For four days now I’ve been wishing for a right turn. Right is the way I turn now to go to my dad’s regular hospital room and left is the way to the ICU, where he has spent the past three days. I’m thankful for all the turns in life through which the Father leads because I have that wonderful assurance of Romans 8:28. “All things” (the good things and the bad things) “work together” (are assimilated) “for good” (to be in the best eternal interests) “to those who love Him and are the called according to His purpose” (for faithful Christians). That makes every turn the right turn for me.
Lots of you already know that my father has been hospitalized since Friday afternoon. For many prayers and kind words and visits and snacks and meals and cards, we are very thankful. Dad’s main problem is pneumonia now and I covet your prayers for some easier breathing. I think the brewing pneumonia and resulting lack of oxygen to the brain last Friday morning was the cause for his disorientation and confusion, As he later said, “Cindy, I have just never been so inept and confused in my whole life.”
I said, “Dad, could you not even think to call me?”
“I could not think of the answers to any questions and I didn’t know what to do.”
So he went to the church building. In all of his confusion, he just put on his coat and tie, grabbed his glasses and his Bible and, in auto-pilot, he drove to the side of the building where he normally parks his car. There are six turns and about five stop lights between his house and the meeting place of the Jacksonville church of Christ. According to the surveillance camera later viewed, he entered the building at 10:24 A.M. and then proceeded to the auditorium. Still confused about why it was empty (apparently thinking it was time for one of the assemblies), he spent the next six hours, likely losing consciousness and falling, struggling to get up and becoming more and more desperate. Thankfully Homer Smith, one of the shepherds of the church, began to wonder about why his car was there and where he was. I was notified and I began asking everyone who might know about where he was until Homer, our new MVE (most valuable elder) found him and called the EMTs, who took him to the ER, where he was later admitted to the ICU.
He’s not out of the woods, but an enzyme count of 14,000–so very dangerously high–has dropped to 800. That’s impressive. He is completely coherent. That’s way better. His breathing is nothing but wheezing! That’s the part, for now, for which we need prayers. It’s really hard to watch and hear him breathe so laboriously.
But there is a blessing trail here. I can quickly enumerate ten of the many blessings about the whole episode:
- Win or lose the battle for life on this earth, the battle for life—the real battle–has already been won.
- There are ministers of the Father all around His people and they are extremely caring. They are servants with an attitude; the attitude of Matthew 25: 31-40.
- Eighty-nine years of relatively good health is a great record. Just being in this hospital or even on this internet makes us aware of so many whose trials are so premature compared to any we might be experiencing. Dad is the only surviving child in a family of eleven children. He’s been very blessed.
- When my dad “can’t think of any of the answers to any of the questions,” he goes to the place of worship. (That’s kind of like the Psalmist in Psalm 73.)
- There are lots of colder, more desolate places to be unconscious than in the church building.
- The proximity of excellent medical facilities in almost any region of our great country is a blessing we consistently count on.
- The presence of skilled doctors, nurses, technicians and even smiling volunteers is a very good gift from the Giver of all good gifts.
- Cousins, sons-in-law, husbands, fathers-in-law and brothers-in-law who are elders and preachers in the kingdom are double-kin and that’s special. I have about twenty-one of those and they are wonderful.
- Dad, the “lost” sheep, was found by a shepherd.
- “Clinically improved,” the term used to describe Dad today, is fun to hear and I love turning right.