I have issues!
How many times have you said something in the past and the words come back into your mind to literally haunt you? I mean every letter and every vowel of each word – replaying over and over inside your head. It is such a grievous feeling of condemnation that it affects you in every possible way.
There are many times through these life challenges that I have cried and wept. What is the difference between crying and weeping? I really do not know the politically correct answer. I can only say, for me crying is a reaction to an emotion. Weeping, for me, is the gut wrenching, down-to-the-cord-of-the-pain anguish. Weeping is when you do not know what to do; you have absolutely no control over the circumstances of what is about to occur in that moment. It is as if you are in an action movie…but everything is in slow motion. You’re there…slowly taking in the drama – the hurt – the pain – the suffering – taking it all in and you have no control to stop it – none whatsoever.
On July 4, 2008, as everyone was celebrating with bar-b-ques, picnics, family reunions and all the festivities of a holiday, my twin brother, my uncle and I went to visit my father at Mercy Hospital in Chicago. As we stepped out of the SUV and walked towards the entrance of the hospital, my father’s nurse rushed out to greet us. Nervously, she swiftly relayed the message that the hospital staff was trying to contact me because my father had been rush to the Intensive Care Unit. Unfortunately, she did not know exactly what had happened to my father and I felt an awful fear begin to enter into me as quickly as my heart could pump blood.
My family and I rushed through the entrance and down a corridor to get on the elevator. As we neared the elevator, the doors slid open and I saw a staff of medical personnel rush off with a patient. I looked at the figure on the gurney and began to cry – it was my father. I found myself sobbing, “What has happened?” as my mind tried futilely to catch-up with all the terror filled thoughts that threatened to overtake my calmness.
The doctor explained in a measured voice that my father was not responsive and they were rushing him to have a MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) procedure done. He then handed me a document giving them permission to conduct the test. My hands shook as I gripped the pen and scribbled my signature. Once I did that, the doctor encouraged us to sit in the family room near the intensive care unit to await the results. So, we sat – and the hour seemed to last an eternity.
We paced, sat, and paced some more. I found that my leg was doing its own dance; shaking uncontrollably in time with the nervous peaking of my heart. Tears of confusion flowed down my face as we quietly waited. After what seemed to be a lifetime later, the doctor walked into the family area and sat on the coffee table near the couch where we anxiously awaited an update. He explained that my father had suffered “Septic Shock Syndrome,” and he needs emergency surgery. The medical team at Mercy had requested for a specialty surgeon at Michael Reese Hospital to come over and undertake the procedure. Standing to leave, the doctor merely said, “The surgeon is on his way…” and turned away…and so we waited some more.
Two hours slowly crept by. Finally, the anesthesiologist walked into the room and handed me more documents to sign – documents that granted permission for the emergency surgery to take place. Again, with trembling hands, I blindly signed where she pointed and, taking the completed documents from me, she then sat and explained the procedure as we listened intently. Like body blows, her words hit me – “Your father has had multiple organ failure – we had to induce him into a coma.” Once again, I felt that weird sensation as if I was in a suspended state where everything was happening in slow motion.
The doctor noticed the horror-struck look on my face and stopped in mid-sentence. “Oh…” she said, “…they did not tell you?” Tears continued to flow down my face as I mutely shook my head. We sat and waited some more while I tried to cling to whatever self-control I could muster; all the while, the suffocating feeling of helplessness continued to rise.
At 2:00 a.m., I finally was able to stop crying but my leg was still jerking like a nervous tic and I knew I had to get a grip. It was time for me to go into spiritual warfare; it is time to contact the prayer warriors. I called Momma Gains, a woman of God who is a prayer intercessor, and explained the situation to her. I closed my cellular phone and continued to pray as Momma leapt into action; contacting her prayer soldiers. The prayer we all used began like this:
“God, you said when two or more are gathered in your Name, you shall be in the midst…”
As the morning hours waned, we continued to pray. We prayed the Word of God for healing. We put God’s word into remembrance, as He requires. We rebuked the enemy of death and we declared God’s word over my father and medical staff. We called on the Name of Jesus for deliverance. Oh Yes – we prayed.
