I just experienced the whirlwind of almost losing my husband to what they call the "Silent Killer". His blood pressure was so high that he had a stroke, and his kidneys & liver were shutting down.
The miracle of our loving God is that he walked away with NO damage from the stroke, or to any of his organs including his heart (which they said WOULD have damage because of the severity of his high blood pressure).
For eight torturous days, my husband was in the hospital having stays in several different departments including the ICU because of his critical condition, and even the cardiac open heart ward. He underwent several tests & procedures for them to figure out the extent of the damage and try to rule out if there was any other cause to his high blood pressure.
I'm here to tell you he is a walking miracle - and I'm so thankful!!!! I'm also here to tell you there were days I wondered if I was going to end up in the bed next to him. As the fire hose of bad news from very matter of fact doctors came, I was feeling MY chest tighten, and my stomach churn.
In Jeremiah's absolutely-not-coherent-state right after being admitted to the hospital, he did what many people do...posted a selfie on Facebook. Of course he doesn't even remember doing it, but the result was that I got a flood of messages & calls wondering why Jeremiah was in the hospital. At first it was difficult to articulate what was happening, and I was not prepared to share at that time, but now I'm glad he did it because it brought a community of support I needed, but did not expect.
Upon reflection of this difficult journey, I want to pass on some nuggets of encouragement to those wanting to be a friend to someone walking a loved on through a hospital emergency. I had sooo many people asking me, "What can I do to help?" and I honestly had NO idea how to answer that because my head was in such a fog.
Now that I've walked through this craziness, here are my thoughts on being a friend...
1. Visit & Feed: Many hours would go by as I waited for Doctors to come share news & the next step and I didn't want to leave & miss any information. It was so beautiful when people would come just to bring me lunch & pray for us. But, there were also windows that I knew I needed to get out of the hospital even for an hour (when I KNEW there would be no news...like RIGHT after a test when Jeremiah was still conked out from the meds and they told me it would be later that day before we'd hear anything).
2. Be company during tests & procedures. When tests & procedures were underway, those were difficult, lonely and torturous times. The enemy loves to play on our fears, and our mind wanders to the worst case scenario & we're playing the procedure like a tragic tape in our head. Distraction from the mental torture is so beautiful. One time, our pastor happened to show up at the heart cath lab when Jeremiah was in a procedure, and it was beyond refreshing to have him sit with me right at that moment. I will be forever grateful for him.
3. Make sure the kids are taken care of. The whole first day when I realized this was going to be longer then a quick visit to the emergency room, all of a sudden I'm now needing to figure out what to do with our girls? I can't be at the hospital, and at home with them, and they CERTAINLY can't be at the hospital with me the whole time. It took such a burden off me to have people quickly scoop them up & take them home for the week.
4. Offer to help at the home. Days prior to finally heading to the emergency room, Jeremiah was not well & there was a level of chaos at our home that showed on the counter of unfiled paperwork, strewn schoolbooks on the table, and laundry & dishes that were crying to get washed. We as moms especially want a place people are proud to call home - so as our journey at the hospital was nearing it's end, I wanted to figure out how to get my home clean for the return of the family, but I couldn't be in two places at once. I KNEW this homecoming was different than any other. Jeremiah was needing a nice place to recover, and the girls were needing a nice place to reconnect with their dad - without anyone going into chore mode. It was so nice to have a sweet angel sister come to the hospital with me, then follow me home to help with the straightening up process. We put on worship music, busted out the vacuum, and she was such a companion & help-mate that broke the deafening silence & fear rattling in my head & heart.
5. Coordinate meals for a few days for the homecoming. It was a struggle to get to the store & do my normal meal planning and chores with needing to keep a very close eye on Jeremiah. So it was such a burden off me as the home manager when I got that call that dinner for my family is hot & on the way.
The body of Christ - working together
Now I'm a very avid prayer warrior who loves Jesus & trusts Him with all details of my life, but in times such as being thrown into the chaos of having your husband knock on death's door - THAT'S why God speaks of community - to bear one another's burdens. Even Moses needed Aaron to hold his arms up during battle. We were only meant bear SO MUCH on our own, and the rest is meant for us to walk together - the body of Christ.