Update on Dad…

Dad’s health improved this week, that he went off the oxygen feed late on Wednesday (at his request, approved by the nurse on duty), and plans began to be made to transfer him to the Health Center connected to his apartment complex, “Cedarcrest.” On Friday, he was moved and settled in there, and a group of friends gathering with Mom and Dad in his new room (it sounded like a party when I called!). Dad sounded good on the phone.

This past week, in those 12+ hours each day at the hospital, I found some time to talk with my Dad in between nurses and others coming and going. Thursday morning was wonderful in that we have 90 minutes without ANY interruptions. I read scripture, talked and prayed with Dad during those precious moments.

Please continue to pray for his physical and spiritual well-being….

airplane_cartoonI got home from Wisconsin on Thursday night, but almost missed my flight out of Chicago! I had allowed plenty of time to get to O’Hare from southern Wisconsin, but did not plan on Interstate 90 near Elgin, IL, coming to a near halt for 65 minutes! We covered maybe a mile or two in that time. By the time I arrived at the Dollar Rental car site it was less than 90 minutes to take-off! But those folks processed me quickly, and I got my “own” shuttle bus to the airport terminal, then got in line to check my bag — 60 minutes to take-off. The to the infamous O’Hare security lines, which were surprisingly shorter than Albany’s just then. Then a brisk walk/jog to the United concourse (a separate building connected underground). I made it 30 minutes before boarding — and had grabbed a ham sandwich as I walked. Whew.

Let me testify to the Lord’s presence and empowering in my life during this trip. He gathered many to pray for me & Dad, and some to provide special support to Laurel and I — for which we are so thankful. I could see the Lord’s mercies day by day, and was so blessed in my devotions during the trip.

Isn’t it often the case that the Lord’s richest blessings come to us in the midst of our more difficult days?!

God is good.

Visiting my ailing Dad in Wisconsin…

(It helps to write about things, and you may be interested to read about my trip and (hopefully) join me in prayer for my dad’s health and spiritual well being…)

wisconsin-road-map1Sunday afternoon my family called to say my dad’s health had weakened, and they were planning a procedure for the next day at noon. After a couple of conversations it seemed important for me to be there in Wisconsin with Dad, Mom and the family. I put out a quick email/prayer request to the church elders, and looked online for travel arrangements. I found an airfare which was close to reasonable in cost, that left at 6 AM from Albany for Chicago (Midway), with enough time for me to drive to Janesville, Wisconsin (2 hours). I was up on Monday at 3.30 AM with Laurel, who dropped me at the airport around 4 AM. (And I’ve been up “early” every since!).

Travel went smoothly — I even got a nap on the flight, (despite the great sermon I was listening to on my ipod), awaking only when my own snoring got too loud. The familiar drive from Chicago to Wisconsin, from urban setting to rural, was a good time for reflection, prayer and preparation. * What would I talk to my Dad about first? Would there be any quality time for the more significant issues of faith and the future? What Scripture passage might be good to share? My morning devotions on Monday (at 4.30 AM at gate A6 in Albany), were in Hebrews 12 — about the Lord’s discipline like that of a father with his sons!

I got to the hospital well before Noon (I had forgotten to factor in the change of time zone). The family was all in Dad’s room, but stepped outside to share some concerns. Some felt things were moving way too fast. A week before, Dad had fallen and broken his right thumb. He’s had trouble standing or walking due to his congestive heart failure diagnosis, and some serious troubles with his legs and feet — complicated by his diabetes. While at the hospital last week, they had to amputate his right leg, below the knee. That went well, but after surgery, he was having serious trouble swallowing.

Dad, age 78, continued to weaken, and so they began to discuss placement of a permanent feeding tube (a PEG) — a direct portal to his stomach. This was scheduled for Monday, but delayed to double check his esophagus, run a CAT scan, and watch for improved strength for another surgery. Thankfully, I was able to help Mom, Dad, and siblings with these discussions, getting more info (specifics) from the doctors. It’s strange how being “the son from New York” gains me some measure of special attention from the doctors and nurses. Interesting!

I am convinced that Dad’s stability since Monday, the good discussions, additional medical information — and the peace about making decisions — is ALL a result of the prayers of believers, near and far. Thanks for praying!

Well, all tests indicated Dad was unknowingly allowing food and drink into his lungs whenever he swallowed (diagnosed as “silent aspiration”), creating a huge risk for pneumonia and worse. This is most common with stroke victims, or weakened elderly folks. So the procedure took place midday Tuesday, and included the removal of the feeding tube which ran through his nose and down the throat. All went well, and by Tuesday night, Dad was showing signs of improvement.

This morning (Wednesday) dad looks better. His right leg continues to heal without any troubles, and the tiny cast on his right thumb is off, with pretty good results there too. If he continues to improve, he may be able to move into the Cedarcrest nursing facility, directly connected to my parents’ housing complex, by the weekend. My return flight is scheduled for midday Thursday, and I should be able to keep that.

I have lots of thoughts and reflections on this visit, but will save them for later, Lord-willing. Let me say this — especially to those who were at CPCC last Sunday: did you forget our closing benediction? I nearly did, but the Spirit has reminded me of it. It was the Spirit of God that led me to it at the close of Sunday’s service, and now I see it was read for my benefit many hours before I learned of my dad’s troubles — behold God’s provision of real help and comfort!

If any of us have been prone to forget such benedictions (or other blessings from the Word), may we be freshly challenged by this experience.

HEBREWS 13:20-21 Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen. (ESV)