Thursday, October 23, 2014

Total Honesty

Last week, for what might have been the first time ever, I was completely honest with someone when they asked me "how are you doing?" The past couple of weeks have been the hardest weeks of my life, and when asked this question I couldn't hide behind a fake smile, I simply responded "Okay." Truth is, I'm not even sure I'm "Okay." I feel like my world is falling apart and I may just lay down and crumble right along with it.

A little over three weeks ago, on Monday, September 29th, my grandma, Mamaw as we like to call her, checked into the hospital for a triple bypass. The surgery went well and throughout that week she was recovering nicely. That Friday, she started to have trouble breathing and after having a CAT scan, the doctors found that they left a sponge behind during the bypass. The sponge was irritating her lung and causing it to fill with fluid as well as causing her diaphragm to be elevated. They had to do emergency surgery that night to remove the sponge and then drain her lung. I was at the hospital when they took her back for surgery and Mamaw was so scared. She didn't think things "looked good." We were all there to reassure her that this was a simple procedure, but we were all scared too. Mamaw has never done well with anesthesia and was finally coming out of the fog from Monday. Not to mention, she had just had a major major surgery and was having to go back under very quickly after. I'm not really sure of all the details, but when they went to put Mamaw under on Friday night, her heart slowed down enough to where they had to administer CPR to get her breathing and her heart beating normal again. It only took a minute or two, but for an 80 year old, this can still be significant. They proceeded with the surgery afterwards.

On Saturday morning when they took her off all sedation, she would not wake up. We waited and waited all day for her to wake up and although she barely lifted her eyelids, she would not come to. It seemed to us she was just taking a while to come off of all the medication. Then, she started having facial tremors. It seemed her brain was irritated and the tremors would increase as she was stimulated. This was concerning the doctors. On Sunday we were all prepared for the worse. A neurologist came in and did an EEG and found there to be brain activity and no sign of swelling or significant trauma. We were beyond relieved and filled with hope again. They sedated her again, allowing her brain to "rest," with plans to take her off sedation after 24-48 hours. On Tuesday morning she was taken off sedation and we hoped that she would soon wake up. Again, we waited and waited. Come Wednesday, we were told that things were not looking good. We were devastated. This was not supposed to happen. The doctors worried more with each day that passed that she did not wake up.

We continued to wait and as Mamaw seemed to show little signs of progress everyday, we continued to hope. She might move her toes one day, then finally respond to pain in her hands, then move her arm and begin to open her eyes. Here we are, three weeks after her second surgery and we continue to wait.

Today, the doctors removed the ventilator. Mamaw is breathing on her own and she is opening her eyes more and more, but has yet to give a cognitive response. No one will ever be able to convince me that she cannot hear us when we are talking to her. I know she knows that we are in the room and talking to her, but she doesn't seem to be able to communicate back. So, we continue to wait.

I cannot stand the thought of not having my Mamaw around. She has been the hub of our family for so long. Almost all of our traditions revolve around her (and her cooking) and there is no one we want more at every event, every shower, every family function. I have missed talking to her from the moment she went into this self-induced coma. I have listened to her voicemails to hear her voice again and I yearn everyday to hear her sweet giggle. Mostly I think about my sweet Henley. Oh how I want her to meet Mamaw. I want Mamaw to hold her and to poke her nose like she does with every baby. Yes, I selfishly want Mamaw to meet by baby girl, but mostly I want my baby girl to meet Mamaw. I want her to know that Mamaw is one of the most special people that she would ever know. The thought of life going on without Mamaw just seems odd and wrong. How can she not be here? This wasn't supposed to happen.

Every time I look at Mamaw in her hospital bed I can only think "this is not right." How could we have gone up to her house the Saturday before her surgery and sat and talked with her and now she can't even communicate with us?

I know I am one of the lucky ones to have gotten to know my Mamaw and to have spent so much time with her. Mamaw taught us all to love so well. She loved us all something fierce and we loved her the same in return. She adored my Papaw and he still adores her. I will miss the days of hearing him call her "Madame." God broke the mold when he made Kitty Ruth Silk.

As we continue to wait, we continue to pray for a miracle, but are also resting in the fact that Mamaw knows the Lord and we have to trust him. If a miracle is not in his plan, we will hate it, but we will know that she is in a much better place. I can't say that I have a peace about her not being here, but I will trust my God. It would be so easy to praise him if Mamaw came back to us, but we will continue to praise him no matter what.

I love you Mamaw. I'm not sure I will ever adore or love someone the way I do you. You are the most amazing grandma. I will miss and think of you every single day. You will be the person I talk about for the rest of my life. You will be a part of the stories I tell my children. My heart will ache every single day for you, but I will look forward to seeing you again one day in heaven.

You call me out upon the waters
The great unknown where feet may fail 
And there I find You in the mystery
In oceans deep
My faith will stand 

And I will call upon Your name 
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise
My soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours and You are mine

Your grace abounds in deepest waters 
Your sovereign hand
Will be my guide
Where feet may fail and fear surrounds me
You've never failed and You won't start now

So I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves 
When oceans rise 
My soul will rest in Your embrace 
For I am Yours and You are mine 

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders 
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me 
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander 
And my faith will be made stronger 
In the presence of my Savior

I will call upon Your name 
Keep my eyes above the waves 
My soul will rest in Your embrace 
I am Yours and You are mine 

-Oceans by Hillsong United-

1 comment:

  1. Hi Natalie! My name is Heather Von St. James and I had a quick question for you and was wondering if you could please email me when you have a free moment. It's hvsj12 at gmail dot com :-) Thanks, I hope to hear from you soon!