Not Enough Words
Mar 3, 2019 | by Nancy Newbrough
I thought it was strange when I called my 70-year-old dad from my home in North Carolina and he did not answer or return my call. Two days later I still could not connect with him. My husband also tried unsuccessfully to call him. When my older sister messaged that he had not replied to her text, a really horrible feeling came over me! After getting no answer on his home phone, I immediately contacted a close friend in Katy. She and her husband went to his house.
It was December 19th. I was on the phone with her as they entered the house (thankfully, the back door was unlocked) and she suddenly said, “Gotta go, bye!” She immediately called 911 because they found my dad in his recliner unresponsive, but breathing shallowly.
My dad has been a member of The Fellowship for many years. Our pastor happened to be passing by and saw the ambulance’s flashing lights. He stopped and followed the ambulance to the hospital where he prayed for my dad.
My sister who lives in Houston got there as fast as she could. A CT scan revealed a massive amount of blood in the brain, and Life Flight to the Medical Center was ordered. The doctor said to call in all the family because Dad was not expected to live.
As soon as I got the call, I went to the airport with my 18-month-old son at midnight and got in Houston at 6 a.m. I just wanted to give my dad one more hug!
The doctors in the Memorial Hermann Neuro ICU were hopeful. My dad had experienced an AVM rupture and his brain was flooded with blood. (Arteriovenous Malformation is a tangle of abnormal blood vessels connecting arteries and veins in the brain.) Surgeons fixed the AVM and put in a drain for the blood. A trach and feeding tube came next. My dad got pneumonia from the trach, but eventually began progressing and after three weeks went to TIRR (Texas Institute of Rehabilitation and Research). The therapists, doctors and staff at TIRR were incredible and so creative in ways to get his body to respond. The first sign of improvement -- when he wiggled his toes -- was so awesome! Two weeks later he mouthed, “I love you,” and that was like fireworks going off!
Now there was real hope. He stayed at TIRR a month and went from mostly unresponsive to sitting up in a wheelchair and able to have limited conversations. The trach was taken out before he left and a persistent cough soon went away. He was transferred to a skilled nursing facility in Katy that has recently opened. What a blessing not to have to make those trips to the Medical Center every day!
The move was hard on dad and he slept two days straight. Once awake, he was alert, talking more, and interacting with my son. He understood what was being said to him and participated a bit in the conversations.
We knew all his progress was an answer to prayer! Intercessors, friends and family have continually stormed heaven on his behalf. Dad has been a member of the Prayer Team for many years and is being repaid many times over for faithfully praying for others.
His progress continues to be miraculous! He has regained movement of much more of his body – even trying to stand up, but not there yet! Tremors associated with brain damage have greatly lessened. He has been taken off of two medications!
But a tremendous breakthrough came this past week. A speech therapist has been working on his ability to swallow, and ten days ago he passed a swallowing test with flying colors. On Monday he started having lunch – pureed and melt-in-your-mouth food. Soon he will progress to more meals and denser foods. We can hardly wait for the feeding tube to come out!
The staff is amazed by the number of his visitors. When my son was sick for two days and I could not go, seven people came to visit him. His visitors include friends from church and his LIFE Group, family friends and many fellow landmen. One landman flying through Houston laid over to see Dad. Because Dad is a graduate of West Virginia University, his trauma has been on the alumni social media. A nurse friend of an alumnus voluntarily went to stay with him several nights when he was ICU.
Ironically, just three weeks before Dad’s crisis, I had come to clean out his house to prepare for downsizing. Because my sisters are in college or working, keeping up with everything has primarily fallen on me. My husband’s company is allowing him to work from Katy. Dad had everything well-organized and well-planned with both long-term disability and long-term health care in place. Such unbelievable blessings!
This is the most traumatic experience of my life. As one who suffers from colitis, I have only been able to function at times because of the prayers of so many! Never have I grown so much mentally, emotionally and especially spiritually! There are not enough words to praise our Lord for all He has done and will continue to do!
Praise him for his acts of power;
praise him for his surpassing greatness.