I have been planning to write, really I have. But, as the title implies, plans change…
We had plans this summer!
Both retired. No job responsibilities. No kids at home. No real family responsibilities. Lots of plans. Cliff enjoys making plans. I enjoy the benefits of those plans. We’re a good team!
First, we had our nephew visiting the end of April, so plans to visit Daytona and plans for Disney with him. Plans to go to our grandson’s Mock Trial presentation on the 26th. Plans to visit Asheville, NC with dear friends the first week of May. Lots and lots of plans…
It was a Thursday. April 7th, to be exact. We had no real plans for that stormy day, which was good because Cliff woke up with pains in his stomach. He wasn’t overly concerned and neither was I. It happens sometimes. But, when he didn’t sleep well Thursday night because of discomfort and still had pain Friday morning, I told him maybe he should go to the ER. He was still not concerned and thought he just had to wait for it to pass. Friday night was a sleepless, uncomfortable night. Saturday he was still in pain. He called his doctor and got a call back that he should go to the ER. No fever, just pain, but, fortunately, we went.
When we got there at 1:30pm, his vitals were all good except for his pulse rate, which was 126. The triage nurse and I both quickly realized something was amuck. He had an xray almost immediately and right after that a CT scan. The next thing we knew, we were talking to a surgeon. The prognosis, a perforated colon. Not sure where or how or how big, but they were going in. And, just like that, Cliff was being prepped for surgery. It was that fast.
I was ushered to a waiting room and though I had countless offers from family to come sit with me, I chose to sit by myself. You see, I’m used to hospitals and ER’s so I came prepared. I had on comfy clothes and a cozy, warm sweater, my crochet bag, and a really good book. I also had Cheez-its and a bottle of water, so I was good! I was alone in the room and took the opportunity to pray and sing worship songs to the only One who was not surprised by any of this. The only One who I knew was and is safe to trust with the life of the man I love. I had perfect peace.
Cliff came through the surgery just fine and the surgeon, who was younger than our youngest child, came and talked to me. Cliff has diverticulosis (pockets in his colon), that were infected causing diverticulitis. He also had a good size perforation at the bottom of his colon. His stomach cavity was full of infection and so inflamed that he, the surgeon, had a hard time getting everything back in.
I stayed with Cliff at the hospital that first night because, at 68 years old, he’s never been in the hospital for himself and, having had at least 10 surgeries in my life that I can remember, I’m an old pro.
They have chairs that turn into beds now and a little girl came to make up the chair-bed for me. That night Cliff did great, in spite of the nurses coming in every half hour or so to check on him. As for me, well, that night will forever be remembered as the worst nights sleep I’ve ever had. Guys, I can sleep sitting up on a bench in the rain. I have a picture to prove this. But, this chair-bed was like sleeping on a piece of cement with a sheet. To make things worse, I slept with my hearing aids in so I could hear Cliff if he needed me. The result, every time I did happen to drift off I’d turn my head and my hearing aids would whistle a high-pitched little ditty in my ear. It was awful. Funny, but awful. And yet, that next morning I felt fine and every-so-grateful.
Cliff’s only complaint after surgery was the nasal-gastric tube that went up his nose and down into his gut. Fortunately, in about three days it was removed. Five days after surgery, Cliff was home!
The seriousness of his situation hit home when, afterwards I asked the surgeon what would have happened if we’d waited until Sunday. His answer was scary. “There wouldn’t have been a Sunday for your husband.” It was that close a call.
On Wednesday, April 20th, we visited the surgeon for a post-op visit. Staples were removed and Cliff’s healing was deemed “impressive”. Seems most patients that have what he had are in ICU after surgery and don’t leave the hospital for 7 to 10 days. Cliff was not in ICU and out in 5. The NG tube is usually in until right before leaving the hospital. Cliff’s was out in 3 days. We are so grateful! God is so good!
In about 4 months, the surgeon told us, Cliff will have a second surgery to “reconnect” everything. The most excellent news…he plans to do it laparoscopically! Four little cuts around his belly instead of reopening the incision he has now that goes from stem to stern. That’s the plan.
Evidently, plans like rules are made to be broken and when they are, in the light of all eternity, it’s really not that big a deal!
~ “For I know the plans I have have for you, declares the Lord, plans for wholeness and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” Jer. 29:11