Up until this point, I felt peaceful and didn’t have any fear. I was in the best hospital I could imagine. Michael finally knew that I wasn’t a hypochondriac. My kids – both my kids were there. That was a miracle to me. I was surrounded by professionals and love. I knew I’d be alright. I felt like God was working overtime to reassure me of it. I kept thinking “the enemy kicked me in the head; but God, in his wisdom allowed it! – I look forward to see the good He’s going to bring from this!” I felt like I was being carried along in perfect peace…. I’m sure the steroids and pain killers contributed, but it was much more than that.
Then came Monday morning, 4:30 am. They woke me to start to get me ready for surgery. I was the first one of the day, since mine was such a major thing. That thing in my brain was huge, the dr’s wanted to be at their best in attempting to get it out without killing me I guess. When I look at the before and after pictures, so many questions come to mind. How on earth could they have done what they did? How could their hands have been that steady? How did they keep from injuring anything? It boggles the mind. In any case, they woke me up for surgery and I had a sudden new emotion: terror. I was never so terrified in my entire life. I realized that this was really going to happen. They were really going to go into my skull and dig this monster out of my brain. I thought about how I might not wake up to see Michael or my kids again. I thought about waking up damaged. I thought about my entire life; had this been it? It seemed like there was so much left to do. And God had just brought my daughter back to me! I knew I had to calm myself down or my blood pressure would go up (it had tended to be high while I was there), so I just started to reach for the only comfort I knew – God’s Word. I began to recite scripture (here’s a good argument for committing scripture to memory), when you need it, it’s there. I recited every scripture that came to my mind; praise scriptures; promise scriptures; Jesus Words, scriptures and more. Some would that it was emotionally based, but I know better, and above all, it worked. I became calm. I sand praise songs, and then I started to pray for every single person I loved, every single one who I could think of, for God to watch over them and care for them in the intimate way He knew of all their needs. A couple of times, nurses came into the room to check my blood pressure. They seemed to understand completely and quietly smiled at me. Finally, the transport nurse came and got me. I was calm. I knew that no matter what happened, I was in God’s competent hands.
They wheeled me to the pre-op room and Michael and Aaron and Gwen, my sons’ girlfriend, were there in the hall, I remember. They looked so scared. They were pale. They were terrified. Their words reassured me, but their faces were full of fear. I did my best to reassure them that I was going to come through this and everything was going to be fine. I don’t know how much it helped. It broke my heart to see them so afraid though. My sweet husband and my beautiful boy. I willed, with everything in me to make it through this thing for them. I would speak only words of faith!
In the pre-op room, they had to do a dog gone pregnancy test on me before they could sedate me.. of all the ridiculous things… standard procedure, they assured me. Everyone was so upbeat and kind. And they all had the confidence of true professionals. It showed. Then my main anesthesiologist came in…. He frowned a big frown and started rustling papers around, telling the nice nurse that what he needed was not there. He tossed papers this way and that “dont need this” “where’s that” “this isn’t what I need”, all the while frumpy frowning. In a rare moment of boldness, I patted my hand on the little hospital table and said “hey – no negative attitudes in my operating room – I need to see smiling faces!” I wish I could have gotten a snapshot of him. He WAS the farmer from the painting “American Gothic”! No joke! Google it up if you don’t know what that is. At my comment though, dr frumpy cracked a smile, a real big one. He light heartedly said something to the effect that he wasn’t unhappy at all, or something nice. Then two other anesthesiologists came in, a guy and a girl, the girl looked just like “little Gray” on Gray’s anatomy. I said “Oh, thank goodness, Little Gray is here!”. She smiled and said she got a lot of that. The guy anesthesiologist assured me that “dr American Gothic” was actually a good, kind soul, and not to take his frowns seriously. I could tell he meant it so I was reassured.
Then they rolled me in! On the way in I saw Dr. Spooner and told him that he was going to be a “rock star” in there! My goal was for every single person in that operating room to go in expecting a good outcome, even those who were not necessarily believers. I have a hunch that most of them were, though.
If you want to read chronologically, you’ll go down to my “what I experienced during surgery” post at this point.
After the surgery;
I woke up crying, telling everyone I’d been in heaven, or at least had been on my way there. They all just methodically kept telling me I was at Skyline Medical Center… like I didn’t know that… it’s ok though, they wanted me in the here and now, I got it. Still, I had experienced something so life changing that it was nearly impossible to keep my mouth shut about it. I’d had a glimpse of glory.
I was wheeled to ICU where my ICU nurse; Marshall, took over (a “tongue talking Pentecostal” he called himself). God bless Marshall. He took such good care of me. It turned out he lived right in my own neighborhood, and he had the most gorgeous kids (he showed me pictures). I had to sit up for a few days, so that my head could drain. So I sat up and slept and ate and got pumped full of medicine. Marshall did a good job of keeping the pain to a minimum. I longed to hear some worship music, but my ipod was tucked away, without it’s charger, and loading up my songs on it would have taken someone a good part of a day by the time they found everything. I told Marshall, and he left me his Ipod with some soft, pretty worship music playing. It lifted my soul so much! I wanted the presence of God, his peace, his healing, just his presence. And God inhabits the praises of His people! I don’t remember too much about my day in ICU. Michael, Aaron and Gwen came in. I think Brittany came in. It’s all a bit of a fog though. I do remember how happy they all looked when I kicked my feet and moved my hands to show them I was all intact. I’d made it through the worst part! All Glory to God!
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I spent another 4 days in the hospital. Mike and the kids ran back and forth to the hospital every day. Mike continued to keep Classic Petra going through it all. I kept looking for signs that he was breaking under the stress, but if he was, he didn’t show it. He was in ‘soldier mode’ I think. God carried all of us along through those days. I think back now and realize how emotionally trying it was on all of us. In the midst of it, though, we were carried with a strength that was not our own.
My son… I have to write this down. I had never seen him take on such a role. I was so proud as I watched him overseeing every detail of my care, screening my visitors and calls, being aware of everything and making sure that his mom was being taken care of inasmuch as he had any power over it. And Gwen was an angel. She sat and held my hand and told me that I was brave. I didn’t feel brave. I felt blessed to be so loved!
I asked our pastor for help at home. I was sure that my husband couldn’t handle all of the intense care I’d need at home. As it turned out, though, Mike was amazing. Nancy was with us for the first week, and she helped him get organized. Mark Kelly and a friend of his came to the hospital to see me and I was so blessed by that. I couldn’t wait to tell Mark that I knew how happy his dad was in heaven!
My kids went home and back to work and only Nancy and Michael were left to bring me home. It’s a strange thing when your mind isn’t working 100%… you don’t realize it. I look back now and see how out of it I was. Poor Michael and Nancy. But someone was always with me, keeping ice on my head, giving me medicine on time… it was such a big job, now that I look back on it. Nancy left and I cried. But Michael stepped right in and took over fully. He would sit up all night long with me when my brain swelling hurt so bad, and he kept cold ice on my head, then he would be up at 6am, to work on things for Petra. He would cat nap here and there, and that’s about all the sleep he got for a while, for a couple of weeks at least.
God was good and so faithful to us through it all though. I started to heal much faster than they had expected. I kept passing hurdles weeks ahead of time. It was so encouraging and still is. I believe that I will be back to my 100% self within a year!