When Crisis Comes
Jun 9, 2019 | by Nancy Newbrough
A few months ago, my father passed away at the age of 91. About a week before, I had flown up to Canada to see him. My dad recognized me and smiled – he knew that I was there! My older brother and sister were also there as the end was near. We were able to plan the funeral and everything fell into place easily. At the funeral we had a chance to catch up with family members not seen for many years.
My 92-year-old mom handled it all very well. For quite some time, we had been trying to convince my parents to move into an assisted living facility ... with no stairs. But my dad wanted to stay in his home and he would not consider moving! During the years of my dad’s health struggles, my mom would not even give herself permission to fly to Texas to see our family. She wanted to look after Dad herself – a very faithful wife in every way!
Once Dad passed, we invited her to come to our daughter Maggie’s high school graduation. She was very excited about it, and my brother was available to escort her. They were scheduled to fly on a Thursday afternoon. We later learned that two days previously, she left the house using her walker, but tripped on a sidewalk, fell backwards and hit her head on the ground. As God so planned, a neighbor saw it happen and called an ambulance. Mom was admitted to the hospital, but praise God that a brain MRI showed no damage. She was cleared to fly to Houston on Thursday.
A wheelchair was used at the airport to get through customs and to the gate. Once in Houston, a wheelchair again got her down to baggage claim. The first sign of trouble came when we walked her about 50 feet to the restroom; she was not steady on her feet and the walk seemed to exhaust her. But once we got to our home in Katy, she bounced back, ate a good dinner and had a good night’s sleep.
On Friday, a lunch gathering was planned with my wife Jane’s parents at a local restaurant. Once again, a short walk into their home seemed to cause dizziness and a general feeling of not being well. My mom drank down a cold glass of orange juice and seemed to recover. But once we drove to the restaurant, walked inside and sat down, she got ill again. This time she lost consciousness -- her eyes were still open, but completely blank and she was not answering us. For a few hard seconds, we actually thought she had died; my father-in-law was holding her hand and felt no pulse.
My mom then began convulsing, and the restaurant manager quickly called for an ambulance. Maggie started to pray while I tried to get Mom responsive again – somehow (I know it was God) she managed to sip some cold water and began to recover.
Once at the hospital, we told them about her fall a few days earlier. Our minds were racing about the possibilities, but we trusted God to handle the details that we could not even yet imagine. A CAT scan was ordered and confirmed there were no issues with her brain. Bloodwork revealed that she did not have a heart attack. She did have a small bladder infection, so antibiotics were ordered. The doctor kept her overnight for observation and ordered a scan on her carotid arteries to look for blockage. There was none! My mom has a bad heart valve, so the doctor figured that might be the root cause. This was all very good news because we had wondered if she might need some kind of emergency surgery here in Texas.
The next day was Saturday -- graduation day! The doctor released my mom, saying she could even fly back to Canada on Sunday as scheduled. Once we told the hospital staff that my daughter was graduating in a few short hours, they expedited my mother’s release. Typically you wait a few hours, but they worked so fast that I was able to get my mom and brother back to our house and still arrive in time to see Maggie graduate in the Merrill Center. The graduation was also streaming on the internet, so Mom got to watch her granddaughter graduate on TV! God was there every step of the way!
It became clear that my mom’s mental health is also fading – she frequently got confused as to where she was, how old my Maggie was, etc. We talked with her about moving into a nice assisted living facility with no stairs to navigate and where meals would be provided. To our relief, she was very agreeable to this! An opening has become available, and she will begin to transition within a few weeks.
We are truly grateful to our Lord! He always looks after His sheep, constantly providing, answering our prayers, taking care of big as well as small details that we do not always see right away when in a stressful situation! All glory to Him who is our very present help in time of need!
I call on the Lord in my distress, and he answers me.