Saturday, January 21, 2017

And then, a broken hallelujah

There's only one word to describe the past two days.  Broken.

Late Thursday night, Shelbie was called in to do a stillborn photo shoot at the local hospital.  She's been awaiting this call for a year and it has been something she has wanted to do for many years.  She is one of the hospital volunteer photographers for these situations.

She asked if I would say a prayer with her so that she would take good pictures and bring peace to the family.  It was a sweet and tender moment.  When she got home, she cried and cried and cried some more.  It was very hard for her to see that kind of grief and to hold and handle a tiny, 10 oz., 10 inches long, 18 week, perfectly formed baby boy who was breathing on his own and who's tiny heart beat for more than just a few minutes, much longer than expected.  It was hard to then see him return home to his Father in Heaven, already accomplished in what he was to do here.

A broken hallelujah.

We left just after 5 am on Friday for Shelbie's MRI scans of her spine and Spencer's follow up with the Cardiologist.  The roads were an ice rink from our front door to the outskirts of Salt Lake.  We arrived 15 minutes late and after a 4.5 hour drive in that mess; exhausted.
Huge flakes of snow falling in Salt Lake

After the first round of testing, we ran down to the cafeteria to grab food before the next long scans. At the table beside us, sat a man.  He was eating breakfast but tears were pouring down his face.  In between bites, he would hold his head in his hands and his whole body shook with sadness and grief.  After just a few minutes of this, he cleared the tears from his eyes and left.  I wanted so much to comfort him.  It was heartbreaking.  He was so young and all I could think about was what seemed to be his great loss.  I paused myself, to pray for that stranger.

A broken hallelujah.

Shelbie was so sick.  From the time we arrived, she was crying and in pain.  She had a fever and chills and aches.  We started her out in a wheelchair and by the time we made the long walk across the sky bridge for her scans she was not well.  I had limited resources with me as far as medication.  I called three of our docs and no one was around.  I called the pharmacist who supplies the plasma because I thought she was having a bad reaction to it.  He gave me some ideas but all treatments would require a doctor and here we stood in a major hospital full of doctors and no help to be found.

Spencer and I reclined the wheelchair so she was basically laying down.  I bundled her up in blankets and gave her what 'over the counter' meds I thought might bring her some relief. I had Ativan to help her through the hour long MRI and sent her off with the nurse and a hope and a prayer.
In hopes of making her laugh...when I asked her what music she wanted for the MRI she said "Today's Country"  My response to her was, "Well, in case they don't have today's country I will put that they can play yesterday's country too."
Ha ha. 
 Her scans took a little longer so we only had time to rush back down to the Cardiovascular Clinic for Spencer.  Shelbie continued to cry.  There was no way I could take her back with Spencer so I missed his appointment and sat with her in the corner of the waiting room.  I have missed every single one of his cardiac appointments because I have had to take care of someone else with more pressing problems.  

The guy who checks people in, and has become like family because we are there so often, kept coming around with bottled water and offers to bring relief to Shelbie.  He was so concerned.  I was so concerned.  Just before Spencer was through, he came over and said, "You should take her to the urgent care.  She's really sick."

Yes, I thought, that is what I need to do.  There was no way she was going to make the long car ride home in this condition. He was an answer to my prayer of confusion as to what to do for her.

A broken hallelujah.

We hurried down the hall, past the Starbucks to the Urgent Care.  They quickly directed us to the ER. The ER staff checked her in but we had to wait nearly two hours for a room.  Because she is immune compromised, they would only allow her to be in a private room.  I'm a small town girl where everyone gets a private room in the ER so I was confused.

The ER waiting room was packed with sick and miserable people. Shelbie was getting worse by the minute and losing her patience and it was a tough situation. I was getting worried and I was tired and the whole day was feeling claustrophobic to me and I wanted to find a way out of my life. After Shelbie snapped at me for not making them move faster, I excused myself and ran to a distant bathroom to gather myself.

I stood in the stall and cried and cried and begged and pleaded for God to intervene and get her some help so we could just go home.

I cleaned up my face and hurried back to the ER.  No sooner did I sit down, they called her back.

A broken hallelujah.
The pain scale didn't go high enough for Shelbie so I added a face for her.

I was not prepared for the sight I saw as they took us to her room.  People everywhere!  Dozens and dozens of nurses, doctors, police officers, paramedics, lab technicians and patients!  Patients laying on beds all along the hallways. No privacy.  It was chaos.  Way too much for this sensitive spirit of mine.  It was too much for all of us and Shelbie went into panic mode when we got to her room where we waited some more before being seen.

The ER was overwhelming and loud and Shelbie was unravelling!  I said to Spencer, "Please just give her a blessing.  Quickly.  Before nurses and doctors start coming in."  It was the last thing I could offer her.   I stood at our door to keep anyone from entering while Spencer blessed her.  I wanted that room to be the holiest place in that moment.

And while the spirit filled that room, a man laid on a gurney beside me, with blood covering the sheets, mouthing off to a nurse.  On the other side, a man having a moment with his drugs was withdrawing.  Across the hall, a women broke with reality and howled and screamed.  The place was littered with brokenness and grief but inside that little sterile room where the three of us sat, the spirit was there and for the first time in days, I felt it.

A broken hallelujah.

Shelbie has Influenza A apparently.  I can still hardly believe it.  I'm still not sure how that happened.  I have Sam who's immune system is even more crippled since he's been a week on steroids with his pneumonia, now the flu to contend with in girl with only the immune of others to fight this. In the mix is Spencer who is in no better immune shape than those two and he has a sore throat.  I can only imagine what is coming next.

All day long, on every TV in the hospital, the Inauguration was being played out.  On many stations there was a split screen of the rioting that happened simultaneously.  The entire day, I kept wondering how we all became so broken.  I was disgusted with the people rioting with such anger and for no good reason.  I was angry with the FB feed of friends, people I know who have nothing but horrible things to say about a man who has the courage to at least try and lead this country.  How can anyone know what kind of job he will do at this point?  How can anyone not want to do anything but hope good things for him?  Why do we have to be so mean to one another? So divided?  How did we become so selfish?

How is it that I live in this world of hurt?  I hate it here. I hate what has become of people.  Everyone just seems too busy to be the loving, patient, caring spirits we were meant to be.

The anger and meaningless rage and hostility out in the world, was a sharp contrast to the heartbreaking, sadness and grief that few choose. I witnessed this broken world in every second as we sat at that hospital.  It was more than I could even bear to witness.

As I fell into bed last night, some time after 1am, I gave thanks for the little hallelujahs I was able to experience, even though, no especially...since they came during some of the most broken moments I have experienced.


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