The specialty surgeon walked into the room and sat on the table in front of us. Quietly and efficiently, he explained what had occurred to my father and what he had accomplished during the surgery. “We had to remove his entire colon for it had been infected for quite a while…” he said and, as he talked, I felt my emotions change from confusion and fear – to anger.
As the specialty surgeon continued to explain the surgery in detail, my mind cast back to the last visit we had with my father’s primary care physician … and the dismissive words that doctor had used when we asked about Daddy’s condition. “There is nothing wrong with your father’s stomach,” he had told us, “He is just picking up weight.”
The specialty surgeon completed his report and urged us to go home and get some rest, for there was nothing else we could do for my father at that time. I remembered getting to my feet and asking the surgeon to convey my family’s thanks to all the other caring doctors and medical staff who had labored so long in saving my father.
After a brief recovery, my father journeyed from Mercy Hospital to four more hospitals and finally, to a rehabilitation nursing home. We hated having to leave our father at these hospitals and especially at the nursing home, but we had no other choice. While my father was in that place, my brother and I spent six hours almost every day traveling on public transportation in order to get a one-hour visit with him. Finally, I had had enough and put my foot down. “NO!” I said to his primary care physician and the nursing home’s medical administration. “My father is coming home.”
They tried to discourage me by reminding me of how very sick my father was and how it would certainly be too much for me to care for him on my own. My father had gone from barely walking to not walking at all and only being able to talk with the assistance of a speaking valve. He had a tube attached for the urine; an open wound where the feeding tube was connected, and multiple bed wounds. I ignored their warnings, knowing that somehow God would give me the strength to do what I needed to do. My father came home on July 29, 2009.
I am not going to lie, it has been very hard, and my brother and I get very little sleep. I am physically, mentally, and emotionally tired but these are times when The Holy Spirit within me keeps me strong and I would not have it any other way.
I am trying to heal from the anger caused by the misdiagnoses of my father’s primary care physician ….struggling with the issue of whether or not I should sue him and the company he represents. I am trying to heal from the anger caused by the knowledge that various medical personnel who were supposed to be caring for my father, used ice-cold water to cleanse him. To this day, my father still winces every time we bathe him. And, in addition to the anger, I am trying to forgive myself for trusting the doctors in the first place. And through it all, the words I used to tell my father continue to echo in my ears –
“Daddy – stop being so stubborn before we send you to a nursing home.”
I remembered how I would jokingly say those words to my father while persuading him to do his exercises to strengthen his legs so he can stand longer than a few minutes and walk. Now my father can barely move his legs at all and one leg is permanently bent – unable to straighten.
Each time, I look into my father’s helpless eyes – those words haunt me. Each time, I bathe my father – those words haunt me. Each time, my brother and I try to lift him and position him in the medical bed because he cannot straighten himself – those words haunt me. Each time we suction him through the trachea tube – those words haunt me. Each time we have to use a speaking valve so, he can try to talk – those words haunt me, and each time for the 10 different responsibilities that I do several times a day – those words haunt me.
Yes. I use to tease and joke with my father in trying to get him to do what the therapist required. Although, I was just joking with my father with those words, I never thought that the reality of what I spoke would have come to past in the worst way imaginable.
I am reminded, “Life and death is in the power of the tongue, and you will eat the fruit thereof.” Now, being a prophet, I am careful of what I speak for truly my words will come to pass.
I am no longer weeping, but I do cry for I remember each event that my brother and I endured. I remember the prayer warriors. I remember those who sacrificed to drive us at 2:00 a.m. in the morning, to a hospital that was an hour away. I remember those who were there for us as well as those who did not help us. I remember the so-called friends who turned away. I remember the family members. I remember the coma, how the medication made my father bald, and how now, he has a full head of hair. I remember all the tubes. I remember the respirator, the heart monitor, and all the other machinery that was needed to keep my father alive.
Our words, at times, seem like nothing when we are joking with each other, our loved ones, colleagues and friends. We never really think about it because we are just having fun – joking. How many times have you said words or statements in joking that you really did not mean?
I must admit I learned several lessons from this event. I mostly learned that there is NOTHING MORE IMPORTANT THAN FAMILY – THAN LIVES.
I learnt that when I am weak – and I mean truly weak, “God is made strong,” for there is no failure in God.