In the Midst of the Storm, a Song: Connie’s Story

This was written by my wonderful, beautiful friend, Connie Sullivan, who felt the presence of our Father in the midst of her storm. 

connie

By Connie Sullivan…

For thou hast been a strength to the poor, a strength to the needy in his distress, a refuge from the storm, a shadow from the heat, when the blast of the terrible ones is as a storm against the wall.  Isaiah 25:4

Okay, this is going to be the third of his new treatments.  We have the schedule figured out.

We get there at ten.  Finished around one.  Then, yeah, we are going somewhere to eat. 

We’re still just eating in the car because he can’t get from sitting to standing easily.

But…… today she said his blood work didn’t look right.  So they test again.

How far away do you live? 

About 45 minutes. 

Ok, let’s just take care of this today.  I’m sending you to the hospital for blood after his treatment.

I try to read but I’m restless.  I can’t concentrate.  So I walk.  We’ve been here so many times now I have the path down pat, walking from the professional building through the hospital, down the ramp to the out-patient entrance and back, stopping to ramble through the new gift shop.  Chastising myself for not bringing my new Magnolia magazine to read…

It’s after one when the wheelchair arrives and we head to admitting.

Well that was a breeze for a change.  No waiting, the doctors’ orders are in place and just confirmed that the room is ready.

It’s still just after one.  We’re good.  Should be out of here in a couple of hours.  Chances for going out to eat are possible?

First they take blood to verify type, again.  Every.  Time.  We wait.  They come back to take blood again–not sure what happened with the first tubes.  Our couple of hours is sneaking up on us and we haven’t even started.  We are past tired, hungry, and starting to get curt with one another.  I go get Sneaky Pete’s from the professional building to tide us over.  Maybe that will help us play nice.

Ok, we have O positive

Yep, it hasn’t changed.

Now we wait for the blood to arrive.  And wait.  And wait.   And now we have shift change.  God bless the nurse,  she broke the news that we’re not just getting one but two units AND we have to wait another hour after it is complete to make sure there are no reactions.  Each unit will take approximately two hours.

….but that’s five – FIVE MORE HOURS….  NO. NO. NO…. Chances for eating out just vanished– poof!

Ok we’re looking at nine, most likely ten p.m.  I. AM. TOO. TIRED. FOR. THIS. 

He tells me I need to move the car.  Walking that far in the dark would not be safe.  I make the long trek through the hospital to the professional building.  I want to be as close as I can to the car before having to go outside.  Guess what, every door in the professional building is locked.  I can’t get out.  Sooooo I walk all the way back to the hospital, out the front door.  It’s kind of creepy.  I walk up the middle of the road – no traffic – no people.

It feels like one of those Sci-fy movies…just waiting for some monster to overpower me. 

I hug my arms tightly.  There are eight, yes eight (I counted them four times) vehicles left in that normally over crowded parking lot.  And I got really smart this morning, parking so the pink Crepe Myrtle would be “shade” on the car when we left – at the very end of the parking lot.  UGH!

When I return his hospital supper is served and the blood….

Where is the blood????

Peanut M&M’s – yum, the ones in those little machines – a handful at a time.  Yes, I admit it– I do that twice – but give me a break, at least it was at different times!

The first unit of blood finally gets here.  They start the verification process.

At the end he says, “Lift off!”.  We laugh.  It does sound like a NASA protocol–all those numbers back and forth.  They get it started.  We know it will be two hours.  Our sweet nurse promises she will have the second unit ordered and ready to go just as soon as the first one is completing.  We listen to the steady rhythm of the IV dispenser.

Swoosh…Swoosh…Swoosh…

We lay back and watch TV.  I try to get comfortable in a chair that was clearly made so the one sitting would not wish to stay–hard, rigid.  I get a pillow.  I get a cover.  I try to cover my eyes and lay on my side.  Everything aches, my legs, my side, my head.  About the time I settle down to hopefully just rest so I can drive home, he needs to go to the restroom. Seriously!

I hope I didn’t say anything out loud.  I sling off the cover and slam the chair down.

Did I really just act like that? Ugh!  In the midst of all that craziness, nurses helping him off the toilet, adjusting the bed, turning lights off/down…

A Quiet Voice says, “You did good today.”   My eyes well up with tears.  I bury my head in my pillow.

Thank you Father!  I so needed that. 

I can’t let him see me cry.  He knows what a toll this is taking on me and it bothers him deeply.

Finally the first unit of blood is finished and just as she promised, the second is pretty much ready to go….

Verification….lift off!

We have two hours.  It’s eight-ish.  That means it will be eleven or after before we leave.  We really need to rest just so we can see to drive home.  He says we will never make this mistake again…not in the same day.

