Every time I utter the H— word, something happens.
If I even think we have a chance to go home, some unforeseen complication sabotages my grand plans. This week, complex migraines were our mitigating factor. I keep trying desperately to get Rebecca home for a reprieve before we have to turn around and come right back for plasmapheresis/infusion/treatment weeks. But migraines (most likely prompted from her neurological disease paired with withdrawal symptoms) have thwarted our plans. We have already trialed two IV migraine cocktails and are still struggling. We know Rebecca’s body is fragile and we have many outstanding items to address, but even a small break at home would bring emotional and mental wellness that is impossible to procure in the hospital during pandemic shut-down mode.
Today marks exactly 152 days in the hospital since our admission the first week of September.
I know this not because I counted, but because Rebecca and Nurse Matt got out a calendar and counted each individual day. And yes, Rebecca subtracted the blessed week we spent at home over Christmas. The debate on ‘days in the hospital’ started because our tribe loves to feed our caregivers a variety of fat, sugary, gluten-filled treats. Ms. Sharon dropped off one of those particularly delicious treats for our staff and as I was delivering them to our night-nurses, three of them sheepishly turned the cookies down. This is unheard of in the world of nursing and I was momentarily fearful they were all coming down with a bug. But no, apparently they decided to band together and go on a Keto-friendly diet.
And apparently, it was because of us.
I told them I wasn’t sure what was so friendly about any diet – Keto or not and didn’t they know no hospital staff should ever be on a diet when the Taylor family was hospitalized??
Taylor family = Tasty Treats
After my lecture, we all looked at each other and laughed because, in reality, if the nurses had to wait on us to leave the hospital, they may never go on a diet.
We don’t visit the hospital, we live here.
My brother-in-law, Tim, and my two nephews came to visit my boys from California to cheer them up. Tim came to the hospital and tried to get into the lobby, but the check-in lady told him more than a few times that his request was impossible. The check-in lady then saw me walk over waving at Tim and exclaimed, “You didn’t tell me you were with her. She lives here!”
This special treatment bought Tim some time in the downstairs lobby – a big deal for a hospital in the middle of a pandemic. I may not get VIP treatment anywhere else in the world, but apparently, I am a VIP in this hospital….
If I truly believe my God is in control, then it would follow to believe God is not surprised Rebecca and I are in the hospital at this particular moment for such a time as this. Even if that ‘such a time’ lasts over 152 days. Yes, we pray to be home and united as a family but just because our prayers have not been answered in the way we want, when we want, does not mean our God is not working all around us. Even from a tiny hospital room in the middle of a pandemic. Sometimes, I get the privilege to see God’s inner-workings, sometimes I don’t. But the Great Almighty is still working none-the-less.
During our lengthy hospital stays we build our deeply bonded relationships. Because relationships take time to cultivate and build a level of security that turns to love. And God understood that. So while we pray to be released from our seemingly endless hospital stays, God gently answers with, “I know you want to go home, but I have a purpose for you here that far surpasses your desire for comfort. Trust me.”
After we lost our baby Annabelle, and then had a subsequent miscarriage, I mourned the children I would never raise. But God revealed to me a different plan He crafted. One that was exquisitely beautiful in an “only-God-kind-of-way”. One that required Rebecca and I time living in a hospital.
The Lord brings many hurting people in our path, but the most treasured of all relationships are my “hospital children.” The children introduced to me during our lengthy stays. The children that became my unexpected miracles.
One of these hospital children God brought me was a little girl named Josephine. Josephine was hospitalized and had not seen her parents in well over a year. As a young child, she experienced life’s most excruciating circumstances, by herself. She was dying and she was alone. Unable to walk with her ailing body, Josephine was completely dependent on others. And she was incredibly difficult, if not down-right impossible to be around. She fought her caregivers, screamed at her doctors, kicked, spit, and cursed at her nurses. She yelled at other patients and disregarded all rules. She lived the adage “hurting people hurt others.”
Josephine desperately needed someone to love her. Someone who was not paid to take care of her. Someone who would not abandon her during her woeful existence. And God put Josephine in the room right next door to us. Slowly but surely this little girl opened up her hard, outer shell of a layer. She spent hospital holidays as a part of our family and eventually called Rebecca her sister and me her mom. When we came back to the hospital after a reprieve at home, we requested the room right next to Josephine again.
We loved our hospital child fiercely. But when you feel a furious love from God, that furious love bursts forth—it cannot be contained, and my child Rebecca burst forth a love that overflowed.
Years later, Josephine left the hospital with a foster family that took special needs children. I missed Josephine dearly and had not seen her for quite some time when the hospital staff woke me up early one morning from my hospital bed and asked me to come outside. Still in my night-clothes, I thought I was entering a doctor’s meeting and instead saw my Josephine down the hall in her wheelchair. As I started running toward her she asked me to stop. Laboriously and painstakingly, Josephine got up from her wheelchair and walked down the hall into my awaiting arms. The hall was lined with hospital staff that was cheering for her every step toward me. Tears were flowing full rivers from all of us as I saw this child take the first steps I had ever seen. Josephine said she had to come back to introduce her new foster mother to her hospital mother.
Bonhoeffer once said, “We must be ready to allow ourselves to be interrupted by God.”
I was never so happy God interrupted my life. My wounded heart, hurting over my babies that would never be born, was healing over my hospital-given children. God knew though, we needed to live in the hospital to experience His divinely appointed plan. So while I continue to pray fervently for our family to be reunited at home, I am open God’s interruptions, even if those interruptions last more than 152 days.
Thank you Lord.
Love to each of you,