a STAT CT scan which had showed the bleeding. She got him as ready as she could without the PA coming and also said she wanted to switch out the bed before or after he got back from surgery. She left for a bit to check on her other patient.
I put the Hans Zimmer Pandora station playing on Brian's baby laptop and pulled the chair up as close as I could to the bed, wanting to be as close as possible. I missed him, and that was only the third morning. I laced his stiff and puffy fingers through mine, and lay my head on the bed next to him. I willed him to lift his hand, to touch my head with all my might, but there was nothing. I poured out my heart to him, telling me how empty our bed was, how quiet our house was in the evenings, how Elliot missed him, how I just wanted to see his beautiful eyes, how I missed his gentle voice, how scared I was of losing him, how much I loved him and how I prayed for him with every breath. I told him how wonderful people were being to us and that my mom was coming on Wednesday. My tears fell on our hands and I wanted him to comfort me with all my heart, but he wasn't there. I told him about the Bible verse coming in the night and so I read that aloud to him and I promise he squeezed my hand at the words.
You see, we don’t go around preaching about ourselves. We preach that Jesus Christ is Lord, and we ourselves are your servants for Jesus’ sake. 6For God, who said, “Let there be light in the darkness,” has made this light shine in our hearts so we could know the glory of God that is seen in the face of Jesus Christ.
7We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves.
8We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. 9We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed. 10Through suffering, our bodies continue to share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies.
11Yes, we live under constant danger of death because we serve Jesus, so that the life of Jesus will be evident in our dying bodies. 12So we live in the face of death, but this has resulted in eternal life for you.
13But we continue to preach because we have the same kind of faith the psalmist had when he said, “I believed in God, so I spoke.” 14We know that God, who raised the Lord Jesus, will also raise us with Jesus and present us to himself together with you. 15All of this is for your benefit. And as God’s grace reaches more and more people, there will be great thanksgiving, and God will receive more and more glory.
16That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day. 17For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! 18So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever. 2 Corinthians 4.
The PA came in then and I signed the consent, and left them to switch Brian to his different bed. People had come to the waiting room while I was back and we visited and said hello. I still hadn't seen my brother, Troy, since the accident, and I had texted him to let him know Brian was going for another surgery. Shortly after he appeared off the elevator all work boots and construction worker clothes holding two Iris.
Where did you get these?
I dunno, some house off Hawthorne.
It was so sweet that he had thought of the flowers (poor lady's garden on Hawthorne Boulevard!) and walked off the job to be there. I later learned our sister had called and told him to get there! I rushed to get him back in time to see Brian before he left, and we were just in the nick of time. He was just rounding the corner to the elevators, so we were able to stop him and Troy say a quick hello. It was a strange moment when I recognized one of the OR Techs, whose name was also Brian, incidentally. I could see in his eyes that he wished it wasn't our family, and it wasn't my Brian he was wheeling down. He promised to take good care of Brian, and they were gone.
We kept our vigil in the waiting room, and made more small talk. Several church ladies stopped by and they were a welcome encouragement and distraction. Brian's parents came around then with Elliot. He had woken them up very early and they were really tired.
An hour later or so the same Neurosurgeon reappeared looking grave. He smiled when he saw me.
Brian is still very injured. But I think we got the cause of the bleed. There was a tear in the sagittal sinus, which is a vein along the back of the brain on the dura. It bled a lot, which is common, I had my colleague's thumb on it holding pressure, we added a local coagulant and got a lot of the other blood out. I also placed a few sutures which seem to be holding. He's getting a couple of units of blood, and we'll keep a close eye on things. In fact, he's going straight to CT before he comes here. His haircut just got worse. But things went as well as can be expected.
I shook his hand, took his card and he was gone.
One person I loved seeing through everything was my sister in law, Liv. She was 8 months pregnant and I had anticipated helping her with her two boys through the last few months of her pregnancy. As it turned out, she took Elliot a few days and I was more of a hindrance than help. I loved seeing all of our family (don't be hurt, family) but I loved Liv's belly. I was so excited to meet our nephew or niece (at that time they didn't know) and feeling her round firm belly reminded me of good things and sweet babies. It gave me hope for our family and I would especially look forward to going to the hospital to meet the newest Wilson and imagine how happy our family would be.
All three of our nephews and of course Elliot kept everyone entertained and distracted. Lana got to spend a lot of time with them. We really felt what we were missing out on with her in Pasco, we don't get to have her a part of our daily life. It was such a treat to have her around during everything! I also knew Brian would love to see her if he were at all cognizant. She's one of his favorite people.
As we sat around and took turns walking around with the boys, we saw Brian being wheeled down the side hall toward the patient elevators to CT. He had a small patch of bangs that had not been butchered by the OR barbers and it turned up in a perfect rooster tail and bounced as he went. I couldn't help but laugh. It was funny. I hadn't yet seen the forewarned terrible haircut in person, but I could tell from yards away that it was indeed bad.
The trauma PA from the day before came and found us as we crowded the anteroom and lobby.
This is the first time since Brian's been here that I have only good news. The CTs have shown the bleeding to have stabilized, and we found the source! I haven't detected any permanent damage to the brain, though of course it's too early to tell, but that's a good sign. His vitals and labs are good. We are finally on the upward slope.
A kind smile and she was off, and I was smiling too.
We went back to be with Brian after shift change and I met his night nurse, tall, blond and viking like. She was straight and to the point which is exactly what I needed. We had a concise visit about my expectations and theirs. AKA, I needed to tell them when I was there as they are waaaaayyyy too busy to check if any family is out in the waiting room, and I was welcome to be back with Brian as much as I liked. In fact, as he woke up and started squirming they hoped I would be there more.
It was hard to articulate my desire to not be in the way or be an obnoxious family member (I'd worked in health care too long; I knew they existed) but also be involved.
We packed everything back up to carry it home, knowing we would only do it all over again tomorrow.
But that was tomorrow.