Life is most revealing when you experience bumps in the road. Character is exposed and relationships show their true colors.
God is also most revealed to us, it seems, when life doesn't go as we have planned. I don't remember the quote because it has been so long since I even knew where her books were, but I used to love reading the author Ann Kiemel Anderson. But I do remember she once said something like 'experiential writers are always going to have some hard things in their lives because that is where they get their material'. Now I don't purport to be a writer like she was, but, I get a good deal of personal creativity expressed by writing my thoughts down here. And boy have we had material.
My heart is overflowing with all of the experiences of our family from the past month that I need to write some things down, but I don't really know where to start.
We brought our dear son home from the hospital last night and I truly expected to tuck him into bed, get a good night's sleep and spend the afternoon today with him outside walking around the yard for exercise. Instead, when I walked into the house after a morning appointment, my guys were literally walking out the door to head back to KU Med to have another procedure done. And last night? Well, by the time I fixed us something to eat and started the laundry and did the dishes it was late and Adam was ready to go to bed. But first I needed to change the dressing on his drain. When we looked at it we realized that something was very wrong and ended up calling the "fellow on call" to see if we could fix it or would have to get in the car to head back to Kansas City. Fortunately it seemed that we fixed it and sometime just before midnight we all got to bed. Apparently something could be done to further help the drain work better and they have gone to get that done this afternoon.
Over the past four weeks I have watched my son deal with pain, suffering, confusion, distress, disappointment and fear. He has handled it all with grace and that's a big deal. Ever since he was a little boy Adam has NOT liked surprises. It is part of his very intricate and amazing personality and has often caused him much unhappiness. But over this time of trial he has dealt beautifully with all of the ups and downs (mostly downs) that have taken all of us by surprise. He treated each person who came into his room to deal with him in a respectful and decent way. Even when he was intubated and partially sedated he would reach out to shake the hand of the doctor or nurse and "say" thank you by pressing his hands together and raising them up to the ceiling just as he had verbally said it when he was not incapacitated.
We also saw the grace and love of many of our friends and family over the many weeks in hospital. Adam's three dearest friends all live in the KC area. When they were all counselors at camp years ago they named themselves The Quad as the four of them lived together all summer in a room. When Adam was intubated and couldn't talk he "asked" to write things to us in order to communicate once he was a little bit more lucid. One of the first things he wrote was "I want the Quad heeeeeeeeeeeere." Those three young men answered the call of friendship to him and came to visit him, some more than once over the 4 weeks. Thanks Mark (and Ashley), Gavin (and Janice!) and Jason (thanks for letting him take off on a Saturday, Miranda).
The folks at Adam's work sent their well wishes countless times via messages, funny videos they made or phone calls to perk up his spirits. Even when he was under the effects of versed or propofol he would mumble things that made us think he was "working" at his job. Many days he would say that he just wanted to go back to work because he loves his job.
Caleb and Rebecca Broxterman came by one night and visited as they live in the area as well. It was fun to watch them listen attentively to Adam as he regaled them with trivia and stories of racing horse legends from the Triple Crown races. When our Zach came with the boys' friends Jordan and Derek it felt like they were back in their college house chatting again.
Our closest friends Scott and Vickie and Charlie and Judi came and sat with us, listened to our fears, or took us down to the cafeteria to eat with them to get out of the room. Another couple of friends that we go to church with came and visited . He also happens to be the CEO of the company for which Adam works. I found out that he had written "thanks Boss" and gave it to Brad while I was out visiting with Pam. Dear friends from the past and parents/sibling of Adam's dear friend from grade school, Dawn, Clint and Kortney came and took all of us by surprise one Sunday afternoon. Their son Nate was Adam's best friend in elementary school and was the best medicine at the time of Adam's transplant 16 years ago. None of us will ever forget Nate and Adam sitting in the hospital bed eating string cheese together in September of 1998. One of Craig's co-workers came by one day to visit as well as some dear friends from home who now live in KC and pastor a church there. Thanks so much, Matt and Jill! Charlie and our discipleship pastor Chris graciously drove my car down one day so that I could get home and take care of Anna for a few days. The fact that they took that time and also the prayers they prayed over him meant so much to Adam.
Of course our family has supported us and loved us through all of this in so many ways. All of our grown kids came down once, twice, or more to sit with us and spend time with their brother. Katrina spent the night with me while Craig had to go home and file some taxes. Nathan gave up his day off and stayed way too late just to be with all three of us. Zach came by with friends to cheer up his brother. Craig's sister Susan and her husband Mike live nearby and came by once as well as Susan stopping by a couple more times on her way to or from the airport for work. Sister Trish and her husband Mike flew down one Sunday afternoon from Minnesota and spent the afternoon. Then on their wedding anniversary weekend they flew down again and surprised us by stopping by the hospital on Friday night, driving to Wichita the next day to visit Nathan's annual Garden Show, travelling on up to Manhattan to surprise Zach and Katrina at each of their jobs, and finally, drove on to Sabetha to surprise Anna at her school's basketball game. Their unselfishness at giving up their special day to make our family feel loved was above and beyond what we could have imagined. My sister texted and called me more times than I can count and was constantly telling me that it was all she could do to keep from coming and being with us even though she is a teacher and a busy mommy. I kept up with my mom each night after we got back to our hotel or she would call me during the day to get updates.
Something that means the world to me is that I never once had to worry that Anna was happy, loved, fed and sent to school and all her activities. Scott and Vickie and Charlie and Judi loved her like one of their own children and allayed her fears that her parents would never return.
And lastly, but most significantly, my husband fought the giants of bureaucracy, made sure that Adam got the care he needed, listened to countless doctors and specialists with me, stayed by his side all but 2 days of the entire time, cried with me, held hands with our son across the bed with me, took care of all our lodging and meal needs, walked the halls with us, pushed the wheelchair outside with us, went out and got whatever Adam wanted to eat, swabbed his mouth with sponges dipped in water when Adam's lips were parched from no drinking, worked at his job from a hospital room, and prayed for us after I read scripture over Adam each night so he could sleep without fear. All of that and much more than I could ever recount here.
We give thanks to Jesus Christ Who alone is the great healer and comforter of those who are in need.