Yeah, right.  We never seem to remember the next time or something looks a little different and we fall for it. 

He turns off the TV and we turn the lights off.  The only soft light is on the dispenser.

Swoosh…Swoosh…Swoosh… 

I toss and turn.

He says, Why don’t you just get in bed with me?  You really need to at least try to take a little nap.

I hesitate.

What will the nurses say?

But exhaustion wins.  He scoots over and I climb into to the hospital bed–my head tucked under his arm on his chest.  So close. So very close. So warm.  So safe.   It’s been so long since we’ve been able to cuddle this close.  He’s either sleeping in his chair or on a wedge at home.

Swoosh…Swoosh…Swoosh…

Here we are in the middle of a storm, the likes of which we had never seen.  I can feel something.  There is a pressure on my heart, a shortness in my responses, a tension in the air that is not going away.

And oh how the storm has hit, one round of waves crashing on top of us right after the other.

Broken foot, bone infection, amputation, home-health, chronic blisters, heart attack, cancer, back infection, surgery, home-health, therapy, infection, infection, infection…eight long years…

Swoosh…Swoosh…Swoosh…

About this time last year I was standing in my kitchen screaming at the devil to get O.U.T.  There was so much confusion trying to just get his Chemo meds – it had to be the devil.  God is good all the time.  All the time God is good.

The nodules in his lungs are gone and the groin lymph nodes are status quo – not going away BUT not growing.

Swoosh…Swoosh…Swoosh… 

I used to keep a straight house. LOL! Not clean, but straight.  Right now two of the bedrooms would make any tornado proud of the destruction, dishes are piled in the sink, and every inch of that sweet house needs attention.

Swoosh…Swoosh…Swoosh… 

There are no flowers this year in my garden.  Only the sweet volunteers – a basket of violet Petunias and three Marigolds – weeds and all.  Ah, but the baby birds that nest right beside the front door–the high pitched chirping of four when Mama came to feed-so calming.

Swoosh…Swoosh…Swoosh…

I’ve gained weight – hard not to do when the only thing he wants to eat right now is McDonald’s.  But he’s gained weight.  That is good–a miracle!  The weight he lost was frightening and for a while we were afraid he never would gain.  I tell him if I didn’t have this weight on me, there is no way I could pick him up out of a chair, or car, or toilet or yank the sheet to pull him on his side.

Swoosh…Swoosh…Swoosh… 

I used to remember everything.  A planner, anticipating exactly what was needed next, what was due when, who was supposed to be where…  If I wrote it down on my grocery list, I didn’t even need to take it with me.  But now–well, the other day I almost cried when I realized I didn’t have my grocery list— it’s at home.  We’ll just have to do this another day.  There are so many people barking out things they need – things I forgot. I can’t even think.  I can’t breathe.

Swoosh…Swoosh…Swoosh…

If only I could sleep… I wish I woke up gentle and sweet but I don’t know the person that is waked during the night.  She is not nice.  She is not patient.  She is NOT kind – waking up to turn him over, waking up to cover him up, take the covers off, take meds, and our latest adventure – itching.

Swoosh…Swoosh…Swoosh… 

But I am thankful, the throwing up has stopped and so have the chills and the fever – chills that were frightening.  I have put every cover we have on him and laid on top of him to try to warm him.  But I think when one is chilled to the bone–nothing can help.

Swoosh…Swoosh…Swoosh… 

And then the steady rhythm of the IV Dispenser begins to sing to me. Tears come and go.

When…peace…like…a…river…at…tend…eth…my…way…When…sor…rows…like…sea…bil…lows…roll…What…ev…er…my…lot…Thou…has…taught…me…to…say…it…is…well…it…is…well…with…my…soul…It…is…well……with…my…soul……it…is…well…it…is…well…with……my…soul. 

Slumber comes and goes.

It…is…well…it…is… well…..with…my…soul… It…is…well…it…is…well……with…my…soul…

This turned out to be the last time we were able to cuddle.  He went “Home” before the year’s end…without me.

 

 

 

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4 Responses to In the Midst of the Storm, a Song: Connie’s Story

  1. Oh, Connie (and Paige). I am speechless and in tears. What a storm of epic proportions! I cannot imagine eight years, one struggle rolling in after the last (or on top of the last)! Thank you for being so real, honest, about your journey. Thank you for sharing.

  2. Melissa muncher says:

    I can hardly type this because of tears. I love you Connie😍. You are one of the Most Christ-like people that I know. Just knowing you and calling you friend is something I will always cherish.

  3. Thank you so very much. This means the world to me!

  4. Sherri King says:

    I don’t really even know what to say. I have been going through a health issue with my husband for 9 months. I can totally relate to all the ups and downs, and I thank God that he is still here with me. Thank you for being so transparent.

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