The past days have been like riding a rollercoaster with the many ups and downs. It's hard to believe it's already been a week since we first gathered here in the ICU Waiting Room. While we as extended family have ridden along on this rollercoaster we cannot even begin to fathom what it has been like for Aileen.
Yesterday was a good day and with it we heard the same question asked often. Has Nathan made the turn towards recovery? Is he out of the woods? Today was a bit of an answer to these questions.
We have been travelling down a road with many dips, valleys, hills and mountains to overcome. It's a straight road and for a period of time we couldn't see any turns in that road, it just seemed like a fog of ups and downs. Yesterday we were given the opportunity to see that there is a turn in the road, it's not near us yet, it's in the distance and there are hills and valleys, and maybe even mountains to overcome, but at least we can see that turn in the distance. Our fear is that somewhere hidden in one of those valleys there might be another turn in the road heading in the opposite direction as that turn we can see off in the distance.
As far as we can tell Nathan has overcome the necrotizing fascitis bacteria. It is no longer spreading and the antibiotics seem to have it under control. And so we can see a turn in the road way up in the distance. But there are so many other concerns yet. The bacteria may be gone, but the hurdles are not. Today we seen fevers and an infection set it. This isn't totally unexpected in a hospital setting, but of course we had hoped he would skip that complication, or at least gain more strength before handling another complication. He also required more medication to control his breathing and heart rate, as well as his blood pressure. It's possible these could be related to the infection, at the same time it could be related to another underlying condition. These things in themselves remind us that he is by far not out of the woods yet. The situation remains very critical.
The road to recovery is out there and we pray that he will soon be on the more stable road with less hills and moutains, although still many valleys and challenges. We continue to pray that Nathan's kidneys will recover and that his right leg may heal and not sustain any further damage. We pray that the medications may work to stop the new infection and that further infections may not set in. We pray and we pray, sometimes we feel like we don't know what to pray anymore. Some times we feel discouraged, sometimes we feel encouraged.
So many have offered help, so many have helped, so many wonder how to help. It's hard to say how to help as things change so quickly, but at this time there are a few thoughts in this manner. Many have provided food, snacks, meals, etc. Originally this was wonderful, until it became overwhelming. While it's great to know that there will be food when we get there and that we don't have to worry about that aspect, it does become a bit difficult to know what to do with all the leftovers, bearing in mind the little space that we have (and even this is a blessing that Aileen has her own room). The best way to help at this time is by providing money for meals, parking, gas etc. The hospitals gift certificate system is not the greatest so cash is likely the way to go, vouchers from the school are also excellent as they have a dual purpose within the communion of saints. Cash is small and easy to transport (unless you have way too much of it :) and saves from Aileen having to worry about where to put the things she receives.
When it comes to visits. The questions is often asked whether to visit. Visits are always appreciated. Just keep in mind a few things. Short and sweet is effective. At this time Aileen is at the hospital 24 hours but occasionally she is convinced to leave for a short period of time ... so there may not be anyone to visit when you come (only family and close friends can go into ICU). If Aileen is sleeping please do not disturb her, sleep and food are the most important things for her at this time. If you are visiting other family members there is a chance they may not be there - they could be in the cafe (main floor) in the cafeteria (level 1) or at home trying to rest.
Please pray especially for Aileen. Nathan is oblivious to all that is going on, but Aileen is travelling this road on her own. We may all be here to support her, but none of us are the same support as her hubby.
"Look to the LORD and his strength; seek his face always" Psalm 105:4