Tuesday, November 6, 2012

God is good, powerful and mighty

Ok people, I am proud of myself for attempting to post tonight. Feel free to read and comment as you like!

Happy Election day to everyone!  I believe as Americans it is pertinent we exercise our right to vote!  I am excited to hear who will take the leadership role of president for the next four years.

Besides being election day, one year ago today Josh experienced something that made my heart break, into a million pieces.  It was so hard to see someone I love hurt, and knowing there was nothing I could do to make it better.  Up until that day I had never stepped foot into a hospital room that belonged to someone I knew.  I can remember what his room smelled like, what it looked like and I still get chills every time I think about how I felt when I saw him lying in bed.

I wanted to give a timeline to all those who have heard some of the story, parts, or know nothing about it.  Sunday 11/6/11, started to be an ordinary day.  Josh was home from college for the weekend and we were going to go to church together.  Being the college athlete and adrenaline junkie he is, early that morning he lifted weights and ran a 5K.  After he ran, he came back in a lifted more weights and then headed back out to run.  He didn't make it very far because he felt a excruciating pain in his chest.  He decided to go back inside to see if the pain would go away.  He asked me what a heart attack felt like and told me his chest hurt.  I honestly just looked at him and told him he would be fine.  He had just finished cross country and hadn't lifted weights in months.  I just thought he had pulled a muscle in his chest.  In the back of my mind I was thinking, there was no way he had a heart attack because of how ridiculously in shape he was.

We went to eat breakfast and he went to ask his mom about how he was feeling.  Luckily with her mama instincts she convinced him to go to urgent care to see if anything was wrong before he had to head back to school.  It was around 9ish AM when we arrived and he didn't have to wait very long because they thought something was wrong with his heart.  I waited in the waiting room while his mom went back with him.  After waiting for a while I got a text from his mom saying he was headed to the Hospital in an ambulance.  This was when I started to somewhat panic.  I kept thinking "how in the world could a person so active be on the way to the hospital with heart problems?"  Little did I know while Josh was in the ambulance the wonderful EMT was listening to his lungs and realized he wasn't hearing anything in the left side of his chest.  He was the angel that figured out he had collapsed a lung and it wasn't his heart.

When we got to the hospital I had never been in an emergency room and wasn't able to go back with him at first.  After who knows how long I was able to go back there and see what was going on.  They had told him his left lung had collapsed and the doctor would be in soon to tell him what they were going to do to fix it.  All I remember was the room spinning and I laid my head in my lap to try to take everything in.  I prayed for God to keep Josh safe.

When the doctor came him he told us that Josh had a collapsed lung AKA in doctor terms a pneumorthorax.  I will never forget the look on Josh's face when the doctor said he would get a chest tube and it would take a few days to become normal.  It was a look of fear, stress and uncertainty.  I was still in utter SHOCK.  Little did I know that those few days would turn into having surgery and being in the hospital for 12 days.  After waiting in the waiting room, he was taken to a patient room where he stayed for 8 days until surgery.  Still living with uncertainty, his mom and I went up to his room and the doctor had us go out so he could put Josh's chest tube in.  This killed me more than anything. I knew Josh hated needles and everything was happening so quickly that I was wishing I could be there to help him through it, but instead, I went to yet another waiting room until we could go in.

To move this little story along, Josh had the chest tube put in to pump his lung back up and hopefully heal itself.  I came to visit him everyday after work and ended up taking time off because I had lost my voice due to laryngitis.  I cannot tell you how long those days were.  I would sit with him in bed to keep him company, not really knowing what the next day would hold. 
This picture was taken the first week Josh was in the hospital.  I was given that leaf blanket from someone at school and he liked it so much he still has it :)
Day after day doctors came in to check on Josh's status.  When they discovered that the chest tube did not work, the talk of surgery started.  Oh surgery.  He had been in the hospital, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday waiting for his lung to heal on its own. On Saturday and Sunday we got in our brains that surgery was the best option.  He was scheduled for surgery Monday morning, but he didn't go back into the OR until 5pm Monday evening.  I went to school that day with half of a voice hoping that when I came to visit him he would be out of surgery, but his time was set back until late afternoon.  I still remember the moment and I couldn't take my eyes off of Josh as he entered the doors of the OR.  My heart literally sunk into ten million pieces.  He looked scared, cold and hungry. Every ounce of my heart wanted to be with him, but God gave me a little hope as he was rolled away behind the white doors into the unknown.

Josh's parents and I took the elevator to the waiting room of the heart tower.  This is where the waiting began.  Those 2+ hours were the longest hours of my life.  For everyone that knows me I am a VERY impatient person.  I hate waiting on anyone or anything.  This was a trial for me because every second I waited, I worried even more.  I said a prayer every opportunity I could.  Horrible things went through my mind, but somehow I made it through 2+ hours of waiting.  We got word that he was out of surgery and the doctor would talk to us soon about the procedure.

Josh had little blisters (called blebs) on this back side of his lungs that burst, causing his lung to collapse.  They said that anyone can have blebs on their lungs, and there was a chance that they could burst.  It Josh's case, he had several that started to leak.  They hoped that with the chest tube, the blebs would heal on their own.  Since they didn't, they went in through his side with a small camera and could see that their were several blebs leaking on the back side of his lung.  With X-rays and a cat scan they weren't able to see the leaks until they got inside him.  Luckily they were able to patch up the air leaks so he his lung would stay inflated.  After talking with the doctor, I learned that everything turned out fine and the surgeon said Josh had the most "pristine" lungs he had every seen. I guess all of the running and biking he does helps him look good on the inside too! ;) My heart finally had a happy feeling, knowing that all he had to do was heal.

I went home that night feeling a sign of relief, but the next four days were rough.  I went to school the next day and could not speak a word.  I had lost my voice.  This happens at least once a year and because of all the stress and the sore throat I had, it didn't make it better.  I went to the doctor, and luckily I only had laryngits and was able to see him the next four days.  It was so hard to see Josh suffer through the pain of healing after surgery.  Honestly, those four days were a blur, but I really feel like those little four days made our relationship stronger.  There was a connection between us that never would had happened if he hadn't gone through this experience. The only thing I remember is sipping on tea to get rid of my sore throat and comforting Josh when he was in pain, especially when they took his epidural out a few days after surgery.  I have never seen him suffer so badly.  Josh has a VERY high level of pain tolerance.  Once they took the epidural out, the nurse was suppose to get him pain medication, but she got caught up on something and didn't come in and give it to him until his pain had reached above a 10.  I remember being so frustrated because there was nothing I could do to help.  That is when God stepped in and I could feel his presence calm Josh and I.

On Friday, Josh went home and still had several months of recovering to do.  He went back to the emergency room the following Sunday after he went home because we thought something else was wrong, but he was just in the healing process.  What blew my mind was within a month or so  he was riding on his bike trainer to get back in shape.  He still had the determination and drive to do what he loved to do, despite the suffering and set back he had.

Whew.  I hope this give everyone a better idea of what 11/11 was like for Josh.  Feel free to comment.  I am a true believer that God puts trials in our lives to make us stronger.  That 12 days was a trial I hope I never have to experience again.

Here is one of my favorite verses.  I put in on Josh's white board when he was in the hospital.
"Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us." Romans 5:3-5
Josh and I the first week in the hospital.  I sat right there or next to him every time I could.  I love this picture because he has a good 5 inches he could have scooted over, but insisted being close to me :)

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